expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


While I was tweaking my last post for publication the other day I had a sudden crisis of conscience. I knew She Who Does Not Obey was embarrassed about her zombiephobia and didn't want anyone to know about it. She wouldn't even let me tell her camp counselor to take the proper precautions, i.e. locate the nearest weapons cache and practice bashing heads with them.

Although I am maintaining a secret identity, so that I might fight internet crime more effectively, the only readers I have know who I am (that is as far as I know - does anyone know how to install a site meter?).

Ny niece Drama Queen knows I have a blog and I knew she had probably read at least one post. SWDNO was going to hear about it if I didn't tell her first.

As good as the story was, it was not a story wholly my own. I had only partial ownership.

And if that wasn't enough, I also knew what it was like to be the subject of someone else's tale.

My father was a newspaper columnist who wrote about the outdoors, but from time to time, he peopled his column with characters who he claimed to be his actual family. We shared the same names and birth order, but there were times when we found it difficult to recognize ourselves.

Once we hit puberty, it became especially embarrassing to face our friends the morning after the column appeared. My sister TR gained the horrifying (to her) nickname of "Nature Girl" after one such column declared her absolute devotion to the great outdoors, although my father was apparently the only one who had observed said devotion.

Our avatars were often called upon to express a childlike wonder at some aspect of nature according to the demands of the topic of the day. I expect we actually did say such things once upon a time, but as teenagers we would rather eat dirt than make such uncool utterings.

As for me, it seemed that he saw me as a pig-tailed innocent and not the badass teen I truly was. But since my badassery consisted solely of watching my friends smoke, and watching my friends drink, and learning to identify the sickly sweet scent of a joint without ever trying one myself, he probably had me down better than I was willing to admit at the time.

However, to my dying day I will always deny ever having said "The plot thickens."

A girl has to maintain some dignity, after all.

But whether I agreed or disagreed with how I was portrayed, my father was a writer and his topic was his life. My four siblings and I were inextricably part of his life and so many of his experiences of the outdoors. There was no way for him to take us out of his writing without leaving out something that he felt was important and true.

He had his share of hunting and fishing trips with the boys, but I think that he spent far more time taking his children out into the wilds of Newfoundland and sharing his love of this wonderful island with us. We spent most of our summers travelling around the island, first sleeping in a tent when our baby snowsuits served as sleeping bags, then later in a trailer that somehow managed to sleep seven.

When I was ten or so, my parents sold our trailer and built a cabin just a short 20 minute drive from our home, but to this day it still feels like you are as far removed from the city as anyone could wish. We spent all our summers there from that point on, my father loved it so. And despite our adolescent posing to the contrary, we loved it too. We still love it and still share it.

Given all of that, I can see no way for him to remove us from his story when he took such trouble to make us a part of it.

But he must have made some decisions about what he would and wouldn't write, some boundaries he wouldn't cross.

While I was writing my zombie post, I felt like I was dangerously close to a boundary I shouldn't cross at least not without a letter of transit.

This was brought home to me quite obviously while I was editing my work. She was hanging off of me, clambering over the couch I was on, sitting on my shoulders as I typed. She could hardly fail to catch the occasional word on my screen.

It was then that I confessed all, allowing her to read selected passages, but not all - there being certain details of zombie behaviour I wished to convey to you but not share with her. When fighting off the undead, discretion can be the better part of valour.

In the end, I got her blessing, her desire to be an internet celebrity outweighing her self-consciousness I guess.

So I expect you will see She Who Does Not Obey appearing on these pages for some time to come, but I will try to weigh my need to tell a tale against her need to protect her own story as she sees fit.

She is so much a part of me, that I'm afraid I cannot tell you about me without telling you about her. It's the price you pay for proximity.


  1. I hear you.

    I had hoped to share some of my fiction on my own blog (hence the name The Story Spot) but then T1 and T2 expressed an interest in reading my blog...and there are just some things you don't want your teenagers to read you know.

    There may be embellishments from time to time, but the core of the story is true...and as writers isn't it the core that we seek? I think your dad knew that...I think we are just figuring it out.

    BTW...I always enjoyed your Dad's columns. So did my Mom. In fact she was quite excited when I came home from university one day and told her that I had met you...LOL! I also liked your dad as a person and have been honoured to spend time at your family Valhalla in the woods (as you know, we had our own such magical place until very recently).

    Our kids are smarter than we give them credit for being and they probably "get" us even more than our spouses...mine our quite proud of the fact that I am not a "normal" Mom (whatever that is). It gives them some kind of edge with their friends to have a Mom who writes blogs, runs off to other parts of the country for rock concerts and actually knows who Marianis Treanch is (and doesn't dismiss them as "noise".

    You're doing alright Mom...

    Beautiful post BTW.


  2. Hi there! I forget how I found you, exactly, but I am totally a reader who doesn't know who you are *and* I know a place where you can get a free site meter: www.statcounter.com It's super-easy to use and to install, and then you have happy pretty stats! (I am also one of those bloggers who has exactly one reader who doesn't know me in real life.)

  3. Hi, upstairsgirl. Welcome to the blog. I shall come over and visit you so that you will have two readers who don't know you in real life. :-) Thanks for the statcounter link.