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"I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past."

— Stanislaw Lem, Solaris

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Monday, December 6th, 2004

Apologies for another late entry... This time, I think I was just reluctant to write on this subject.

Rendering of emotions experienced on my trip to Buffalo

The drawing works on at least two layers, but some background is required.

I was put up for adoption about a month after I was born. Every adopted child who is aware of the fact has certain fantasies about how things might have been, or what things could be like if one rediscovers one's natural parents. My adoptive parents told me the facts they knew as early as possible, so I had no crisis of revelation as some people experience; being adopted was just a fact of life from as far back as I can remember. This may be part of the reason why I delayed my search for my biological parents until I was in my middle 30's.

Despite my late start, I've been fortunate enough to locate both of my biological parents and find them willing to talk to me. Before I contacted them, I recognized that the reality I was likely to find would almost certainly bear no resemblance to any fantasies I may have had. I strove to discard any idealized portraits beforehand and think of them as two people who once faced a grim situation and dealt with it as best they could. In the case of Biomom, I've managed to form a good friendship; as for Biodad, it's a good thing I had no expectations. I'll say no more about that.

On Thanksgiving weekend, I went to Buffalo NY with my girlfriend Laura to visit my biological mother and her husband (who is not related to me). Biomom and Laura got along well, sharing an interest in the supernatural (which I entirely lack). Irritated by what I perceived as biomom's airy attitude towards skepticism in one discussion, I started pressing her on one point, hard enough to anger her husband. This is the 'top layer' of the illustration.

In the center circle (A) are two figures which I tagged as Biomom and Laura, chatting about paranormal things (represented by the '?=?' symbols. Her husband's intercession is represented (cartoonily and inadequately) at (B). My stance at (E) represents my isolation from the conversation and ensuing events. Surrounding me are some candles (meant consciously to refer to a book by Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, concerning the value of science and the terrible costs of irrationality. Above my head at (F) is a stolid 1=1 which represents my logical stance and just below it to the right is a tiny, ill sketched blob meant to represent a fractal, symbolizing the positive beauty science and straight thinking has to offer. So this is one level of the drawing.

At another level, it represents my sense of abandonment by my biological parents, pictured in their youth at (D). The curves and symbols at (C) seem to represent conception, and the apple/womblike shape at (A) seems to me like an angry face, though I've had it pointed out to me that it may be a contrast between the idealization implied by the portraits at (D) and the imperfect reality that I encountered when I met my biological parents and learned what had really happened. In this interpretation, the realistic portrait of me at (E) is my recognition of and acceptance of this fact, with the candles (and the 1=1 as a happy face) symbolizing peace and serenity.

By this time, I've learned enough about myself to refrain from promising any specific thing for the next entry... I'll just go ahead and get something done, and then yap about it.


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