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Almost 16 percent of all children live in blended families according to 2009 U. Does it make a difference if they live with you or if they live elsewhere-in another house, another city, state, or country? It raises a question I am asked in some form quite often: Are you an only child if you have half-siblings or step-siblings who are considerably older or younger than you are?I know because, like many MFA students, I was one of them: most publications are edited by students, and often, the people reading through those slush piles are a mix of graduates and undergraduates, people with a wide range of talent and experience reading and writing literature.And, as students of creative writing, people who have an engrained eye to look for flaws.Earlier, in the kitchen she'd been cutting my brother Robbie's hair.
As, of course, are those of the people who read slush at literary magazines.
And yet, of course, it does: the youngest of my three brothers is ten years older than I, the others my senior by thirteen and sixteen years. Still, I sometimes cringe when I hear one of my nieces call her by her name instead of "Grandma." Still, I feel pangs of envy when my brothers reminisce about childhood friends from the neighborhood who I never got to know. I have a 43 year old half brother and the rest follow not far apart. Just a nice card every few years with ten bucks in it.
I had a taste of sibling rivalry with the youngest, who lived at home until I left for college: he and I bickered over the remote control and the couch and the J. But for the most part, I had a separate, and different, childhood from my brothers: I went to the private school where my mother worked, instead of the local public schools as they did; as a kid I took trips with my parents to visit family and sightsee while my brothers stayed home. Part of me still wishes away the qualifiers-"half," "step"-that separate us. I am moving away and have decided to move closer to one I have talked to every so often, I would love to have atleast one close relationship with one of my siblings.
He hesitated, more concerned with oncoming traffic than my attempted literary discussion. (Though, of course, that doesn't mean I couldn't deliver a lengthy list of complaints we've all heard a hundred times before: the lack of focus on book-length work, the inter-faculty drama, the minimal discussion of publishing industry realities.
I want to tell you, before I go on, that my overall MFA experience was positive: I feel firmly that these three past years have been, for the most part, well spent.