Writing & Motherhood

A Novel Memoir

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay is a stunning novel that reads like an amazing memoir, illustrating how we carry our mothers with us. Shalini, the narrator can’t seem to shake, or outdrink, or out think her dead mother. The mother, whose death is a mystery until near the end, shapes the narrative in many evocative ways as it carries the reader through the steep mountain sides of the Kashmiri region of India on an unforgettable, and possibly unredeemable, journey. I find myself taking notes, marking passages, returning and rereading to see how such a young author pulled off this feat in her first book. This is the type of book writers study. It is the kind of novel I will read again, as much for the story as the writing. Actually the story feels deeply sad and very real, as if I’m experiencing it as it unfolds; it is…

Of Winning with Daughters

Sometimes the most powerful words are your own, recited back to you. Lily is a poet. You might remember she won the Central Oregon Writers Guild poetry award last year. She won it again this year and I got to stand up with her and get my own award for non-fiction. I wrapped a story, basically a letter to her, around one of her poems Lily, our 18 year old daughter, won the Central Oregon Writer’s Guild Poetry Award again this year (two in a row). And I won 2nd in the non-fiction category. And for the first time in a long time I feel like I might be winning this motherhood game. But I also might be cheating- I used one of Lily’s poems, collaging parts of it into a story for her, and without her poem the story wouldn’t be much. Here’s the story: Such Unkind Things …

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