Sunday, May 13, 2012

5-13-12 Pictures of Tommy - a memoirist’s blog #14

(Right now, I’m focusing on my memoirist work that I’ll call, simply, “Pictures of Tommy” -- all about my psychotic brother and his legacy. If so inclined, please share, and tell me what you think. . . )


(from page 55, middle, Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith)

“When I grow up and come to fictionalize Tyler [the author’s autistic brother] in my first novel, a writer from Boston calls me to ask if I will agree to be interviewed for a book about the effects a sibling suffering from mental illness has on a brother or sister.  Her own sibling, a sister, is schizophrenic.  The writer says to me, I’d come home form school and my other would ask me to pitch in with cleaning up the kitchen because my sister had, once again, slit her wrists.  My mother and I would start wiping up all the blood.  My mother would say, Let’s have all this cleaned up before dinner.  As if my sister had spilled the sugar bowl.

The writer finds that children who are raised with mental illness in their homes develop a wonderful coping mechanism that will affect them favorably all their lives.  The good that comes of being raised in a loony bin is our ability to weather the most awful of crises -- remain calm and take care of business.  In other words, we do not say a word, just wipe up the blood and move on like nothing ever happened.”

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