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I am so excited that Replacement Child – a memoir, has won a bronze IPPY (Independent Publishers Book Award) in the category of Autobiography/Memoir/Family Legacy.
My congratulations to all the award winning authors!
You can see the full list here.
Recently, I had a discussion with my friend Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, about how writing our memoirs had given us both new perspectives on our relationships with our mothers. Ours were very different journeys, but what resonated in our discussion was how the writing brought clarity, understanding and forgiveness. We thought we would try to capture that conversation here in honor of Mother’s Day.
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Some of us get to know our mothers better after they have passed from this life, through writing about them. It can be one of the benefits of writing a memoir, that we gain a unique insight from mining our life experience through a writerly lens.
Writing, by necessity, makes us take notice of the details surrounding an event or a meaningful moment in our lives. Sometimes the writing helps us see the significance in a conversation, or the scar left by a parent’s action or inaction. This was certainly the case as I wrote the chapters for my memoir Replacement Child.… Read more
The following is the text of my essay that recently appeared in The Southampton Review. You can order this fantastic literary journal at thesouthamptonreview.com. It looks much prettier in the publication!
My Sister’s Voice
In the end I only wanted to hear my sister’s voice one more time.
They’d found a cancerous tumor lodged in her airway. I was grateful I had spoken to her on the phone just before they intubated her; the tube down her throat bringing life saving air to her lungs but not allowing her to speak. Linda was in Florida and I in Connecticut, but the fear in her voice cut across the miles.… Read more
I haven’t written for quite awhile due to illness, which is such a waste of time! Right now I am still not sure my writing here will be coherent since I am still on pain meds, but it’s better than imagining the next worst thing that could happen–which I am prone to do. Maybe it’s my writerly self. Give your character an obstacle, they say, then try to imagine the very worst thing that could happen to them after that–then even worse. In the last 7 months my imagination couldn’t have held a candle to reality–but now things are better every day.… Read more
I just got a call from Donna’s second grade teacher—my sister’s last teacher before she died when the plane crashed into my family’s home. The teacher, also named Florence like my mom, was only 22 years old when the accident happened. Young and impressionable, she never forgot my sister, who she said was the “sweetest girl.” She remembered my mother fondly, too, as “one wonderful lady.”
After the accident, when my mother was still in the hospital along with my surviving sister Linda, this teacher went to visit. My mother had requested that she come, wanting to know more about what Donna was like in the classroom.… Read more
My thoughts for this blog emerged in verse–for better or worse.
Will I ever not hear my mother’s voice
screaming for her baby girl
whenever I hear of a plane crash?
Now San Francisco etched in my mind
two young girls lost
just looking for an American summer.
Parents screaming for their baby girl.
“Why” is on our lips,
but what does that matter really?
A tough decent,
an unskilled landing.
lives tossed like dice.
“So many survived”
media voices eager to
put a good face on the day.
Safest way to travel.
But many shaken to their core
“critical” mumbled beside “survivors.”… Read more
Kennett Love had an illustrious career as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Among other milestones, he covered pivotal events in the Middle East in the 50’s during the beginnings of the cold war. He was in Tehran in 1953 when the CIA successfully overthrew Iran’s prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, replacing him with Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi who was a loyalist to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and who also had close ties to the US. His reporting may have played a part in the coup.
But when I read of Kennett Love’s death this past weekend, at 88, I thought of his story about the American Airlines commuter plane that crashed into my family’s home, killing my sister.… Read more