I have been writing posts non-stop this month. These past week has seen a lull in my posting. So I failed at Na Blo Posting Mo. There needs to be Na Blo Wri Mo. Writing is distinct from posting. The thing versus its label. Maps and territory. Process and praxis. I have written some personally significant pieces over the last couple of weeks, but they require rumination and reworking before posting them or works derived from them. Some things are just too raw to share. They are elemental pieces. These need to be crafted into examples of the thing rather than the being the actual thing. But it has to be real. A real example. I think I am finding my way into being able to write about my life without bleeding ink all over the page. I think personal writing is about allowing others to connect with enough of your experience that they can emote their own stuff all over your stuff without having to own it completely. That, too, is about the thing, versus of the set that contains all the possible permutations of those things, versus an example of one of those items in the set that is not the raw, essential thing itself.
At one point I also had some concern about creating ill-will, or embarrassment, within my family should my personal writings be discovered by them. I do not have to worry about that any longer. My natal family is no more. All but two of us are gone and the other person besides me cannot assimilate new information. I attended the funeral that no one thinks about attending until the experience unfolds. The the body in the casket had belonged to the last person I knew well, who knew me well, as child. The solitary, isolated childhood, being the youngest of five with a huge space of 9 years between four and five, and being born to parents in their forties, as well as being in a family with a genetic predisposition to cancer that was apparently triggered by many of the agro-chemicals that were used on the farm before awareness of the carcinogenic nature of them eventually became known; these all contributed to my experience of what is not talked about prior to the event. A cultural taboo.
My eldest brother who lives does so with an impaired memory. Traditional old folks senility at age 75. He knows who I am, and I cherish that recognition, but his being the eldest of the five kids with me being the youngest means the 18 years between us created a family relationship more akin to that of a niece with her uncle than a little sister and brother.
My parents and all the siblings I remember living in our home when I was small are gone. I knew this feeling a few years ago when severe dementia took hold of the youngest of my brothers. Great care at the VA hospital, next to the military cemetery where his body now lies, allowed my brother to recover a bit and regain some of his mental functioning. But that initial experience of knowing that all the shared memories of youthful home and family were hit me hard back then. I grieved. But then there was a reprieve, and some of my brother returned. So when he actually passed away this month, I had already had time to accept his inevitable outcome. But I had not realized how alone I would feel, how strange it would be when I was only person from my natal family left to attend a memorial service for another member.
Sometimes I feel like I am twenty years older than my peers. Being sandwiched between generations was years and years ago for me. Now I am watching my sibling pass on. A nephew has already passed on. Most of my friends are not in this stage of life. Many still have vital active parents. I think this is exacerbated by my husband not understanding the impact of this phase on me. He was an only child. His father passed away when he was 16. His mom died when he was 30. He cannot quite grasp this family connection thing. Even dysfunctional families are family. Looking back on what should be with you is just weird. The anthropologist in me would say that I am emerging from a liminal phase.
I think I am coming to terms with this new state of being. I have written a great deal about it. I am just starting to post about it. I may pre-date some posts so they are in a sequence that makes sense.
And that is okay. My writing friends will understand if I cannot complete this Nablopomo. There will be other opportunities.