Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Something Nice to Say. (And Some Silence.)

I've been thinking lately, which is also my favorite song right now by Handsome Boy Modeling School featuring Cat Power.

~

I realized that lately you, my readers, have been getting very cute pictures of me and book reviews and that's about it. Though, I love both and I hope you love both, I also think you deserve more. Why haven't I been giving you more?

~

Hons told me in middle school that if I haven't got nice to say, don't say anything at all.

I repeat this saying to myself at least 100 times a day. It's so embedded in my brain now that I'm just silent and sometimes nothing else, even if what I want to say something isn't really that mean.

~

I've been taking notes lately for my non-fiction essays about my sister. I started my sister project in 2002 in an autobiography class in grad school. Yes, I'm that slow of a writer (and/or that avid of a tv-watcher...) For readers who don't know, my sister is brain-damaged, non-verbal, and my non-fiction pieces revolve around my life as her sibling. Besides the freakshow-ness of Riding the Bus with My Sister (some of you may recall Rosie O'Donnell starring in the tv version), there is a lack of understanding about the mentally disabled from a sibling point of view. I've found research from Sweden, Great Britain, and other countries, but barely any in the US.

This kind of disappoints me.

~

Watching CNN, I can't think of anything nice to say besides "Paris, I'm glad you're out of jail."

I hate watching the violence of humans against each other and the environment. I don't get it. WTF is wrong with us? I mean war. I mean landfills. I mean being unnecessarily mean.

And as much as I love Fafa and celebrities, why the f is Paris the #1 news story? What about Iraq? What about these youth uprisings in Russia being compared to the Nazis?

What stock do the Hiltons have in CNN?

~

Recently while scanning the pics from my childhood, I've been noticing that my sister is in them or out of them. Think about your family photos or ones on this blog. There's the edge, right? That half face of a brother, a parent, the wall. In my photos, I realized my sister is never at the edge; she's featured or not included.

Of course, this could mean nothing, but to me as a writer, it means everything.

~

I want Paris free. ~Free bird.~ And I believe she might do some good now. I know there are skeptics, non-believers, but if she can't change, really who can? I want to believe there is good left in all of us, especially when I can't see the good in humanity as much as when I was younger. You're free, Paris, now prove us all wrong; do good.

~

The pictures of my sister are all hair, all arms, all torso, all legs. She was skinny as a kid. Now she's round in the middle. She has a little flab in her arms, a little chunk in her legs. What I love, though, is her face is the same.

FD tells me that he loves my face, that my face is the exact same now as it is in my kid photos. He loves the kid pic of me reading. It's how I look, exactly, he says, when I'm reading today on the couch or on my lawn chair while tanning. He says I look like a bird.

~

To combat my negative feelings toward humanity, I had to do something. Anything that would let me see there is light. There is hope.

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Flash of bulbs. Paris runs to hug her mom. Paris smiles. She wears little make-up and looks gorgeous. She looks fresh. Hopeful. Anyone ("retarded," alien, or "normal") can see her face reads happy. We've all felt that happy, even if we won't acknowledge it.

~

How could I not be disappointed in humanity every now and then? Think about it: people let you down, the government lets you down, Wilco lets you down by selling out to AMC. Really, I'm just following destiny.

~

Drop an a from my sister's name and you get angel. That's not a coincidence.

She has made me a believer. She has taught me to believe.

~

So disappointed by humanity, I knew I had to counteract it. I had to do something before I became I total hermit. Seriously, some days I can go without talking, I can stay home, I can choose to not communicate, and I would. If not for cell phones, Facebook, email.

I decided I would thank one person a day for his/her goodness. Sometimes all it takes it recognizing it. And then all it takes is saying it. Saying your really appreciate him/her. Or writing or emailing. And then change. In me. In them. I think we feel a little lighter.

I started with FD. Not fair. Before we go to sleep each night we tell each other our favorite part of the day. I wanted to reach more.

I chose to voice my thanks on the spot or a little after. I chose to thank those I thought would know how I feel but maybe don't. I chose to tell them the life I see in them. I chose to say things that some would say are "weird" or "creepy." I took that risk because saying something "weird" or "creepy" is better than thinking humankind is going to pot. And so what? It's clear by my dress and my attitude that I'm "weird," "creepy." There was nothing to lose.

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My sister. "My Sister."

One of my favorite Juliana Hatfield Three songs.

Long ago, I traded that CD for cash. For a car payment. I regret that right now while working on my essays.

I want that song more than anything else. I want that song like sometimes I want to be around my sister. To the point I could cry because I feel so lonely. You might read that as "weird."

But I imagine having that song a light will beam down on me, and I will be able to write a flawless book in one draft and get a book deal. Like I will make sense not only to myself but others. Like I will get a spot on Oprah.

Does anyone have that CD they could burn for me?

Seriously, I'd like to get on Oprah. I really like her. And I think her book club rocks.

~

Dear Matthea,

I love your poetry. I love your website, especially the photographs of the little things. I can't express how happy/sad they make me.

Thank you.

Amanda

--
Amanda

Facebook Member since 2007

http://askirtaround.blogspot.com/
http://eng111onlineclass.blogspot.com/














Matthea Harvey
to me


Dear Amanda,

Thanks so much for your email! I'm so happy that the pictures make you
happy/sad--it's a line I like to try and tiptoe along. I'll try to put up
news ones as the months go by... Thanks again for writing.

Yours,
Matthea

~

Become What You Are, the Juliana Hatfield Three album "My Sister" is on, has been discontinued. That means I can only buy used copies.

That means I have to trust a seller on eBay to send me a copy in "good condition."

~

Patti,

I was ranking things in my head today, and I thought of this ranking:

#1 person I don't see enough of: Patti S!

I LOVE you, doll! You rock!

Big D

--
Amanda

Facebook Member since 2007

http://askirtaround.blogspot.com/
http://eng111onlineclass.blogspot.com/






"pattis1122@youknowwho.com"
to me


That is the greatest e-mail I have ever received!!! Thank you!!! I love you too!!!

~

In other words, who knew?

~

In other words, there are others I love/adore like sisters.

There are strangers too.

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In other words, we are all making a difference.

~

My sister. There are times throughout my adolescence I never understood why she was in my life. The sad thing is I can't even tell you why I thought she was in my life then because my main goal was to pretend she wasn't in my life and that I was an indie-rocker writer who was boy-cursed and prep-hating and didn't have the time to think of her "retarded" sister.

It hurts to write that. Even though I don't think that way at age 30.

~

I'm a bird to FD.

To my sister I'm a bear. Friendship Bear to be exact.

Remember those old school sewn together from a pattern bears? Those are the ones my sister's world hinges on. Each family member worth a damn is a bear. Your life, in her eyes, revolves around your bear. They cry in your absence. They come to your birthday celebration. Without a bear, we would be a stranger. She might like us, but we wouldn't play a vital role in her life.

She moans that the bears, our bears, Friendship Bear (me) and Good Luck Bear (FD), cry in our absence. I can tell by her sounds on the phone on Sunday evenings.

Friendship Bear: Truce flowers on her chest. Orange and friendly.

Was I destined to send emails to those I love/adore?

Was I destined to think of them as sisters?

~

The more I think about my sister, the more I think about Nicky Hilton.

I know it's weird. But consider, the one sister who stayed out the limelight. The one sister who tries to be "other" than her parents.

I am the Nicky Hilton in the McGuire family.

I lay low. I try to do good at what I do.

Am I breaking the rule of saying something good or nothing at all when I say I am the McGuire daughter who could try it her own? Who could go after her dreams? Who wanted to teach and write and am doing it because happiness means more than money to me? Am I wrong for saying that?

Why do I feel like I am wrong?

What would my sister do?

~

What if I told you I'm thanking those that I love because of my sister. Because without her I wouldn't fully understand appreciation, humility, or kindness?

Would you be skeptical?

Would you think I have no power to change?




3 comments:

garylmcdowell said...

Beautiful post, Amanda.

I can't wait until you publish your essays. I'll be first in line to read them, I promise!

Stephanie King said...

No wonder FD loves you. You are an amazing woman with an amazing voice. You make me feel comfortable ... and content. What a beautiful post.

carly said...

To think I know you and there's so much more to know. This post made me well up. You make me want to be better.