Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A memoir

Wow it's been quiet! I must say I've been busy myself... lots of book stuff to do!

Anyhow, because I'm ADD, I've decided to write a memoir about my childhood... or rather a particular individual in my childhood and the dramatic incident that happened involving her. Yes, dear friends, this will be a story about abuse. I was not the one abused (and no one in my family was) so I think this will be a fresh take on things, don't you think? Then I got another idea--to get my sister and mother to write parts as well... the stuff they remembered.

Okay, so here's what I"ve got so far (I have NO idea why I'm sharing other than the blog is silent and I don't feel like posting photos of the party just yet or talking about what I'm working on).


I’m obsessed with stories about child molesters. I came to this realization last week when I wanted something to watch. I bought Deliver Us From Evil. It’s a documentary about a Catholic priest, who for twenty years molested children. The other priests knew and did nothing. The man got away with it. All of it. And there he was, on film, going on about it like he was reminiscing about what he ate for breakfast.

One of my friends asked, “Why would you want to watch a movie about THAT?”

“Uh…I don’t know,” I said.

I really didn’t.

Then, I thought about it…and I knew.

This brings me to my memoir. OUR memoir. I’ve tried for years to write about it, but only spurts came out. My sister, who is also a writer, wrote about the same thing. Why were we both so obsessed? Why did we both write short stories about the same incident? Then the idea came to me. Why don’t we write the story TOGETHER.


At Dinner
“Vicky stopped by a few weeks ago,” my father said.
Vicky…Vicky Adams Vicky?” I asked.
My father paused to stick some more shrimp and pasta onto his fork.
“She uh—“
“I thought she was in jail,” Bridget said.
“Obviously WAS,” I said. “What did she say?”
“She was real polite… how are you doin’ Mr. McCarthy…she shook my hand…”
“She was always polite,” my mother added. “They ALL were.”
My father swallowed his shrimp, took a swig of beer and continued. “She said she’s in the army…doing really well. She said one of the other boys is married with two kids…still living in Reedsville.”
“Yeah RIGHT,” Bridget said. “I’m SURE she’s in the army.”
“I think both boys were in the army. She probably stole the story from one of them. I wouldn’t believe a thing she says.” My mom added.
“Yeah, something wasn’t right with her. Everyone in the neighborhood tried to shoo her away. No one wanted her in their yard.”
“That’s right, I remember that,” mom said.
“Everyone but YOU,” dad said to mom. “You felt bad…wanted to take her in…pooooor little Vicky.”
“Well. Michael. She was so little when she first showed up at our doorstep. Only four. The kids were locked out of the house all winter long in the cold!”
“Whatever happened to that man…Mr. What’s-his-name? Mr. White…”
“Committed suicide,” my mom said.
“No WAY!” Bridget’s fork dropped onto the floor.” I didn’t know that.”
“Well,” Mom said, “all those accusations of abuse…”
“Yeah, I remember,” Bridget said. “Vicky would go into that man’s house to get candy and wouldn’t come out for hours!”
“What abuse? What man?” asked my little sister Kaila. She had been silent the whole time, quietly picking at her meat. I’d almost forgotten that she didn’t know. We all opened our eyes wide and gave each other The Look. The DON’T SAY ANYTHING look. How could we tell her now? After all this time…

My Town
My mom said they moved to Reedsville for the tranquility…the wholesomeness… Reedsvlle was nature overload––glistening ponds, fluttering butterflies, trees quietly rustling in the wind. Most of the houses were antique, with white picket fences and window-boxes and dogs nuzzling their owners on porch steps. But looks can be deceiving. At night there were shotguns and motorcycles and beer bottles crashing into cracked roadways.

Before I Was Born
I was born a year after my parents moved in. They’d bought a fixer-uper. My mom said the kitchen had wood paneling and linoleum covered the floors. The bathroom used to be where the study is. My dad ripped out the toilet and installed a new one where the birthing room used to be. Yes, the birthing room. The house is two hundred years old and that’s what my parents were drawn to––the history of it. But old houses need help. Lots of it. A nice white ceiling will start to show small yellow circular spots. The spots will grow and grow until it’s clear that there’s a leak coming from some pipe that’s been neglected for longer than Lincoln was president. The house wasn’t the only thing that needed help. So did the town. The pretty little houses with their white fences held secrets. Secrets passed on from generation to generation.

so that's all I have. I have to go paint now! I hope I don't have paint poisoning. All of you painters need to be careful of that!



Libby Koponen said...

Great idea! I can't wait to read it. I have three friends who were abused as kids and two of them, I know, could never talk about it to anyone....having a book like this would really have helped. Plus I think if anyone can make it not all dark, but with some humor, too, you can....anyway I think it's a great idea.

Meghan McCarthy said...

Thanks Libby.

I'm thinking at this point it's going to be an adult book. We'll see what happens. Most likely it will be shelves shortly, never to see the light of day.


tanita✿davis said...

The fragments even are totally arresting. Wow.

Good luck!