Spoiled Children of Divorce

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Natasha Trethewey

Pulitzer Prizewinning Poetess Natasha Trethewey is a Child of Divorce.  I heard her interviewed on the NPR Program Fresh Air yesterday.

I was first attracted to the interview because I couldn’t believe what amazingly long sentences Trethewey can spin.  She can assemble more thoughts into a single sentence in a way that still makes sense than anyone I’ve ever heard.  So it made sense that she’s a poet. Her personal story is even more amazing.

Trethewey won the Pulitzer for her collection of poems called Native Guard.  Some of these poems are about her Mother who was murdered by her Step-Father when Trethewey was 19 years old.  Trethewey’s younger brother witnessed the murder when he was 11 (or 12) years old.  (Sorry I was listening while driving in the car and I can’t remember the details really well).

Trethewey was born in Mississippi. Her parents divorced at some point before Trethewey started grade school.  She lived with her Mother in Georgia and spent Summers in New Orleans with her Father and with her Grandmother in  Mississippi.

Her new book is about how her family was affected by Hurricane Katrina.  Her Brother was destroyed financially and, out of desperation, turned to dealing drugs.   It turns out that he was arrested for possession of Cocaine the same day that Trethewey was awarded the Pulitzer.  Have to sit down with this astrology chart at some point in the future when I can be very very quiet…  This date will be interesting to look at from an astrological point of view as it was 10 days before Trethewey’s 41st Birthday.  By coincidence, Trethewey’s Mother was killed 10 days before her (the Mother’s) 41st Birthday as well.  It’s amazing to hear a very articulate poet discuss the complicated and confusing feelings and methods of coping with this amount of tragedy.  I sure would like to hear her ideas, if any, about her parents’ divorce.  I’m a little slow at reading poetry but I’ll be looking for both books.  The new book is called Beyond Katrina.

Trethewey is bi-racial.  Her Mother was an African American Social Worker and her Father is a White College Professor.  Her Step-Father (don’t know race, etc) was a Vietnam Veteran and worked for an Air Conditioning and Heating Company.  The story about what Trethewey’s brother had to go through is unbelievable.  As I said he was 11 or 12 years old at the time of the murder.  His parents had already divorced and I don’t know what age he was at that point.

Good Advice

Was stunned to actually read a column in this morning’s newspaper concerning divorce.  A guy writes an advice column called “Male Call.” Today’s article is titled “Beware if he’s just not that into your kid.”  The answer is right on and it’s even humorous.  A woman, turning 30 and obviously desperate, writes in that she’s in a relationship with a guy who really wants kids, but when she watches him with her son from a previous marriage she observes that they don’t seem to get along.  “Male Call” warns her about how if she marries this guy and has kids that her kids will live in the “two tiered” household where the son from the previous relationship will always feel left out.  “Say you do choose to procreate with this fellow.  Will it end up being a two-tiered family?  As in, your child is merely tolerated, but the new ones are the ‘real’ family?  That’s an excellent recipe for ‘acting out’ on the part of your child, also known as ‘Cage Match With Step-dad’ after he/she reaches puberty.

It’s interesting how the sexes understand different parts of parenting.  To hand it to this mother, she is asking.  A Father would never ask for the advice in the first place.  He would just marry a woman and figure that she and the kids can sort it out on their own.  You notice that step-mothers never mention anything about their husbands as being part of the problem.  Everything is blamed on the kid and the ex-wife.  (That’s because of money, of course).  But concerning the advice for understanding the actual problem I think I might recommend deferring to the guys.  They aren’t afraid to look into the future and see an unsolvable problem.

From the last paragraph in this column is:  “So we’re not really sure there is a way to ‘ease the transition’ for the boyfriend.  He either gets along with your kid, or he doesn’t.  And if he doesn’t maybe you should give this a little more time before deciding to have another child.”  How nice to be asking this question before taking more big leaps in the relationship.  How nice to wait and see and give it more time.

Of course, with women, I think there is an added power control issue within a relationship.  If she rushes in and adds a child of her own to the mix then she has a lot more control in all the relationships.

I remember going to a sort of Lilith fest for writers in the San Francisco Bay area one year.  Not that I’m a writer but at that point I really wanted to be.  The key speaker was a remarkably witty, funny person and she made a point out of pointing out that her half brother or sister (can’t remember which) simply never got over her Mother being in their lives.  She, of course, was the Golden Girl who grew up with her own Mother and her own Father and her own House. And these others were just visitors who made everyone grumpy.  And, as an adult, still, she is still defensive about how must easier she had it than her siblings with that good old “Oh come on, can’t we just get along?”

Kind of funny how a writer who writes mostly about family issues just doesn’t want to discuss a problem that anyone else in her family is having.

Anyway, Mr. Male Call, hope you aren’t offended that I’ve linked to you from my hostile blog about the unsolved problems of the world.  I hope you get syndicated.  Thanks for the humor, too.  I strongly urge everyone entering into a step- situation to take martial arts classes too.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Bjork
April 8, 2010, 11:51 pm
Filed under: creativity, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Half-siblings

Singer from Iceland, Bjork, is a Child of Divorce.  Her parents split before she was two years old.  Bjork’s parents were heavily involved in politics when she was growing up.  Her Father is a well known Union Leader and Electrician and her Mother is also an activist, homeopath and Martial Arts Teacher. Bjork lived with her Mother in a “hippie community” after the divorce.  At some point her Mother remarried. Bjork’s Step-Father played in a Rock Band.

Bjork has 3 half-brothers and 3 half-sisters.  She has written two songs about her siblings so her siblings have been her “Muses”.  The first asks for self sufficiency: “Army of Me” and the other talks about money: “Where is the line?”  (Bjork is a triple Scorpio which is very concerned with both self sufficiency and shared assets so this is actually pretty interesting on an Astrological theme).

Bjork started playing classical piano when she was around 5 (not sure about that age).  She released her first album when she was 11 or 12 years old.  A teacher recorded her and sent the song in to a music station who broadcast it nationally.  Bjork has since been in several bands, the Sugarcubes probably the most famous.  She has received many awards and is considered one of the finest voices in music today.

Bjork married and divorced a fellow member of her band, the Sugar Cubes.  She has a son from a previous relationship with a band member.  She also has a daughter with her current husband.