I’ve been having pretty severe bursitis pain in my hip for the last month, which is why I haven’t been keeping up my usual blogging pace. Yesterday I started going to see a physical therapist, who recommended I do Kegel exercises once an hour to try to strengthen the muscles in my lower body.
When I told my wife about this, she asked “How do you do that?” I told her what the doctor told me, which is that you contract your pelvic muscles just as if you were trying to cut off the flow of urine in mid-stream. Astonished, she said “Guys can do that too?!?”
I thought a moment, and then said, “No, we’re men. We just spray everywhere until we’re dry as a bone.”
As 2012 draws to a close, I am recovering both from the worst back pain of my life and a moderate chest cold that, happily, I managed with over-the-counter medication and managed to not miss a day of work (the back pain kept me in bed and out of work for days). So as I ponder reflecting on the year about to conclude, I have to admit it is with a bit of fatigue and the probably-futile hope that 2013 will be better. If nothing else, at least the name of the coming year — 2013 — is reassuringly futuristic, signaling as it does the final defeat of those silly Mayan Calendar legends (or — does it?).
The final week of 2011 saw me going in for a job interview after 19 months of unemployment that really rattled my worldview and tested the ability of my family to subsist on my wife’s salary plus my unemployment benefits. As the year wound down, a year or so ago, I found out I was to be hired, and in fact I started working at my current job on the first workday of the new year, 2012.
I replaced as production director and copywriter a woman whose considerable skills in the radio broadcasting industry had impressed an intimidated me for many years. I quickly found out that she and I managed our duties very differently, and I kind of got a leg up due to the differences in our approaches and the appreciation my colleagues had for my less dogmatic practices in regard to the writing and production of radio commercials. In the 11+ months I have spent in this job, I have had a lot of creative challenges, and come to the conclusion that this is the most fulfilling job I’ve had in my 27-year career. Every day is different, I work with a team of true professionals who love what they do, and overall it’s a huge improvement over the compromise and frustration required of the radio jobs I held in the decade previous to my current gig.
Not long after starting my new job, early in 2012, my sister died. I said a lot about that in the essay I wrote in the days after that event (click the link for more), and a lot of what I wrote could be called cold or callous. My feelings haven’t changed a bit. It does feel strange to be the only remaining natural child of my mother, but that is an unavoidable consequence of growing older, and if nothing else, 2012 was a year in which event after event made me feel older, if not more mature.
One of the few truly joyous events of the year was my purchase in the spring of a new laptop. I even began blogging from a coffee shop, although that didn’t last long (here’s the second and final coffee shop post), due to the radio station moving from a busy downtown with a coffee shop a few doors down to a more suburban locale, as well as my eventual realization that my choice of the largest laptop available (a 17-inch Dell model) meant that I was not going to be lugging it around everywhere like some people do. When you factor in the large power supply and the much-needed cooling platform, I’m packing a lot into the large messenger bag I got with this beast, and it’s roughly the equivalent of carting around a ten-month old baby, minus diaper changings. So the laptop is semi-permanently docked at home, and aside from having to replace the entire keyboard (under warranty, thank fuck), it has functioned pretty spectacularly well and I love it to death. It’s the first computer in my life that I made all my own, deciding if I shared it with no one, I would lessen the risk of viruses or malware popping up on it, and when that does happen, if it does, at least I will know who to blame. The selfishness of my choice did (and does) cause a little friction with certain family members, but there are two functioning PCs elsewhere in the house, and although I know it was a selfish choice, I do feel like I deserve it.
In April, Lora went in for serious, life-altering surgery that ultimately made her healthier and happier, although the recovery was dicey and took longer than expected. The operation was conducted at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, and I was amazed and pleased by the way they do things there. Efficient, compassionate, logical. I’d never seen health care like it.
Not long after that, daughter Kira moved out and took a traveling sales gig that was a complete catastrophe, paying almost nothing and exposing her to some pretty shitty living conditions for a couple of months. She’s back home now, and although I am sure she misses the independence, I think she appreciates getting to eat every day. With one of my kids having reached adulthood and the other a year away from doing so, I did reflect a bit on my two decades of parenting.
This was the year I relaunched Comic Book Galaxy (on the eve of its 12th birthday) as a single-writer (me) blog of news and commentary. It briefly was popular with old readers and a lot of industry insiders, and I basked in a Costanza-like feeling of being “back, baby!” That was not to last more than a few weeks, when the unbroken string of well-received daily posts culminated in a poorly-timed rant calling the late Joe Kubert to task for his collaboration with DC on the wretched Before Watchmen project. Here’s one guy explaining my fuckup. There’s plenty more if you want to Google “Doane, Kubert, Watchmen,” have at it. Make a snack, it could take a while.
This incident resulted in more negative attention in three days than I received in the 12 years previous for all other combined dumb-ass things I might have written. I shut down CBG, only to bring it back a week or two later, only two shutter it permanently a few weeks after that, my heart being broken by the culture of comics allowing criminally wrong bullshit like Before Watchmen to happen at all, plus other sins like the tolerance for the ethical lapses, racism, sexism, homophobia and extremism found in the industry and among its fans, personified by the likes of assholes like Batton Lash, Chuck Dixon, Ethan Van Sciver, Orson Scott Card and many others. The combination of these and other factors prompted me in large part to abandon comics altogether, whittling my subscription list down to two titles (IDW’s Star Trek and Image’s Fatale) and, in September, selling off the bulk of my graphic novel collection, which three years ago hovered very near a thousand titles, now cut down to a little over 100. It was a decision made far easier by the ethical choice of not wanting any books in my house by creeps and douchebags like Joe Straczynski and Darwyn Cooke. Fuck them, fuck what they’ve done, and fuck everything they’ve ever done, was basically what motivated me. Petulant? Sure. Life-affirming? You bet your ass. I wish more comics readers would evaluate their collecting habits in comparison to what they say they believe about what’s right and wrong. Clearly the industry doesn’t give a fuck and never has, and many of its writers and artists obviously are more than willing to go along to get along. Fuck them, too.
A side-effect of these events was a retreat from much of the internet, deleting my Facebook account and focusing solely on my Twitter feed for any social networking impulses. My wife, now, she’s seen my cycles and ups and downs for decades, and questions whether at some point I will dive back in, the way things used to be. It seems unlikely, but you never know with me, and the Kubert thing certainly proved that I still have the power to surprise, and sicken, and outrage. Stay tuned.
As Thanksgiving looms in the week ahead, I will say I am thankful for quite a bit, despite the negative threads that ran through 2012. I am grateful for the support of my true friends, online and in the real world, and for the fact that my family is intact (once again) and everyone is relatively healthy and okay. I wish my back pain would clear up entirely, but I have a role in that too, and need to take better care of myself. I certainly want to.
I am spectacularly relieved and delighted that voters in Los Estados Unidos rejected greed and bigotry at the polls on election day, and I hope that the spirit of progress, tolerance and peaceful revolution grows stronger and more powerful in the months ahead.
Whatever readers remain, thanks for following me here, or on Twitter, or for however long you followed me at Comic Book Galaxy, Trouble With Comics, A Criminal Blog, Kochalkaholic, or wherever you stumbled into me. I want to write more in 2013 than I did in 2012, but at the moment that is a desire more than a solid goal, and I’m not entirely certain what form its expression ultimately might take. As a writer about comics, my mis-steps this year left me bruised and devalued, but there are other things to write about than comics. Maybe in the year ahead I’ll explore some of that territory. Whatever you choose to do, and however your year has gone, I hope 2013 finds you happier, healthier, at peace and perhaps even prosperous. It might be selfish to say, but I think we deserve it.
Being a parent gives you so many opportunities to feel love, to feel pride, to feel amazed at the life you’ve created growing up and discovering its own way in the world. I’ve often said that I got to experience childhood twice, once through my own eyes and once through the eyes of my children. Nothing hurts more than when your child gets to the age where they shut you out of their experiences, their very life, but of course to an extent that is a necessary part of the maturing process. But you never really get over the sting that comes when you realize your child has gone from wanting you to know everything about their day, about their life, to wanting you to know as little as possible, preferably nothing at all.
Having grown up ourselves, we experience that transition with varying degrees of terror. We know what’s out there, what can go wrong. We hope for the best but fear the worst, and when you see your maturing child make a decision that you know is unquestionably, inarguably wrong, you struggle with how to respond to what is happening.
I can remember tears welling up inside me as I held my firstborn for the first time; I so very badly wanted to have a daughter, and here she was. I so very much wanted her to be strong and independent and to have a good life, that I was moved to tears. I suppose my response was somewhat modulated by the time our second child entered the world, but as the youngest, and as a boy, I’ve always felt protective of him, and in awe of the way both of them process the world so very differently from each other, and so very differently from myself or their mother. We really are all unique beings, and being a part of a family over the course of decades is the best proof of that concept.
With one child out of the house now and another nearing that age as well, it’s maybe the strangest emotional package I’ve ever experienced, reflecting on how my days of parenting “children” is pretty much over now, and I am, instead, the parent of two near-adults. The relationships among us all shift and twist regularly, but there’s no question that the dynamic has now permanently shifted to the degree where parenthood confers only a mere shadow of the power and influence it did two years ago, or ten, or eighteen.
It’s heartening to realize that, if nothing else, at least both of them made it out of childhood alive and intact and with vast potential ahead of them. I know many parents haven’t been as lucky as we have. Some have been far more lucky, able to confer yearly vacations and unlimited toys, gadgets, gizmos and clothes upon their offspring. That wasn’t always possible in our house, but there was never a day either of our kids had to go hungry, or had no decent clothes to wear, or had no roof over their head. So we might not have been the luckiest family in the world, but I know many, many more have made do with far, far less. It’s all relative, of course, and either or both of my kids might feel they got shafted in one regard or another, but I can honestly say my wife and I both did the very best we could with whatever resources we had at our disposal. Most of the nicer things I have of my own I was either given as a side-benefit of my career, or as a fringe benefit of my hobby as a writer-about-comics. There’s no sports car in my garage, no yacht in the backyard, and certainly no luxury vacations. I know it’s a cliché, but I know my wife and I both gave up most of the nicer things in life just so our children could be safe, well-fed, and even occasionally entertained. The only time I’ve regretted it has been the times I’ve experienced ingratitude or resentment from my kids, and thankfully that hasn’t happened often, and as I noted above, such moments are probably hard-wired into the process of growing up.
Looking back, I have to say my over 18 years of parenting has been fascinating, a never-ending learning curve that I am sure will continue for the rest of my life. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t gaze in wide wonder at some previously-unsuspected facet of the personality of one or both of my kids. And while in my darkest moments I have wondered if love is even really a thing that exists objectively in the universe, the ache I have felt in my heart that comes from my hopes for my kids and the fear I sometimes feel when pondering their future and their choices, tells me that at least that kind of love is real. It surges and throbs and hurts and stings, and sometimes it makes me feel like the luckiest man in the world.
From the time my daughter was in her early teens, she frequently wore a pair of waterproof boots that matched virtually nothing she owned. They were polka-dotted, although I can’t remember if they were black with pink polka dots or pink with black polka dots. The latter, I think.
On any number of occasions, my wife would ask her to please, please wear anything else on her feet but those boots. But asking a teenager to change an item of clothing is like asking a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim. Whether it’s because she loved the boots, or because her mother hated them, my daughter wore those boots for years.
I got a voicemail yesterday on my cell phone. I was at work, in the new building housing the three radio stations I work for. The cellular coverage in my studio is less than stellar. I could tell the voicemail was from my daughter, but I could not make out a word. “Hi, Dad,” I think it began, but it could have been “My bad.” It could have been anything.
I texted her (for some reason text messages seem to go through fine) and asked her to text me back with whatever message she had left for me in my voicemail. Moments later, I got a text, which became a series of texts between myself and my daughter, in which I learned that she was moving out, right away, and moving away, to take a job with a company that travels from town to town. Essentially, she’s run away and joined the circus.
I have no idea how this major life change will work out for my daughter, but I did a little research and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the company appears to be legit. I couldn’t find many negative comments about them online, and the few negative comments I did find did not indicate flaws in the company that would likely affect my daughter in any way.
Penny ante stuff. Piffle. And the truth of it is, she’s an adult now. While it would have been nice to have a little more warning, she has the right to do exactly what she did: accept a new job, pack (some of) her stuff, and leave town. This all happened last night.
I won’t say I wasn’t emotionally affected by this sudden, unexpected turn of events. For nearly 19 years, she’s been a huge part of my life, every day. For nearly 17 years, we have been a family of four — six, if you count the cats. Reflecting last night on how we are now a family of three — five, if you count the cats — I got more than a little misty-eyed. Choked up. I didn’t actually cry, but that was a distinct possibility. My baby’s grown up. The little girl who I watched come into the world, who looked me straight in the eye minutes after she was born, and never cried but just studied everything around her like she’d arrived at a destination she’d long been waiting to arrive at — she’s packed (some of) her stuff and gotten the hell out of Dodge.
And amazingly, nothing made it seem quite as real as going out to my car this morning, on a gray, overcast day with spotty rain spitting down, and seeing those old, worn-out boots propped up against our garbage cans, discarded. Waiting to be taken away forever. Those boots, the most solid evidence that time is passing, that one era has ended, and another one has begun. For those of us left behind, an era of now being three (or five) instead of four (or six). For her, the beginning of the rest of her life.
* My wife Lora is having robot-assisted surgery tomorrow, hopefully bringing an en to a few years now of health problems that have varied from aggravating to incapacitating at times. I’m glad there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Today was spent helping her with a cleansing regimen about which, the less said the better. All I can say is that she is stronger than me by multiples of 50. Any good thoughts you can send her way tomorrow are very welcome.
* She can’t eat for over 24 hours before the surgery, so Easter dinner went right out the window. I did take Aaron to lunch at Five Guys, which was good, and then came home and watched a few episodes of the animated Justice League with Lora before she fell asleep on the couch. So here I am, typing words into the computing machine.
* I got the Wally Wood Stories Artist Edition hardcover yesterday. IDW has produced one of the most beautiful, if unwieldy books of comic art ever produced. I still think the big Kramers Ergot was not worth 125 bucks, but this ood book is another thing altogether. The art is reproduced at the same size as the original art, and scanned so that you might as well be holding that same art in your hands. You can feel Wood’s personality and artistry on every page. This is a treasure of comic art, reproducing some of the most classic and gorgeous comics ever created. Can’t wait for the Batman Year One volume reproducing David Mazzucchelli’s originl art, although it’s difficult to imagine it will be as jaw-droppingly impressive and vital as this Wood volume.
* Also picked up the Flex Mentallo HC yesterday. The recolouring job consisted of batch-converting every page with the “drab” filter in Photoshop, I’m convinced of it. If you’ve seen the original comics, you’ll realize what a shitty thing it was to do this to the book.
* “It’s such a long time, since my better days,” Natalie Merchant just sang out of the speakers of my laptop. I don’t really feel that way at the moment, but I always liked that line, and her music in general.
Even though I’ve had my new laptop for over a month (is it still new? It feels new to me), up until this morning I had not blogged from a coffee shop using their free wifi. It’s such a cliche, but it’s something I really wanted to do — to be able to take a portable computer almost anyplace and connect to the entire internet for free seems like a miracle for the ages. I know most people probably take it for granted, but it really seems astonishingly unlikely that humankind could have ever reached this level of sophistication. If we had all reached it at once, if the vast majority of people living on the planet weren’t shut out from such luxury, it might even be something to celebrate, instead of something to feel mildly embarrassed by. Yes, in many ways some privileged people on this planet are enjoying a future of the type Gene Roddenberry and his colleagues proffered on Star Trek, but in that glorious future, there weren’t entire countries and continents suffering for the affluence of the elites. Sitting here tapping away on my laptop, sipping piping hot English Breakfast Tea, it’s not hard to feel like an elite, no matter how barren my bank account or how recently minted my slight good fortune is. (Three months ago I was staring down the end of my unemployment benefits and wondering if I’d ever get another job.)
Of course, most people don’t believe the affluence enjoyed here in Los Estados Unidos will ever end. Me, I read too much and think about too much to think the ride’s gonna continue much longer. Read last week’s column by Jim Kunstler and ask yourself seriously how much longer we can all pretend the economic system isn’t a desiccated corpse. How long before it takes more than the value of a gallon of oil to suck a gallon of oil out of the ground, and how much longer after that signal moment anyone at all will work at providing cheap oil for the enormous global energy demands of our era. And if you do any research at all, you’ll find that shale, solar, wind power — you name it — there’s no energy alternative that can sustain the way of life that we enjoy. In 50 years, or maybe 10, life might look more like the opening scene of Soylent Green, with the old man riding the stationary bike in his family’s apartment just to keep the lights flickering. Will my kids enjoy laptops and iPads and flying cars? Honestly, do you think so? I’ll be happy if they can spend their adult years safe and well-fed. But even that, I think, will depend on ingenuity and flexibility, two character traits that most Americans seem to have long ago forgotten about.
Gosh, honestly I didn’t intend to go dark here in my first session blogging from a coffee shop. I can’t blame it on the tea, because it’s delicious. But I am serious when I say that the changes that are coming seem closer now than ever — our political system is hopelessly broken and the Occupy movement, as well-intentioned and mostly right as it was, doesn’t seem to have the furious energy and hate that sustains the tea-baggers. As with most problems, the root cause is a lack of education and a lack of will by the older generation to prepare the young for what’s ahead. We’re all so busy trying to get by day to day that we spend little or no time thinking about whether we live in a culture that can maintain itself into the future, fueled by the nearly-depleted remnants of creatures that lived and died hundreds of millions of years ago. There’s some degree of irony in our last hundred years being fueled by their extinction, and speeding our culture well on the way to its own.
Sold off 106 books today, mostly graphic novels, in the hopes of making some space in my room. I’ve known for some time I need to simplify my life, and even though it was five boxes of books I offloaded, and I let them keep the boxes, it still feels like my bedroom is crowded, disordered, a mess. It feels like a reflection of my mind, which never seems to settle down, and certainly never seems like an orderly place.
The new year brought with it a new job, and now a new computer (upon which I type this very blog post), and after nearly two years of feeling like I was stuck in limbo, all these new elements are welcome. There are other things in my life I want to make new, and some I want to eliminate altogether. Clear out some room. Simplify. Organize. Maybe I’ll find the time.
Random notes: Watched the mostly-excellent special features on the new Justice League: Doom Blu-ray today. Nice tribute to the late and much-missed Dwayne McDuffie. One person remembering how Dwayne was sometimes slighted or underestimated reminded me of an unfortunate incident on a private comics mailing-list I used to run, in which a major comics retailer made some unbelievably asshole-y comments about Dwayne, not realizing The Maestro was already getting the emails. That was the end of Dwayne being a part of our little secret society, which is a shame, because he was a smart guy and I always enjoyed interacting with him. The few times I see mention of that retailer it reminds me how very wrongheaded some people can be, and yet they can still achieve a degree of success within their field, unfortunately. Radio has taught me much the same lesson numerous times.
Enjoyed pizza with my wife after I sold off those books today, and then we went and I waited semi-patiently as she picked out gifts for a baby shower coming up next weekend. Somehow 19 months of unemployment made me a little more patient in waiting for other people to get done the stuff they need to do. I guess that’s one good thing to come out of it.
I think this June will make it ten years I’ve been blogging. I mentioned recently to someone I met in 2005 that I was blogging back then, and he said “There were no blogs back then.” Okay, well, I know I started in 2002. I’m just too lazy to look up the exact date right this second. *
I do remember that I signed up for a paid Blogger Plus account, because it offered a more stable and reliable platform and interface than regular old free Blogger; two weeks later they upgraded everyone to Blogger Plus for free. They sent me a Blogger hoodie by way of apology. I think my daughter still has it in her closet somewhere. My oldest blogging artifact.
As I write these words, I am waking myself up with an ice-cold Coke Zero and half-listening to Imus, back after he took Preznit’s Day off yesterday. My son has the whole week off, but since my wife and I (and our daughter, too, amazingly) have to work all week, I don’t think his vacation will be anything to get too excited about it. These days he seems happy to play his X-Box 360 anyway, and seems to be single-handedly propping Blockbuster up by making daily trips to see what 99 cent games they have in stock.
The news guy on Imus says Rick Santorum is still the front runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Jim Kunstler often has said that The Long Emergency will lead to political madness, and I think the nation tolerating Santorum’s hate-based campaign proves Kunstler’s theory. I wish progressives had a credible candidate. Hell, I wish the Republlicans had one.
Hmm, sports is on now. Carmello Anthony, Jeremy Lin, Knicks, Nets, blah blah blah. The only thing that bores me more than sports is country music. **
My online comics buddy Yan Basque does these daily updates on his personal blog — I’d like to get into the habit of doing something like that. I recently got a new laptop computer that’s given me a lot more portability, and I want to get into the habit of blogging more regularly again. I’m still getting used to the flat (“recessed”) keys and the touchpad. They’re so alien to me. I did get a wireless keyboard and mouse bundle but now that I’ve had this thing a couple of weeks, I feel like using those would be both an added, unnecessary step and also cheating.
“Bill Maher catches Linsanity,” says Imus’s producer, previewing an upcoming segment. Linsanity. That’s one disease I am 100 percent immune to.
* June 7th, 2002
** This is a lie. They bore me in equal measure.
My sister (born Deborah, self-christened Whims) died this week, an event prompting condolences from well-meaning friends and acquaintances, but no condolences are needed. All her death really evokes in me is a sense that something bad and wrong has come to an end.
It quickly became clear that I should have kept the news to myself. Because while I am genuinely grateful for the support and comfort of those around me, the only sadness I feel is for my sister’s son, a decent, bright and good-hearted guy who has suffered terrible confusion and probably a good deal of pain due to my sister’s activities and behaviour of the past few years. The plain truth of the matter is, and death shouldn’t make us afraid to be honest, my sister was a troubled person, a virulent racist, and she brought pain and discomfort to my family for most of the time she was alive.
Such a terrible thing to say. Such a terrible thing to feel you have to say. And yet there it is. My earliest memories are of late-night threats made over the phone, against my mother, by my sister. As a young child she filled me with fear. As an adult she usually filled me with disgust. For every kind, decent thing she did — such as assisting my wife and I with groceries once when we were very poor and newly living together — I could name you twenty that would tear your guts out.
There were four of us kids that my mother raised. My oldest brother, my sister, me, and my younger brother. There’s more to the story than that, much more, but for the purposes of this reminiscence, that’s all you need to know. My oldest brother was adopted, but never knew it. My mother began demonstrating Alzheimer’s symptoms in the 1990s, and as the disease progressed, eventually my sister (a nurse) brought my mother (also a nurse, in better, stronger days) to live with her. Around 1994 my mother died, and my sister wrote the obituary that appeared in the newspaper.
That obituary was how I found out my mother had died, because my sister didn’t bother to tell me. That obituary was also how my older brother found out he was adopted. Can you imagine being a middle-aged man, never mind a troubled Vietnam veteran, being told for the first time that you were adopted, by reading it in the newspaper? “Nancy Doane is survived by her adopted son Robert…” began the paragraph that must have devastated him, as my sister intended. She was a vicious, spiteful person. After my mother’s death, my sister spent many months trying to seize control of some stocks that my mother had intended me to inherit. There’s no doubt of her intentions, because she told me herself, and added my name to the ownership of the stocks. When my sister finally gave up trying to get them turned over to her against the stated wishes of our mother, and turned them over to me, I cashed them in as quickly as I could. My wife and I were raising two very small children, and were making very little money. As a result of the stock sale there was enough money to buy ourselves wedding rings (we hadn’t had the money for them, or much else, at the time we got married), a new pair of sneakers, and exactly one nice meal out at a decent, but not extravagant restaurant. I hope her failed attempt to steal this minor amount of money from me as I was starting out my own family was worth the two decades of contempt I carried for her ever since.
There’s so much more. The time she knocked my then-preteen brother on his ass for impulsively saying something both innocent and true. The time she stole everything from a husband she married solely for what she could get out of him, waiting for him to go to work, then backing up the moving van and taking it all. More, more, more. But it finally took her racist rants on immigration to prompt me to unfriend and in fact block her on Facebook. I just didn’t want any more of her hatred and negativity in my life.
A few weeks back I received word that she seemed to be falling even further into dangerous behaviours and habits. There was talk of drug addiction and loaded handguns, mutterings of revenge for being fired, likely with good reason. I began to wonder how much longer she could live the way she was living. Now I have my answer. Not long. My wife told me today that my sister’s death was news she never expected to hear. I told her I’d been expecting it for weeks.
I don’t know yet how exactly she died, and honestly there’s a lot more about her that will remain forever unknown to me, forever a mystery. Late-in-life hints that there may have been so much more lies and deception on her part than I really had ever could have guessed, although actually I had wondered about some of it from time to time. But the truth is, the death of my sister is not painful for me, though I feel for those to whom it might cause pain. For me it’s mainly about closure, about the open wound that was her life, not so much healing as just finally coming to an inglorious and not-entirely-surprising end. The only lesson I could offer up from her long, destructive life and quick slide from madness into death, is that we all will be remembered not for what we wanted to be and wanted to do, but for who we actually are and what we actually do. I wish I could remember my sister fondly and with love, but unfortunately I remember her too well for that. All I can say is, goodbye, Whims, and thanks for the groceries.