Thursday, May 18, 2017


Donis here. I ought to be taking advantage of the last of the good weather here in Arizona, but I'm still working hard to finish my next Alafair Tucker novel. I haven't even been outside much lately, except to drive hither and yon and talk to groups about books and writing (which BTW, check out Barbara's excellent entry on the care and feeding of writers, below). Judging by my husband's behavior, I am becoming crabby and weird, which often happens as I near a deadline. But the dear man has been picking up the slack around our house, and even brought me a present a couple of days ago. I had mentioned that I'd like to have new bedspreads for the twin beds in guest room, and he traveled all the way out to a mall in a neighboring town and bought a beautiful set. I was so happy that my limbic brain took over and I cried, "Oh, nifty newpot!"

I have not uttered those word for decades. This is a phrase that my sister Carol coined in her dewy youth, and it became usual in my family to use it to describe anything wonderful. Carol was and still is a little bit off center in a most delightful way. She's well known for the way she manipulates the English language. One of my favorites is, "Stop here for a minute. I want to pooch into the store."

All of my siblings are vocabulary-gifted. When we were young, it was a matter of great amusement to us to sit around the dining table and carry on a conversation in the most convoluted and pretentious language possible. It was hilarious, and it seems to have done something to our brains. I could give you endless amusing examples, Dear Reader, but that is not the point of this entry.

The point is that sometimes it is brought home to me how much I was influenced by my siblings when I was growing up. I am the person I am partly because of them. I am the eldest of the four, so I imagine they would say the same about me. I'm a little bit sorry about that, because I often think I could have done better by them when we were young. Our family (like all families, I'm sure) had some very rough times to go along with all the good. There were periods where I felt like I should do my best to protect them. So I made a habit of not talking about what was going on or asking them how they were coping. In hindsight, this was not the best strategy. Of course part of it was that I was pretty young, myself, and didn't really know what to do. Still, I can see that all four of us bear some scars.


We are all funny and self-depreciating, erudite and self-sufficient to the point of almost being anti-social. Life and circumstances have scattered us. I live in Arizona, my sisters live in Colorado and Missouri, my brother in Oklahoma. Since our mother died, we don't keep in touch as regularly as we did. But that doesn't mean I don't think about them a lot. We survived a lot together, really good stuff and bad. We're like old war buddies who are the only ones who can understand what we went through.

My siblings are the inspiration for many of the events in my books and many of the personal traits of my recurring characters. In fact, I'll admit that part of the reason I invented Alfair Tucker's safe and stable family was to provide the safe place for the children. I didn't know how to do it when I was a kid.

p.s. the photos of me and the sibs were all taken on the same day in 1972 or thereabouts.


Aashi siva said...
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Rick Blechta said...


It's not too hard to see the family resemblance.

Interesting post. Thanks!

Donis Casey said...

Thanks, Rick. We were a pleasant looking bunch in our youth. As for the first comment, I saw that on my phone but couldn't delete until I got to the computer. Thanks for doing the deed.

Sybil Johnson said...

As soon as I saw those pictures, I knew they were from the 1970s. It's interesting how easy it is to tell certain decades. Interesting post. Thanks.

Donis Casey said...

It's the hair and eyes, Sybil. Except for Chris. He'd fit in any decade.

Barbara Fradkin said...

Your post made me reflect on my own. It's sad how often in today's world, families end up scattered so far from each other. But blood is blood, and most of the time, they are the ones you count on in the end.