Monday, January 25, 2010

Not So High On Arrival

Out of the blue, this book came in the mail from Amazon. High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips. I didn’t order it, and I don’t want it. I'm not high on its arrival. I contacted Amazon and was told me the book’s arrival in my box was a mistake, but they don’t want it back.

So now I own this book. I heard it reviewed on NPR but only remember that Mackenzie had sex with her father. Which reminded me of that book The Kiss by Katheryn Harrison, a memoir of incest. The Kiss was both revolting and engrossing. Katheryn Harrison was like a voyeur, standing outside her own doorway, luxuriating in her own demise. The memoir was beautifully written, but I don’t ever want to read about incest again.

I wondered, after reading the book, if incest is more common than I think. I remembered how when I was a girl, there was this one girl in my class, Resa (not her real name), who was beyond mean. She was one of those beautiful little girls who would torture the uglies in the class, or rather, she would inspire others to torture the uglies.

Funny, how I never noticed the boys picking on each other in that way. Instead they held magnifying glasses over flies and watched their wings burn. Maybe that’s what the mean girls did in their own ways.

I was never friends with Resa, but one year, she did invite me to her birthday party. We were in fifth grade. All I remember about the party was that her father gave her tons of boxes of skimpy lingerie and sexy nighties. All of the nighties were lime green. She slipped into one and flitted around the living room, looking like a lunar moth as she waved her skinny arms in the air.


Lyle Daggett said...

I saw MacKenzie Phillips on the Oprah show where she (Phillips) revealed the story publicly for the first time. I remember thinking at the time that I didn't want to read the book.

Partly because years back I read (more or less) Papa John, her father John Phillips' memoir of his years with the Mamas and Papas, and some of the drug addition recovery aftermath. (He said nothing about incest with his daughter, though he talked some about her drug addictions as well as his own.)

Another reason, I suppose, is that at the time MacKenzie Phillips went on Oprah and her book came out, I was in the middle of reading poet Sharon Doubiago's recent memoir My Father's Love which is also in large part about her father's sexual molestation of her when she was a child. Doubiago's book truly blew me away, and it was hard to imagine reading anything else of that nature any time soon. (Though when volume 2 of Doubiago's memoir comes out, I'll surely read it, though that's another story.)

Years back, decades, the mid-1970's, a friend of mine began volunteering a local rape crisis center, and at some point after that she was talking about it, and said, "There's so much incest, I can't belief how much incest there is," almost shaking her head in disbelief.

I remember reading someplace once (and no idea now where or when this was) someone commenting that the reason Sigmund Freud developed many of his ideas about psychological complexes was that he couldn't believe, he found it incomprehensible, that so many of his women patients were telling him literal truth about the sexual abuse their fathers had committed against them, that it wasn't just some kind of neurotic fantasy or delusion.

Jack said...

Hi Nin,

Not a response to your blog. Wanted to FINALLY say how much I've savored, enjoyed, admired, been glad for, been glad about Southern Comfort. And great to hear your poem read on The Writer's Almanac. I'm not good at responding to others' work. Get all stammer-y. So, I'll just try a thank you and hope you feel its sincerity.
Jack Ridl