I am sorely behind on answering e-mails or responding to comments, and you are dear to me so I offer my apologies. I’ve been stricken with an illness both weird and unrelenting, and it seems to have gone on forever. Really: weeks. Western medicine’s consistent name for everything is ‘virus’; for them it’s the equivalent of naming all of one’s children George Foreman. I think it’s possible my agent put hoodoo on me, because of my last blog entry, for which I didn’t seek his approval and which made him mad. I may have mentioned that he is viciously smart and a handsome devil, and mean? You have not seen mean until you have required hand-holding as one of his authors. I would rather confess, “I’m stuck here, I think this book is too big for me, I don’t know what to do,” to a hyena, and hyenas are nothing less than Satan with a hemi-penis. Never ever forget the truth about hyenas: their jaws are hinged, their sinuses are specially designed so that they can breathe and swallow at once, and their bite strength is so powerful they eat bones. This is how they have earned the nickname ‘chalk-poopers.’ It’s possible they earned that from me, which makes it no less true. Besides all the other things I said about my agent, he also commands unconditional love and devotion, you can’t even feel it happening, and there’s a small army of us who love him so much we’re like his Secret Service. Walking down the street with him I am on high alert, and my own life means nothing to me – I have signed it over – compared to protecting Christopher.
My mentalist – and for those of you who don’t have a sage and trustworthy psychiatrist, if you can afford it, find one: mental hygiene is as important as flossing. It’s similar really, except for how, while flossing, one doesn’t say every week, “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying like this” – as I started to say, my mentalist has become concerned about how long I’ve been sick and asked if I yet knew what it was. I told him I suspect I picked up a worm in Vietnam. He asked when I was in Vietnam and I said, “I’ve never been.” Then I suggested Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, and he said, “I don’t imagine you’ve been eating brains,” causing me to reply, “Sir, you may be a doctor, but your education is sorely lacking in the nature of the prion. I am dying now of the brains I ate twenty years ago.” And we agreed that it is a terrible disease and that I am brave.
My mother is unconcerned, as one of her mantras is that we are made of ‘peasant stock.’ She and I are not as one in the connotation of peasant. I see a Slovakian behind a plow pulled by an ox; she is referring to the unspeakable living conditions I grew up in, resulting in my thorough lack of asthma. Also she’s thinking of herself, and how could she not. Her birth mother abandoned her at a Catholic orphanage when mother was nine months old, then went on to have five children by five different men, each of them abandoned so she could join the circus. She also once fled town with – I kid you not – a band of Roma, i.e., the gypsies. A fine, fine woman. When Delonda located her, the old sociopath was lying in bed, practicing her dementia: “Mama, is that you? Tell Effie to get the horses ready, I’ve got to find the midwife. Jello-O is poison, why is it all I get to eat?” On and on, never looking closely at the woman standing before her, admitting nothing, nonsense nonsense, until Delonda said, “I wonder if you would just do me the favor of telling me who my father was,” and Lady Alzheimer’s said, “Him? Yeah, I remember that son-of-a-bitch.” And never told. Mom brought home a photograph of her and I said, “That’s not your biological mother – that person has nothing to do with any of us,” and even though I held no can opener, Mendel’s peas appeared on the table and I was forced to notice how rare the green of this woman’s eyes, exactly the same shade as my mother’s, and even if you put the peas in a pile and smush them you know green eyes are unusual, particularly such a pale emerald. Now the old bat is dead and the biological facts don’t enter my mind. You’re probably guessing I have put her in Purgatory, and OH YES I HAVE, but not the usual one; I gave her her own. I based it on Bradbury, Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival, where the horror is getting exactly what you wish. RUH-ROH, Grammy! Do not – I repeat – do not harm my mother. That is all.