Siblings

by heytherewildflower

Low key weekend of not-muchery. It was mainly dedicated to food. On Saturday I watched the documentary, “Jiro dreams of Sushi”. It made me want to be a sushi chef all over again– as well as extremely nostalgic for my Tateyama days. Unfortunately a woman becoming a traditional sushi chef is unheard of…and a white woman becoming a sushi chef is sacrilege. sooudesunee. 

We went out for a sushi feast later that evening to feed my cravings and my nostalgia. It was glorious. Hadn’t eaten sea urchin since actually living in Japan…but, I must say, Seattle seafood industry does the uni roll justice.

The rest of the weekend consisted of finishing up Vonnegut’s Slapstick (HIHO!) and starting and finishing Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger.

I am not a huge Vonnegut fan, but I’ve recently made an effort to get into him because Eric loves him. My dad also loves Vonnegut and it is for this reason I’ve stubbornly avoided him like the big stubborn asshole of a daughter I am. I think I like Slapstick a lot. The first Vonnegut Eric convinced me to read is DeadEyeDick. It was ok. extremely forgettable. I appreciated the interesting integration of recipes, however, as I aim to do something similar with the Faulkner piece I’ve been working on sporadically for the past year.

What I like about Slapstick is its focus on the sibling relationship. My obsession with sibling relationships comes up a little in the post I wrote on Lars Von Tiers’ Melancholia. I’ve always felt that my sister and I are two functioning halves of the same brain. We share all the same characteristics, but they’re just mixed and matched and undeveloped or exaggerated and set differently in either of us. I think if we combined, we’d be unstoppable. I see these sorts of symbiotic sibling relationships all the time. At different times in history the zeitgeist dictates less involvement or, at least, less emotoinal parental involvement in rearing children…and I believe that this rings true for much of the west in this 21st century. I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it over and over until I am in the grave. I don’t belong to a place or to a family or to an ideology or to a religion. The only person/thing that can stake a true claim on me is my sister (poetry is a non-tangible entity). Sometimes I don’t listen to her advice or do precisely what it is she wants me to do, but I make all of my important decisions with her in mind. always. unflinchingly.

Here’s an excerpt from Vonnegut’s Slapstick (which I loved though he himself graded it a D on a regular grading scale.)

“The museums in children’s minds, I think, automatically empty themselves in times of utmost horror—to protect the children from eternal grief. For my own part, though: It would have been catastrophe if I had forgotten my sister at once. I had never told her so, but she was the person I had always written for. She was the secret of whatever artistic unity I had ever achieved. She was the secret of my technique. Any creation which has any wholeness and harmoniousness, I suspect, was made by an artist or inventor with an audience of one in mind. Yes, and she was nice enough, or Nature was nice enough, to allow me to feel her presence for a number of years after she died—to let me go on writing for her. But then she began to fade away, perhaps because she had more important business elsewhere.”

― Kurt VonnegutSlapstick

After finishing Slapstick, I started reading Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Totally. Not. On. Purpose did I read another novel based in the psychological fuckery of sibling relationships. But the parallels are so obvious it’s absurd. So as I’ve said, I am a sucker for a good exploration of the complicated and fascinating dynamics of close sibling relationships. My relationship with my sister is so interesting and strange it is one of the most difficult things for me to write about. I haven’t written about it. I’ve written (and most often written poorly) explorations on each of my family members…and on most topics that fascinate me. But I don’t even know where to begin writing about my sister or my relationship with her. After all, when you take two hyperactive little twits and send them off traveling around the world making them a hybrid of American, Japanese, Chinese and Central American cultures…that and a dash of Type A family influence and a dash of neurosis and anxiety …and you get two creatures who can only relate to each other.

“We’re freaks, that’s all. Those two bastards got us nice and early and made us into freaks with freakish standards, that’s all. We’re the tattooed lady, and we’re never going to have a minute’s peace, the rest of our lives, until everybody else is tattooed, too.”
– J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey