The best present my mother ever gave me was a baby sister. I adore mine, always have. Things about my sister: She loves books; we have very similar taste in fiction. In most cases, I think she’s my ideal reader. I love her taste in music and many of my favorites came from her recommendations—she recently introduced me to Bat for Lashes. Some of my favorite Cat Power songs are her favorite Cat Power songs. She has incredible style. She wears giant movie-star sunglasses and looks stunning. Behind those glasses, she has beautiful brown eyes, my favorite kind. She’s extremely independent. She works hard. If I ever go to a foreign city I want my sister there to keep me from getting lost—you should have seen her acclimate to Paris when we went there just the two of us. French people would see her on the street and ask her for directions. When she was born, I was nine. I saw her birth—literally: it was a home birth and I was right there in the room—so I can honestly say I’ve loved her from the moment she entered this world. I did my fifth-grade science project on her: on how a baby reacts to different kinds of music, with photos! (she preferred Madonna). She’s supported my writing for years, and her encouragement means more than she realizes. She helped E get into his top-choice film school: She acted in the short film that got him in, a whirlwind weekend with him, her, me, and a rented Bolex in which she stayed up all night and dug around in dirt in the boiler room beneath our apartment building wearing only a nightgown all to make one little movie. She’ll eat anything—she has fearless tastes. She’ll make you laugh and be unable to stop laughing; she’ll tell you ghost stories on a dark road in the backseat of a car that’ll send chills up your spine. Her poems are sad and strong and shocking. She taught me how to put makeup on properly when I was in my twenties and she was in junior high. She’s gorgeous, she’s fun, she’s smart, and more than that, she’s wise. I can’t imagine my life without her. I wish we lived in the same city.

Today’s her birthday. Happy Birthday, L.R.!

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