Friday, October 17, 2008

DW: Zelda and an Epihany

So Darryl and I were having dinner tonight and we started talking about Scott Fitzgerald, and how he had
read the biography "Zelda" while we were in Prague a few years ago. I read "Zelda" in 1970 when I was very impressionable and became rather obsessed with her story.

We were talking about all of this and then we got to the part where Zelda dies in a fire in Asheville in an institution. I just started crying and I really couldn't speak about it anymore. It didn't occur to me until tonight why I was so identified with their story, and most of all, Scottie. My mother was effectively removed from life when I was 11, after suffering a stroke after brain surgery for Parkinson's Disease. Like Scottie, I had a sick mother, and a father who inherited the parenting of an 11 year-old child who got her period on Christmas Eve. I'm sort of stunned as I write this, and am a bit amazed that I just didn't off myself given the circumstances.

It's amazing how some things stay with us. I am really blown away by the visceral response I had to this conversation. It was like opening up a dark closet, that had another dark closet embedded within it, and then another one, and another one, and another one.

I'm very grateful that I'm not sitting in my room re-reading Zelda and overly identifying with her demise. What continues to amaze me is how as a young person I was attracted to biographies of people who shared many of the same family issues that I did. WIthout knowing it then--they all had narcissistic, seductive fathers and mothers who struggled, but were unable to maintain healthy boundaries.

It's nice we can have "ah ha" moments and not be utterly vanquished by them.

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