If I can find a repeating pattern, a repetitious rhythm that pulses underneath the warp and woof of my life, it is that each time I reconnect with my biological family, it becomes necessary to wipe clean the creative slate and start over. Every time I encounter my mother or brothers or sister in the flesh, it is as if my creative spark sputters and dies, and must be carefully and diligently kick-started back into being.
It used to be that on principle, I would drop acid every six months or so (when I started dreaming those technicolor, wide screen dreams again) and that would stop the nocturnal picture show for a period of time. During the time when the dreams were banished, I would create, feverishly manic out of necessity. For the past three years, however, that has not been required – I can do it without the drug, now; but it had been that long since I saw my family.
Now, I’m losing track of my train of thought here, but shall continue anyway. The bottom line is that these reunions always make me feel small, as if I had never started anything, as if my past were the only thing relevant (not the present or the future), and that comparison with my siblings makes me feel unaccomplished, unnecessary, unproductive. Not that they are really doing anything with their lives, except working, eating, sleeping, raising children. But a prophet, they say, is never accepted as such in their home town. And the spiritual quest that I am on is so far beyond the scope of their understanding.
So why is it that each time we meet, I have to spend weeks or months getting my self back from some mired, mucky limbo? Is the pattern of my everyday life so set, so predictable that this familial jolt disrupts the very cycle of my being? Or is it like that for everyone? Because family is one place where they knew ya when you were nobody. And they seem deadset against letting you forget it. The veneer of respectability, of civility, of cooperation and mutual well-wishing seems so cracked and worn, so victimized by the steady onslaught of chronology. If I wrote an autobiography and sent it to my family for review, would they even recognize the subject? How could they? I’m sure they would be agast at the pathways my journey has discovered, and they would long for the small talk I have lost the taste for along the way. Are all families so petty on the surface? Does the pettiness seep deep into the very marrow of a family’s corporeal self, permeating the core with dysfunction? It all seems so false, a sham, a palimpsest against which the writing of truth is faded and peeling.