Second Child Syndrome

My older brother, as did many first-borns, came as a surprise to my parents. He was a pleasant surprise, of course, but unplanned. Almost six years later, he sat my mom and dad down and requested a little brother to play with, thereby conceiving of me before they did. Not much more than nine months later, my reliable parents delivered upon that request. My younger brother was also a happy accident, an unscheduled change in plans, coincidentally also another six and a half years later.

 Dylan, Oliver, and Conrad maybe 10 years ago.

Dylan, Oliver, and Conrad maybe 10 years ago.

I have always enjoyed teasing Dylan and Oliver that I was the only one of us who existed on purpose, so to speak, and reminding the former that any annoyance I ever may have caused him was, in fact, directly his own fault. Once or twice, when I was being extra obnoxious, I may have used the term “mistake” to describe their circumstances, but they’ve always been good enough to patiently tolerate my sense of morbid humor about it.

It occurred to me last night, while I was actively trying to conceive of a topic to blog about, that this first film I’ve written was not something actively conceived. It was another happy accident, birthed from an inspiration I didn’t go seeking. The music of The Dirty Urchins forced the character Virgil and his crazy story into my mind, and I obediently recorded it.

Perhaps somewhere down the line, if all goes well (hopefully much sooner than six years from now), this baby of mine will have become a fully realized entity, forging its way out in the world, and it will become obvious to me that that Virgil needs company. Then I’ll go about the task of creating a sibling for him, and get to relive the pain and joy of childbirth all over again. I even have an idea for a sister named Zelda already, but she’s just a twinkle at this point. Of course I know she’ll be very special to me as well, but deep down I’m also aware that it will be a different sort of experience. There will be a hint of writing for the necessity of continuing a career – of building a larger cache of work – rather than being swept up by an unexpected passion, being forced to elope with and embrace the entirely new lifestyle of a writer, and learning on the fly how to network and promote and produce and all the million little essential tasks one never thinks of before experiencing it the first time. Maybe I’ll worry, “Am I going too easy on little Zelda? Am I already getting soft and lazy as a parent? It wasn’t like this with Virgil.”

Anyway, as I’m sensing that this particular metaphor had already lived a full life and died over a paragraph ago, and also because I’m certainly aware that it’s pretty damn presumptuous to go on talking about my projects as if they’ve already found success, I’ll wrap this up posthaste (before the metaphor rises again as a zombie), with only the reflection that perhaps when I would flippantly remind my brothers that I was the only intentional child, it was because I was slightly jealous of not being an inadvertent one.

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