Since that interview, I've been thinking and feeling more about my mother. She died two years ago at age 90 while brushing her teeth one innocuous morning in Sarasota, Florida. The odd thing about my missing her is that I think I don't miss her. It's just that every once in a while I want to share something with her, and I can't. And when I can't I feel an empty space where her personality barely touches the edges and her focus is elsewhere. As I read those last two sentences, I wonder how much that was true when she was alive, and especially when I was a child developing my own bulimia.
My news My news is that I am at last writing a book. My mother wrote and encouraged me to write. My mother never sent anything to a publisher. Neither did I. People read what I write on the internet, and articles have been picked up by publishers and put on paper. But I was not the prime mover. My bigger news is that I am writing a book because the acquiring editor of a publisher asked me if I had ever thought about writing one. Of course I had. She sent me samples of book proposals, copies of books they had published and even a tentative outline based on writings on my website. So for the month of January I went into total immersion, wrote hundreds of pages, slashed them down to 33, got an editor to clean it up and sent it off. Now I learn that it passed the editorial board and is headed for judgment at the sales and marketing division.
I want to tell my mother And my response? I want to tell my mother. Even though my news would bring up all the old issues between us I want the conversation. Yes, she would be huffy that it was happening to me and not her. And yes, she would be critical because it is not a literary book but a book about eating disorder recovery. And yes, she would want to know if I said anything about her in it (although she wouldn't directly ask.) But under all that, she would be glad. Under all that she would meet me on the path we share: a love of words, of communicating, of making words sing and evoke emotion and paint pictures. Her eyes would smile. Her words would be sharp, but she would reach out her hand as if her hand could soothe away the harshness of her words and let me feel the warmth of her eyes. My proposal is not yet a done deal. Tension is in the waiting. My mother would take both sides and assure me in different ways at different times or simultaneously in her brilliant way that I would both fail and succeed. I smile as I write this. I even miss this about her. I miss her prickly presence and her exquisite taste.
Your mother What's your relationship like with your mother? Please write and tell me about you and your mom.