Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A fascinating memoir

I just finished reading The Liar's Club, a memoir by Mary Karr. It was on the New York Times Bestseller List for more than a year. If you've ever thought that you were reared by a bunch of crazies, you must read this witty, raw and honest book about growing up in East Texas with an older sister and alcoholic parents. Karr was her father's shadow, tagging along on hunting, fishing and gambling adventures with the good old boys, thus acquiring a vocabulary no child should be exposed to, much less be fluent in. She was her mother's keeper, so to speak, from the time that she was a little girl. This book is a frank, raw, emotional ride, but one I could not put down.

Reading this book confirmed what I already know, that the stories that are most difficult to write are sometimes the most riveting to read. We all have common experiences. Even those who have had idyllic childhoods can't help but peek into Mary Karr's past and seek a voyeuristic view of the unfathonable. Life isn't all pretty, but survive we do, as Karr proves.

My essay, Reflections of Me, will be published in Sasee Magazine in May. In this piece, I view my life through a variety of mirror images as I grow through the decades.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and suddenly seen your mom's eyes? Have you ever wondered who that unrecgonizable gal was in your mirror? We all have our own stories. Tell me what you have seen in your mirror at some point in your life, early on to present day.

This morning I see a 5'4" fuzzy, pink bunny looking back at me...I am not 'touched in the head'. I am wearing my bunny costume to school for the Easter party,as this is the last day before Spring Break. Woo-hoo, I need a week off! And that isn't a lie.

16 comments:

K9friend said...

Okay, now you have to post a picture of you as the Easter bunny.

Bookie said...

Yes, post a bunny picture. It sounds like fun for you today. We had to put father in law in nursing home yesterday and it was horrible day. Thanks for sharing about the bunny suit as the thoughts of a preschool with laughter added to sunshine outside is helping to start this day!

Lynn said...

I think it's great that you'd dress up in a bunny suit for the kids - that is so sweet. I too would like to see a picture of you! I looked in the mirror this morning and thought my walking and eating no sugar isn't doing much good :-) but I'll keep at it a while longer.

Susan said...

Hi Linda...Hope you have FUN in school today. Those kids are so lucky to have such a "hoppity" teacher! Good for you. Kids need to laugh and have fun in school.

As for the mirror images, I definitely see my Mom's expressions at times. Someone recently told me to look in the mirror and say how "beautiful" I am. Then wink! Ha! Had a hard time with that one.

Congratulations on your essay getting ready for publication. What is Sasee Magazine. Is it a regional publication? Sincerely, Susan

Beth M. Wood said...

Linda,
First of all, your post is sooo well written. Congrats on the Sassee article, can't wait to read it ; )
And yes - post the picture already!!

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, I know how difficult it is to put a loved one in a nursing home. Go as often as you can. I'm glad I made you smile thinking of this big pink rabbit!

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan,
Sasee is a woman's publication (on newsprint actually) in magazine format. It is very colorful and each story has accompanying pictures. It is out of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Checke them out on line. One of my stories is posted.

Linda O'Connell said...

Thanks Beth, and all the rest. Bunny photos forthcoming.

Tammy said...

Beautiful post, and I...fourth?...fifth?...the bunny picture!

If I look in the mirror and tilt my head just so, my left eye (but not the right; I'm lopsided) is my dad looking back at me. Weirdly enough, it comforts me.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Oh yeah, absolutely. The bunny must be seen! Congrats on the Sasee pub!

The mirror finds me looking more like my mom than I ever expected. She was tiny and blond with beautiful blue/green eyes. I'm taller than she with my dad's dark hair and eyes. Still, I see my mom in the shape of my jaw, the tilt of my eyes, the shape of my mouth. Subtle hints.

BECKY said...

I see my mom. I've inherited her "sagginess" in all the wrong places!
And if it were me...I would've driven to school in my "normal" clothes, and THEN changed into my Bunny Suit! :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Becky,
Your comment about sagginess made me laugh. And as for wearing costumes while driving,I get one of two reactions: people smile and it makes their day to see a free-spirited woman, or people avoid looking at the crazy driver. My kids tell everyone how I used to embarrass them in my clown outfit or Halloween costumes.

Linda O'Connell said...

Lisa,
I see both of my parents' attributes when I look in my mirror too: my dad's wrinkles and my mom's deepset eyes which are my first line of communication. Bill says all one has to do is look at my eyes to know what's on my mind. I wonder if that is like looking on top of a bald guy's head to see his thoughts?

Cathy C. Hall said...

1. I read Liar's Club years ago and you're right about the raw part. And yet, I remember some laugh-out-loud moments, too.
2. Congrats on Sasee! I like that pub, too-hope you'll post the link.
3. I have a big swing mirror in my room, next to the window. And if I stand close, when the sun is shining, I find that I do, in fact, have a moustache. So I try not to stand too close-especially when the sun is shining.

Linda O'Connell said...

Cathy, you crack me up!!

Julia said...

"The Liar's Club" is one of my favorite books. I ate it up when it came out. After that, I bought Karr's follow-up, "Cherry," and was disappointed. It was some of the same moments from TLC, regurgitated, and not as well. Karr writes poetry too, but I believe TLC is her great work.

For my older creative writing students, I use "The Liar's Club" as an example, however, of a model memoir. It is the perfect length, depth, and breadth.