At the Border of Silence


As I blog I am trying to be consistent in the naming process. Several people I know use initials. So, I thought, cool, I’ll just do that.

But there are problems with that.

For one thing, my youngest son’s name begins with “I” – this, I discovered rather quickly, is a problem. I (as in me and not my son) wrote about him and it all sounded very 1st person. So, I opted to use his initials – IPH – but then if I (me) didn’t do that for everyone it became very inconsistent. But all the initials seem to me to be tedious… distracting… annoying.

In the case of my children, I think that they’d be ok with my using just their first names. But there are other more insidious – litigious – people in my world. Their interactions with me, and in some cases my children, are noteworthy. Interesting. The stuff good tell-all memoir stuff should be made of… There’s addiction, dysfunction, betrayal. Insanity. These people embody the sort of cogitative dissonance that Caroline Kraus wrote about in Borderlines. My family has always reminded my of Shakespeare’s King Lear or on particularly bad days, perhaps Hamlet: intrigue, deception, lies, festering anger – and the only way to achieve sanity is to create distance. But, in some instances it’s too late.

How does one write about such people? I suppose, in Tim O’Brien fashion, I could fictionalize it all. Or like Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, or E. B. White in his essays, I could make metaphor and pray the moral of the story is understood. I could rename them.

But, trying to keep myself from telling those stories has inhibited my ability to write at all. Their little invasions into my serenity are stories to tell. Stories that demand my attention – and rankle if left un-vocalized. I am left creatively paralyzed. That paralysis has begun to manifest itself physically as I have developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA. My most debilitating episodes can be traced directly back to a stressful moment/situation about which I did not write, or say anything…

For now, I have named the greatest of my familial-intruders S1. And I believe she has BPD, for me, she exhibits a narcissism that nothing else explains. I have watched in silence as she has destroyed relationships and lives from my father to my niece. Periodically, I think to myself, well you know she’s part of your family and things change… Quickly, I discover, not so much.

Now, I in no way want to imply that I am better than she, or anyone else. I suppose, the best picture of these stories is my own personal struggle to overcome familial dysfunction and the mental illness therein and learn to function in a very dysfunctional society…

So, readers (all 24 of you), are the initials annoying? Do they take away from what I am saying? Or does it matter?

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4 thoughts on “At the Border of Silence

  1. I don’t think initials are annoying, better not to clutter up your writing unless the names are important to the story. I admire your ability to do this blog. I have another friend that has started a blog and you both encourage me to think about starting my own. Like I said Mel, we may not agree on everything, but you’re to smart to dismiss out of hand, so I like to read your thoughts in the form of your blog. Keep ’em coming….:)

  2. Initials are not annoying but keeping track of them can be, particularly if they are fairly indistinguishable. Sometimes a nickname can do the trick and be quite telling and amusing when it is spot-on. Now that I think of it, the use of multiple initials also can be a bit of a stutter in a sentence, interrupting the natural flow of the thought. Almost rather jargon-y, like military speak. It leaves me you feeling like it requires too much mental translation. I know you aren’t talking about anacronyms, but my head went there.

    That said, it is your blog…I won’t stop reading it due to rampant use of initials.

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