Sunday, May 11, 2008

My mother, my muse

Ever since my mom realized I was writing about her online, she's been tattling on my dad. She's trying to divert my attention, but the harder she tries, the more hilarious she is, and off I go to write about her some more. "Oh, pick on your father for once," she'll say, her last ditch effort.

Here she is, laughing hysterically:

My mother, fellow lover of ridiculousness and inappropriate behaviour, is a sensitive woman (and vulgar and loving and neurotic and wonderful and I could go on-and-on) and I want to be careful not to make her feel self-conscious, or overly exposed by what I'm telling the world about her, so for years, I've refused to give her the link to my blog. It was the only solution. What she doesn't know won't irk her.

There's no way I can stop writing about her, she's a major player in this little life of mine, I was her doing. Dad didn't want any more kids. He was busy with my older sisters and the neighbourhood boys they'd sneak in through the basement. Safeguarding two virginities was exhausting work for a father of two beautiful teenage girls in the Peace-and-Love era, and he wasn't sure he'd have energy to do it again.

While my father is truly the greatest, a wholly interesting and lovely man (who decided I was a good idea after all), my mother is the real antagonist, the character of the family. Dad's just not controversial, not outside the context of his marriage to my mother, in which his primary commitment, she says with a twinkle and a smirk, is to slowly and definitively drive her mad. I love them both dearly, and want them to know that everything I write, I write with love and respect, and I only occasionally write about sex.

When oddball, small-time writer and editor, Maxim Jakubowski, asked to include blurbs of this blog in an anthology of online journals (2005), I chose excerpts I could show my parents. How fun, I thought at the time, to read my stories to them from a book that is for sale, in real-live stores.

When I received two complementary copies in the mail, they weren't what I'd been expecting, and I realized what I'd gotten into. Published in New York under the title, Sex Diaries, and in London, Erotic Online Diaries, my sex-devoid contribution begins on page 208, inexplicably sandwiched between sodomy, masturbation, bondage and sadomasochism. You might think that's why I decided not to show my parents the end product.

They're not so squeamish, though, and I think they could have handled the graphic sex stuff, or at least leafed past it. It was me with the problem. The web address to this blog was on every published page, and I wasn't ready to expose myself to them. My parents don't need to know a lot of things, for their own good, and selfishly, I wanted to preserve my freedom of expression without fear of familial persecution or guilt. A growing readership means my parents will see my blog sooner than later, though, or worst case scenario, one of their friends will first.

Little-by-little, I've tried to prepare both parties. I've read select entries to them over the phone, and copied-and-pasted others with minor edits, like the story about how I tactlessly brought up oral sex to my mom (a regrettable incident): Me, Mom and Polish Sausage.

She laughed while I read to her, and chastised me again for sharing "too much information". Feeling like we really made progress, I later mentioned that I'd gotten some funny feedback on that story. She was shocked.

"You let people read that?" She reacted as though I'd peed in the kitchen sink.

"Yes, Mom, it's on my blog," I was confused by her reaction. "I told you that."

"And you show people your blog?" she asked, incredulous. I explained to her that my blog is available on the internet for all the world to see, for as long as there exist web archives, possibly outlasting civilization, even cockroaches. Realizing what this meant, she began shouting, "People know what you DO! People know what you DO! They know what you do with your man-friends!"

It was my turn to laugh, repeating the term "man-friend", over and over again, and finally catching my breath to say, "You know I'm going to write about that."

This Mother's Day, she requested two gifts: an ornamental shrub, and "too much information". Finally, somewhat reluctantly, and not without fair warning, I welcome her to my blog. It's really only fair.

World, meet my mom. She's here, right now, reading this, wondering if you know what I do with my "man-friends".

Mom, make yourself at home. These people already know you.

Your love is still unconditional, right?

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