Sunday, August 08, 2010

Free Books! And Siblings!

By the time you read this, I'll be gone. Living it up on a small island in the middle of Lake Michigan. Before you get too excited I'll be surrounded by my entire family - which is fun for me. Not for you.

I'm the black sheep of my family. My parents and brother are all still in the midwest about an hours drive from each other (hour and a half if Dad is driving, fifteen minutes if my SIL is driving). I'm not sure my brother would choose this arrangement - but he's a collegiate wrestling coach and he has to go where the jobs are. And the job is in Wisconsin.

Writing about The O'Neills for my Notorious O'Neill series (first book out this week - THE TEMPTATION OF SAVANNAH O'NEILL) I thought a lot about my brother. We're seven years apart and while that was probably wonderful for my mom, it made my relationship with Tim a tricky thing. Now, I was constant - my feelings towards my brother have always been a steady stream of hero worship. Tim, on the other hand fluctuated. If I wasn't ignored I was being beat up. (He broke my arm and leg - separate occasions, but still...) By the time I was interesting to him, I was in college and he was hundred of miles away. We started a tradition for a few years - hiking the Appalachian Trail. Which is far as traditions go, kicks ass. But then we had kids and life got in the way. Our new tradition is going to be Bruce Springsteen shows - which REALLY kicks ass.

I worry most of the time that my brother and I are falling out of touch. We don't talk much on the phone. But when we see each other a few times a year - this week in the summer included, it's a wild rush to catch up, to reconnect, to remember that out there in the world there's only one other person who has the same connection to my parents, the house on Main Street, the Appalachian Trail. By then end of this week the seven years between us will shrink to nothing and the distance we live in will seem easily overcome.

So, that's what I'll be doing this week.

I doubt I'll have internet access - so at the end of the week I'm going to give a way a few copies of THE TEMPTATION OF SAVANNAH O'NEILL - to a few lucky commentors who say something, anything one day this week.

How is that for a cop out?

(see, Steph - even ended it with a question!)


Eileen said...

I've got a big age gap between my siblings and me also. It does change the dynamic, doesn't it? As far as my oldest sister is concerned, I'm her baby and always will be.

Now that we're all grown-ups (at least we're supposed to be grown-ups), it can get tricky. She gets a little frustrated when I don't mind. I get a little irritated when she bosses me around too much (although a little bossing is still fine - I don't always WANT to make all the decisions).

Maureen McGowan said...

I've got the opposite age gap between me and my brother, also called Tim. :) I remember the night we first discovered that conincidence. And so I experienced what you're talking about from the other side... Being on the receiving end of a little hero worship when I was a teen/young adult, and then discovering my brother was an actual person -- not just the best doll I ever owned, or really annoying when he got too big to pick up -- when he hit 18 or so.

You never do have connections --good or bad -- to anyone like you have to your siblings.

Rebecca said...

I think it's great that you and your brother can reconnect like that. I hope my kids want to when they are older. I have quite a gap between oldest (16) and youngest (7months). I think my 16 and 15 yr olds will always be in contact but my 6 year old is out there in never never land without her older siblings in the next couple years and a really little, little brother.

Sinead M said...

I have a friend who is into birth order and how it reflects personality, and at first I was skeptical, until I realized, all of my close friends are either youngest children and in the middle.

I have no close friends who are eldest, or only children. I think it's because us eldest are bossy. And we like things our own way and grate on each other's nerves..

Eileen said...

Oh, Sinead, you are so right about the birth order thing. You should have seen my sister and my boyfriend (both oldest) jockeying for position. They've worked it out now, but there was a time when the two of them drove me nuts.

Molly O'Keefe said...

look at this - the wonders of wireless out in the boonies (honestly, I'm on an island two hours off main land michigan - how is this possible?)

My brother and I have switched birthright personalities around each other. TIm is the most unorganized, un pushy person you've ever met. He's also the most fun. But faced with his chaos I have to pony up and get things put together.

Sinead - I have no doubt it's why we get along. My happiest state is being bossed around. Most of my best friends are first borns.

Rebecca! Wow! That is quite a spread - just when you thought you were out, they pulled you back in, huh?

Stephanie Doyle said...

Birth order... hmm. I'm the youngest of six. I'll have to think about what this means!

Eileen said...

Six? Yowza! You're like Ultra-Baby in the birth order. No wonder you're so charming and entertaining!

Stephanie Doyle said...

That's funny Eileen because I was just with 3 of my siblings over the weekend and they found me to pampered and spoiled!!!

I'm going let them know they were mistaken and that I am in fact charming and entertaining!

Brothers! Sisters! Ugh. When you're one of 6 they are every where you turn.

Stephanie Doyle said...

And of course... I love it.

Eileen said...

We babies have to stick together, Steph. :-)

Maureen McGowan said...

Cool that you have the internetz out there, Molly! But remember to relax. :)

According to one talk I heard on birth order, if there's more than a 5 year gap, you start counting again... So you and Tim are both "only children" according to the birth order gurus.

This made my family make more sense to me... I'm the middle of three sisters, but to me my younger sister was much more like a baby of the family type, than my brother who's 5 1/2 years younger than her.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Molly,

Hope you're having a great vacation.

Family dynamics are indeed interesting. I'm the oldest, my brother is 3 years younger. But I've never really fit that oldest description. I recently heard a discussion on the radio, that this changes if you had a super critical parent (DING DING). That's me. My brother has more of the first child thing. (He rebelled).

But I also have a half-brother 13 years younger. Because we grew up in different families, we weren't close until recently. The few Christmases before my dad died, Stephen was in his 30's now and married - suddenly we were more on an even footing. Then my dad died 3 years ago, and now we are all a lot closer. He just had his first baby and he's always posting picture and videos. It's fun.

Can't wait to read your new series!

And again, congrats on your RITA! So thrilling for you!


sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

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