Sunday, November 28, 2010


My dearly departed mother, was five foot two until osteporosis robbed her of a couple inches in her later years. The presence of that tiny little woman looms over me everyday. Sometimes a memory jabs a chuckle out of me, brings a tear to my eye or makes me want to squeeze my eyes shut and ask myself or her, Why?

Mom had a loving heart, a wise cracking mouth, some quirks, problems, issues, secrets (who doesn't?) and a heart of gold. She loved her children, adored her grandchildren and obsessed over her first great-grandchild. She lived down the street from me for a few years. I would call to borrow something.
"Mom, do you have any eggs?"
"No, but I have mayonnaise. Come on down."

Oh, I used to get so upset with her. I knew she didn't want me to use mayonnaise as a substitute. I thought she acted like an attention-seeking child. The two things weren't related. When I would tell her that, we would engage in lengthy conversation.

That was when I was a young mom. Now that I am a grandmother who also feels lonely at times and wishes for a visit from children or grandchildren, I too find ways to entice them. I just don't use mayonnaise.

Readers, please drop by, CLAUDIA MUNDELL's blog and tell her, "Linda is so happy with the book she won from your drawing."

Thinking About Memoir, by Abigail Thomas is a 110 page how-to, fast read, packed with ideas and starting points for journaling life stories. Abigail Thomas is a former editor and literary agent, the author of, A Three Dog Life and several other books. As I read this book I felt like I was listening to a new friend share glimpses of her own life. Thomas teaches fiction writing in the graduate program of The New School in New York. I wish I could take her class. This book is one of the most helpful that I have read. She writes, "My life didn't feel like a novel, it felt like a million moments. My truth doesn't travel in a straight line, it zigzags, detours, doubles back."

She spoke a truth that has hampered me for quite sometime, "Poor little me is not a good motive to write memoir." I have written a skeletal memoir from that perspective. I am now ready to tuck it away and forget the chronological timeline and all of the woe is me stuff, and simply travel the winding road, thanks to Claudia and Abigail.

Thinking About Memoir is the first volume in the "Arts of Living " series from AARP. It should be on your reading list.

Okay, just had to share this. As I clicked off my blog, this advertisement popped up: Remember Your Loved Ones. All I can say to that is, Hi, Mom.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Memoir is what I mostly write, and the genre I love to read. If you want a wise-cracking memoir to read, Mary Karr's "Lit" is a great one. There is no "woe is me" in it. Instead, she looks at her obstacles with humor.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Sioux,
I read The Liar's Club by Mary Karr; it was awesome. If ever you want to share/swap some of your work, I'd be glad to read.

Susan said...

Hi Linda....Sounds like your Mom was quite a gal. She had a good sense of humor. Thanks for sharing your memories. Susan

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--I liked "Lit" even more. I've read all three of her memoirs, and Lit is from the perspective of an adult mother with an adult child.

I would love to swap. I'm in the middle of a couple of short memoir pieces. You'll have to wait until they're finished, since you are in a completely different "category" than me (oodles of places you've been published, compared to just a couple for me)and you probably have a dozen or so things you could share at any given time...

Bookie said...

I am glad it was a good one, Linda. I am also glad it arrived in time for you to kick back with it while on a work holiday! Sounds like one I should get for myself. Hope your Thanksgiving turned out well today.

Lynn said...

I can't remember if I have that book or not but I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

Chatty Crone said...

What a great mother and example you had. sandie