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Black Sheep

My sister hasn’t read much of my writing, but she does seem to like to ask me how much is about her. She laughs and calls herself my biggest inspiration. I’ve told her how I’ve written about her before, sure, but she likes to annoy me about it every once in a while anyway. She’s a person who reminds you again and again that she’s there and won’t be leaving very soon.

Last night, when we were going for a walk, my mom turned to us and remarked how we were the artists of the family. Where did we come from? I asked. She doesn’t know, she said. But there you have it. Paula has always been about the visuals and the aesthetics, and I’ve always been about the fantasies and the theories. Paula likes fashion and design, shininess and volume and bright colors, drawing and painting and photography and the process of capturing nature. I’m into books and fictional characters, subtlety and softness and sepia understatedness, ideas and alternate realities and mixing up fabrications in hopes of maybe going beyond just the plain truth. We are quite different in what we make and how we do it, and we are quite different in spirit.

But there’s still a kindredness. Sometimes, we make things together anyway and collaborate. Sometimes I do write things about people like her. Right now, I’m working on a poem and a short story about a sister who likes shiny things too, and her name is Raven. Glitter boots and feather boas and cupcakes with silver sprinkles.

Sometimes she draws things from books that I’ve read, like this:

And books that she’s read:

Sometimes we make mixtapes too, and we hope you’ll listen:

Collect the Beans from josephdante on 8tracks.

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