Manual SonSet: A Memoir of Family Dysfunction

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He is filled with his own vibrating awareness, his outsiderdom. He sees his mother as another victim. A family that had quite literally written, or story-analysed, itself into a better, sunnier life. Frank is a master of self-reflection, under the bowl of blue sky and in those closeted canyons. He says nothing in an ordinary way; everything has a dreamlike smoothness, born out of his extended act of retrieval and the remembered violence of emotion and inconstancy. From the initial excitement of her mercurial attention, the narrative lurches into something much darker.

The final chapters — sad and glorious — capture a glitteringly dysfunctional family in a moment in time. The Mighty Franks is full of humour and brittle irony.

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In Aunt Hankie, Frank has created a great new nonfictional character: an indelible wonder of dark depths and hypnotic high style. Phone orders min. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Autobiography and memoir. Biography books Film books reviews. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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Show 25 25 50 All. The tricky part is keeping my spoons stocked such that the Challenge For The Day isn't simply getting out of bed. Staying adequately spooned most specifically seems to be a function of getting enough greens into my diet; my current hack, which seems to be working pretty well, is to have a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and include greens therein. Now if I could just jigger the smoothie-building process so that the greens fibers don't gum up the blender blade.

So, as of yesterday I've been doing my photo a day project for a full year. Link is on my username. In the past year I have posted photos. People with full time jobs work 5 days a week! This is an excellent rate.

I discovered that viewing stats, likes, favourites, etc. I also discovered that I like taking pictures of very small things. There are lots of flowers and bugs and drops of water in the collection. Bees are pretty.

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I posted the photos with only a date and no other comment or description because the temptation to point out all the ways in which the photo was not quite what I was hoping for was too strong, and I decided negative talk was not allowed on that photo album because that would make me feel bad. So, I posted nothing but the date. Whenever I look back through my photos I can't remember anymore what I was hoping for, so that was a good choice. I think most of the photos are pretty, and those that aren't are at least interesting, and that was my goal for the album: a daily interesting thing, and an activity that makes me happy.

And please try not to feel bad about not liking everything about every photo. My husband is a photographer; his work is sometimes exhibited in galleries. He's taken hundreds of thousands of photos. If he ever does take a Perfect Photo, he tells me he'll hang up his camera for good. He learns from every photo he takes. He also has told me that he never judges a photo until at least a week has passed since he took it. If he looks at it too soon, he remembers how much fun it was to take, or how difficult it was to set up, or whatever You've got some really interesting things in there, well beyond just "pretty".

I put up a lot of photos on Flickr. I have a friend who puts his up on Picasa. One time I said to him that he seemed to be a much better photographer than I was, and I'll never forget his response: "That's because you never see the stuff I delete.

February 3, 2014

The real difference between his photos and mine is that he's much more of a perfectionist -- my level of "acceptable" is considerably broader. That also leaves lots of room for experiments, goofing off, finding the limits of what my camera is capable of, and crappy photos of nifty things, like the photo of the hummingbird I took through my window screen mesh. Shooting through window screen mesh is a terrible thing to do to a photo. I posted it anyway. If I have taken multiple photos in a day, I choose the one that I like the best of the set, which usually consists of the one with the best focus or exposure.

It's the nature of the game.

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My-husband-the-photographer is very pleased if he gets ONE portfolio-quality photo in a two-hour shooting session. When he was shooting sports professionally, he'd submit perhaps ten photos to the newspaper out of maybe two hundred he shot of one game. The paper typically printed about five. Granted, professional photographers in my experience, anyway are hyper-critical of their own work. For that matter, pretty much all of the professional artists, of all sorts, that I've met are hyper-critical of their own work I am pleased to report that I am now going to bed an hour and a half late, or less, most nights per week, in an irregular way.

This is an improvement over my previous pattern of staying up until stupid o'clock, then cranking my go-to-bed time back 15 minutes per night by force of will until I was going to bed at actual bedtime, after which I would feel peppy and vigorous and stay up until stupid o'clock again. This pattern was itself an improvement on an earlier pattern of being terrified to lie down and surrender consciousness.

So basically I've been sleep deprived for most of my life. I don't expect that this new phase will last forever without backsliding, but right now it feels pretty good. It doesn't have to be good. In fact a lot of the time my goal is make one terrible thing.

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Just make the thing. Also, you have a picture of a snake! Yay snakes! I love snakes, but I almost never see a live snake around here that is not hurrying somewhere faster than I can manage the camera. There's also nothing wrong with a "crappy" point and shoot. I used mine hard for years, and learned tons about photography from it.

You can make them do amazing things. And a lot of the limitations are put in for very good reason. A fancier camera will let you do all manner of things, but just because it will let you do it does not mean you'll actually get a picture.

I'd often imagine the software on my point and shoot as being a couple wise photographers saying "that's maybe not a good idea" or "yes yes this is good". So I tried to learn the rules they were using, and it taught me loads. Also very relevant to boundaries My family wasn't necessarily all that great at function, but my art teachers always encouraged me to find the things I did right in whatever kind of art I did, not just the stuff I did wrong.

Literary Style and the Lessons of Memoir

They might see different right things. And another person would see other right things. But I was the only one who could judge for me. I think it's probably about the most important overall lesson that I learned from teachers. Congratulations on keeping it up for an entire year so far.

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I have managed to get the closest thing I've ever had to a consistent and healthy sleep schedule by setting an alarm at every night to take melatonin, which then knocks me out. The trick, of course, is taking the melatonin when the alarm goes off, and then actually moving towards bed over the next hour or so. But I think the stuff takes long enough to make me sleepy that I don't have the immediate "noooo i want to keep doing things" response.

Doing this for a couple of months more or less confirmed my suspicion that my intermittent depressiveness is primarily mediated by sleep deprivation.