self-portrait-with-bandaged-ear-1889-1No brag, just fact: Since we’ve debuted, No Family Madder has been the most frequently visited blog on this site, which is great, but we’re still waiting for a family to agree to be interviewed for the mosaic documentary in the earliest planning stages here.

It’s like a crowd has gathered, which is good. But it’s a very watchful, silent crowd.

The good news is that there’s one family on the cusp. We’ve been conversing through the back door here at [email protected] about a second family stepping out the shadows with us.

They are mulling it over. This is to be expected. Thoughtful wrestling demonstrates the sort of real-life authenticity we’re all about.

Let’s Dance

We seem a pair, this Canadian family and our own. Without giving away too much, her family matches and mirrors our own in profound ways.

She says she’s “doing the dance” with her family. She asks if I can do the old family dance too.

I say, move over Michael Jackson–we can moon walk, jig, juggle five plates, and sing at the same time.

Seriously, though, it’s a relief to find a dance partner, and I recognize that this could take a while. The family dance is a heavy lift because nobody leaps up off the sofa to volunteer to be a poster family.

We didn’t, not until this newly discovered gene link in the grass green land of our ancestors led, inevitably, to a book. And now comes this big June 3 White House announcement, which seems like a galvanizing moment.  Here’s hoping.

Cupboard Kinda Bare

I’ve got my own feelings of ambivalence that haunt my internal dialogue. I’m new to this blogging game, for one thing, and writing about the insanity that’s rife in your family always feels like running through the town square naked.

Then when I take a look at the in-box, and the cupboard is bare, it’s bracing. Our age of instant messaging puts a vast reservoir of families before us, but maybe the tweets and blogs are too fast for comfort, like the speeding cyclist we never see coming. On instinct, we jump sideways.

The track is narrow and steep because, with families, we’re never quite sure of our footing. We take the first few slow halting steps. We tread carefully, wondering, the slow pace intended to lluminate things too tender to trample.

Elevating the Conversation

As my lone Canadian friend shares e-news of a newly discovered Van Gogh, an artist suffering from the big S before he took his life, I can already feel the conversation elevating.

“Have you ever met a dumb schizophrenic?” she asks as matter-of-factly as I would.

“No, never.”

I forgot to ask back if she knew the jazz form was invented by a New Orleans jazz clarinetist who had a diagnosis?

She’s a lot of fun, and full of the wisdom of first-hand experience.

Plus she says she’s dog-eared my book. Which reminds me to remind: Free copies of Stalking Irish Madness are always available by request at [email protected]