Mothers, daughters, and stories


This past Saturday I stood in front of a very small group to read an essay that is probably the most personal thing I’ve written outside of the pages of my journal in years. That group will decide whether I will be offered an opportunity to read my essay in front of a much larger audience as part of the 2014 Listen to Your Mother show. I won’t hear until the end of the week whether my audition was successful. In all honesty, I’m not sure which outcome I’m rooting for.

Most of the writing and speaking I do these days is focused on books. I like it that way. It is much more comfortable to talk about books than it is to talk about myself. The essay I entered for consideration in LTYM is not at all comfortable. There are no books. It’s just me. I felt a little naked up there without a stack of books to take the eyes and attention away from me. Maybe more than a little.

My essay is about the mother-daughter relationship. If I were to turn it into a booktalk, I would have to start with the dedication page of Dreamer, Wisher, Liar by Charise Mericle Harper:

“For my mother and my daughter–I wish we could be twelve together. Just for a day.”

I should note that in this advance copy of the book nothing is final. Perhaps the dedication will change before the book is published, but I hope it doesn’t. It’s what made me pick up the book. I can’t help but wonder what that wish would turn into for me.

When I read What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren I felt myself getting teary eyed more than once at the relationship between Esther and her mother. It’s a small book and perhaps a bit old fashioned, but it isn’t far off from my story. Maybe you’ll see some of yours in it too.

If you are an 8 to 12 year old girl or just remember what it’s like to be one, you might like Dreamer, Wisher, Liar or What the Moon Said.

Meanwhile, make a note of the date: May 8th. Whether or not I am part of the show, Listen to Your Mother will be a good one.