I believe my relationship with my adoptive father changed in my eyes when he threw me across a river in the ‘south hills.’
We lived in Twin Falls, Idaho at the time, and I’ve tried to recall exactly how old I was… I suspect I was 11, I believe this was in the summer of 1985.
Our church had coordinated a forest retreat, held in the area colloquially known as the south hills. In any other part of the country, these would be called mountains. Idahoans pride themselves on being of a sturdier stock than the rest of the country (except, perhaps, Alaskans) and the attitude toward these smaller mountains was that they were ‘no Sawtooths.’ When I make these references, I want to stress that these are attitudes I absorbs unknowningly, that the quotes could have been said by any of the adult men in my life at that time, and that I was a compulsive eavesdropper. I use quotes to distinguish the phrasing, which I do recall quite clearly, even if those who uttered these statements are otherwise forgotten.
I remain a subjective, at times compulsive, narrator in this story.
Unlike a true non-fiction book, by its very nature my story is somewhat fictionalized. I myself reside as an identity infictively resonating within a governmental institutional practice – my status is functionally different than that of the non-adopted, and as with other closed-file adoptees I have more in common with those in the Federal Witness Protection program. I do not know for sure that these memories are not all of the same thing, or metaphors for some completely different experience altogether. And for many people who are adoptees, that positioning can be much more problematic than my own.Continue reading “Subjective Narrator”
We are adrift within the reflections of our best selves.
When I discovered the internet, it was young. I was young. The world I inhabited felt larger as I processed the experience of dialing a long-distance number and listening to the modem handshake with the bbs on the other end of the line. There were a multitude of experiences available with a few keystrokes – countless kbs of textfiles to download and peruse – and an economy that encouraged uploads of original materials.
The internet wasn’t the bbs I dialed, it was us, downloading from one space and uploading to another, generating pockets of pooled and collective recorded thoughts, experiences, techniques. To me, it appeared to be a kind of life.
Years earlier I’d read about A-life, an early simulator of artificial life, and the still images of that software formed the backbone of how I visualized the internet as it grew. Continue reading “The Problem with Mirrors”
I am writing a book from a subjective point of view.
The editing process will sand away the raw edges, provide depth and context, and the bits that don’t make it into the book will pop up here, on my blog.
Writing is brain surgery, all of it is struggling with sweeping extremes of emotion in digging out these memories to put to ink.
My life story begins with the adoption, but proceeds beyond that to the abuse, and negligence, of parenting in the seventies and eighties. I halfheartedly believe that my adoptive parents were well-intention-ed – just deeply misguided Continue reading “On writing my book”
It’s interesting from a larger perspective – adoption laws are different from state to state, and Bastard Nation is dedicated to making records available to adoptees. For example, I can’t have my real birth certificate, but at least it is on file somewhere in Idaho and if the law in idaho were changed, I could hold my own birth certificate legally. But this is not just about my own birth certificate, it’s about how poorly adoptees as a class of citizen are treated by these laws that hide and wash away identity and lack oversight into the situations adoptees find themselves in as they grow up. Not all adoptive parents should be parents.
Creating a dialog around individual accounts is essential – when accounts are isolated they become easily dismissed, quickly diminished, but when a collection voices, each with a unique take on a greater social injustice, can be presented, the possibility for a conversation to extend into the public sphere increases.
It, in this case, being the impact of adoption on an infant, a child. Why should the impact of adoption not be weighed against the alternative, whatever that may be? I am conditioned to picture the alternative being a series of horrors, a spectrum from the neglectful to that of murderous parents, slavery, a life of poverty and crime from the moment of birth. We all are, in some sense – and the rising anti-abortion laws further the narrative of adoption-first approaches throughout certain regions within the United States. That central myth is a preservative narrative shielding a poorly regulated confederacy of institutions and private interests that facilitate an enormous industry that trades in human life.