Saturday, July 18, 2015

M%ms in Memoir

I'm going with the elephant mom. It's not easy to look at photos of moms when you're the child of a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder. Just typing the word "mother" can make my stomach flip.  Anyway, I like elephants.

I'm reading two memoirs for this submission term: Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick and Warm Springs by Susan Richards Shreve. In each, the author's mother plays a prominent role.
Gornick describes a woman whose psyche revolves around the early death of her husband. Her mother defines herself by her grief. She's self-absorbed, difficult to reach, and inattentive. I get this. It sounds familiar.

Shreve's mother seems ideal--loving, intelligent, involved. She's emotionally available and kind. It always surprises me when I read about a mother like this. What a gift! What a way to begin your life, with such a wonderful person to guide you. It makes me think about what I've lost, what could have been, which makes me reflective and a little sad. That's okay. That's how it is.

I'm writing a craft annotation on each of these books. I can't write about the mothers, per say--I have to write about the author's craft--but I can't help but be struck by the difference. Since I'm writing about my own mother in my memoir, I'm always looking to see how others have accomplished this difficult task with honesty and grace.

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