Friday, July 27, 2007

I hurt you because I care.

The Family Wainwright, minus Loudon

Coming from a family of slightly unhinged writer-types (and one entrepreneur who, strangely, makes more money than all of us combined) can be tough. Reading each other's work and learning, whether we want to or not, about each other's innermost thoughts/insecurities/demons can create, uh, an interesting dynamic. Like when you read a sex scene in a novel your dad wrote! It's interesting! Or when you write a poem that describes your uneasy relationship with your dad and you show it to him so he can critique your form! Also really interesting!

I say this because I'm currently working on a short story that is based on an extremely sensitive event in my family history. Actually, it started as a short story, and now it's more like a short novel, which probably means it has become overwrought, full of confusing tangents and, well, bad, but I digress. I've been feeling a little weird about the whole thing, like, "Am I appropriating a story that doesn't really just belong to me?" or "Is it wrong to write a sex scene with a character based on my brother?" or "Will anyone in my family talk to me ever again after they read this?"

Then I read this awesome article about the Wainwright family in Vanity Fair. Holy crap! They completely embrace the "interesting dynamic" and write about each other all the time. Then they perform shows together and sing songs about how much they hate each other! Check it out:
Loudon turned 50 on Sept. 5, 1996. The next day, his friends and far-flung family members joined him onstage for a celebratory show at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York. Kate was there. So were Suzzy, Rufus, and Martha; their half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche showed up, too.

Early on, Loudon dove right into the soup, playing that good-time ballad about nearly losing fetal Martha, "That Hospital." If Lucy felt left out, she no longer did when he sang the heart-wrenching "Your Mother and I." Rufus got zinged with "A Father and a Son." Kate took the stage and scored one for the women's side with "Go Leave." Loudon counterpunched with "Unhappy Anniversary."

Maybe it's weird to view the Wainwrights as role models for using creativity to enable more functional family dysfunction, but whatever! I love them now.

Also: in Martha Wainwright's awesome song "Factory," I'm not really sure, but I think the person she refers to as "the chick with the dick and the gift for the gab" is her brother.


pennymac said...

Your brother did WHAT?! I can hardly wait to see the advance copy. As if your father and I don't have enough political fodder to argue about over the breakfast table....

Nightcrush said...

Hi Mom! Um, can I have $50?