Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good News/Bad News

Yesterday's call with the acquisitions editor went well. We're moving to the next step, and I'm quite hopeful this will result in a contract and book.

When it comes to book publishing and many other things in life, I can find and do "the next right thing" without too much struggle. When it comes to my sister and business partner, I remain completely adrift. 

Yesterday I spoke up about an issue, quietly and politely. She accused me of "making a scene." Honestly and objectively, I can report that I was speaking quietly and politely. She was yelling and crying. But in her eyes, I was the one making a scene. 

She Who Must Be Obeyed.

That's the middle child in me talking. I know this. A good deal of how much I resent her attitude is born right there. In the middle. When we were young, she dictated how things would be from the lofty perch of the first born. I had no way to resist the power of her 17 additional months on the planet.

Those 17 months ate at my soul like battery acid eats cotton fabric—holes and splotches worn bare and raggy at the edges.

Now we're in our 50s and no longer see being older as a permanent CrackerJack prize. I know I see today's dramas through the lens of those early years. So I make allowances. I doubt my own reactions. I take steps back and try, try, try to see her side of things. 

But the facts are the facts, and they are not pretty. From either direction.


Anonymous said...

The hurt is evident in your voice here.

You'll need to talk to friends today, I think.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Me thinks it's time to stop being her business partner.

Go Mama said...

Good about the book. As for your sister, sounds to me like you're trying to work things through to resolve them...wherever that leads. 50 yrs of role-playing is a long time, but I also see your efforts to approach her, address issues, get clarity, so good for you.

Go easy with yourself.

grammer said...

Such a bummer to have to tiptoe, isn't it? It always sounds like the right thing, but geez, who knows. Bless you for working so diligently at this. If she had any idea how hard you work to understand her...

What I love about your writing is the depth you're able to achieve in the briefest of pieces. I can't think of anyone who does it as well. Thank you, Jerri! xo tg

riversgrace said...

I love this piece, J. I love your clarity, the way the clarity holds all the young emotion. Good position. Good place to remain. You get to navigate from this place as long as you want to...and if/when it feels right to say a louder, more resounding NO, you will. Until then, I see how much you've grown.

That can be infuriating for someone who isn't there. And that's not your problem. Or your issue to heal. You've already paid your dues, done the work....and you're on a path.

mamatulip said...

I'm very glad about the good, and very sorry about the bad.

I think Carrie Wilson has a point, one that might be worth considering -- perhaps your sister isn't the person who should be your business partner.

kario said...

Yay for you! On both counts. Yay that you are working out the book deal. Yay that you are able to have enough distance to know that you were talking calmly. It can only get better from here.

Love you.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Mama Tulip is my NBF. Listen to us. Besides, tulips are my favorite flower. No accidents.

Deb said...

There aren't too many things harder than trying to change your role in a family drama. I think quitting smoking might be easier - or getting a root canal without drugs. She sounds scared and unwilling to relinquish her hold on the prize of control and know-it-all. I'm so proud of you for developing your own sense of worth and self in the midst of all this.

Great news about the book!

Stacy said...

You could do what I did as second born, move-really far away!

luckyzmom said...

I recently experienced this with my son and daughter. I commend you because I know first hand how much it hurts when they respond to you in the old dysfunctional way. It takes time for others to adjust, so try to be patient.