I call her Sam, because her full name is Susan Ann Mahoney. Or at least it was, once upon a time. If I were to make an acronym of her name now it would be SAR, which I don’t think has the same ring to it and is uncomfortably close to the name of a respiratory disease, which she is most definitely not.
I mention her because Benoit Chartier, in a recent interview, asked me who my favourite writers were. I listed a few, explaining why, and then said:
I posted a link to the entire interview on Facebook and a few other places, cuz that’s what you’re supposed to do to get the word out, and Sam was the very first to like and comment on the post. In fact, she “loved” it and commented, “Great interview, Joe!” And I thought, aw, that’s sweet, what a great sister.
Last night I woke up in a cold sweat and thought, “I didn’t mention Sam.”
Asshole! Jerk! Idiot!
Now, for all I know Sam didn’t give the glaring omission a second’s thought. But it really bothered me the thought that I might have hurt her in this way. So I lay there scheming how to fix it. I considered emailing Benoit and asking him to add a line about Sam so that if it ever came up I could say, “What are you talking about? Of course I mentioned you! It’s in there, have a look,” and she would look, and her name would be there, and she would feel better about that, but worse about her powers of observation, and possibly question her sanity. Plus it would be a lie.
And then I thought, well, I should just ignore it. She knows how much I value her, how much I admire her accomplishments and her courage. She has always been much braver than me, right back to the time we were both trapped on a cliff-face as kids, thirty feet up in the air, dangerous boulders below upon which to plummet, unable to go either up or down, until finally she said, “screw it!” and heroically finished the climb like a veteran mountainer, and then cajoled me up, grabbing my hands when I got close enough, and pulling me up the rest of the way.* Or the time those bullies stole my mittens and she beat them up and got them back for me.**
Except that maybe she doesn’t know. We can’t assume such things. No, we must make such things explicit. Hence this post.
The bravery I admire now is Sam’s complete devotion to her artistic pursuits, chiefly fiction and filmmaking. She is highly accomplished in both. Whereas I’ve published one novel, one collection of short stories, edited a collection of short stories by our father, and made one short film, Sam has published eighteen novels (I think, I’ve lost count, it could be eighteen hundred by now), made an entire feature film (a staggering achievement, really), and multiple short films, with a potential television series (!) on the horizon. While I remain securely within the safety net of corporate employment, eking out minor artistic accomplishments on the side (an amateur, really), she has devoted her entire being to her craft, on a professional level.
All of which is by way of saying that Sam (aka my sister, my childhood best friend, acclaimed author and filmmaker Susan Rodgers) is easily my favourite all round creative person.***
*This anecdote contains some mild hyperbole
**This anecdote might be embellished slightly
***No, I have not forgotten about you two, Kathy and Shawna! My two other favourite sisters! 🙂
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