I started writing a book this week. “This book begins and ends with a birthday, twenty five years after my story started.” The internet at work was down, leaving me with nothing productive to do except open Word and begin to write. Two hours later, I had twenty five pages and the beginning of an out-line. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, what I’m doing, or if I will finish it, or anything, but I’ve started one.
It’s not the autobiography people have been asking me to write, full of oddball miniature adventures, names changed and details blurred to protect almost everyone involved, but the story of my parents, my dangerous childhood, and how it relates to me now.
As many of you know, my sociopath father, (who I generally tell people is dead), has been sending me letters since I sent him a hello on my birthday last year. He writes a minimum of once a day, though I never reply and rarely read anything. The more he writes, the more ingrown the stories become, the more pathological, until the only way to understand the later letters is to start at the beginning, to see where certain codes began. Now that an entire year has passed, there’s hundreds of replies to my one small note, poisonous, hateful, and full of self aggrandizing lies, that I haven’t even looked at. They’re just sitting there, taking up server space somewhere in the states, not quite ignored, but dormant.
As a body of work, it reminds me most of case studies I’ve read about violent obsessives who paper their walls with scribbles about jesus. The tone is similar, but with my mother and I featured in place of religious figures. My intention is to use his letters as material, as something to respond to. “Find inspiration where you can.” I’m not sure what else there is to do, (perhaps I can donate it to a psychological institution?), I don’t like his bright confusion speaking to an empty room. It feels like I’m neglecting a chore, an old bit of furniture that needs to be painted.