a little something about my mom

August 31, 2011 | 5 Comments

I never realized what a good mom I had until I became a mom myself. This is always the way, isn’t it? A really great mom makes mothering look so effortless that her kids don’t even realize how hard she’s trying.

My mother gave me a priceless gift by nurturing my gifts. At the age of three, I was already dictating stories. According to my mother, I’d tell her, "Now, write this down…" and would proceed to relate a rambling tale, which she transcribed faithfully, word for word, and saved for some unknown someday, never dreaming it was the start of a lifelong career. In this way, I learned the power of the written word. Thanks to my mom, I can pinpoint the first time I took pen in hand–January 14, 1962. I was three years old, and she’d probably given me a church collection envelope to keep me quiet during Mass:

I soon progressed to illustrated stories with a paranormal bent. My mother shared her observations with her own mom, who lived in another state:

Sometimes my mom would fill in the story, labeling the hieroglyphics:

By the age of eight, I was into self-publishing. My mentor was Mrs. Green at School Eleven. And again, it was my mom who kept this early effort. She seemed to know I was passionate about storytelling:

And that’s the simplicity and the genius of mothering–to recognize your child’s gifts and passions, and to nurture them without judgment. My mom made it look easy, and I know now it couldn’t have been.

My own daughter, Elizabeth, had gifts and passions of her own, and I hope I sent her out into the world filled with confidence and excitement. The three of us–my mom, my daughter, myself–are still incredibly close, and there is a sense of history circling through the generations.

The Goodbye Quilt is my tribute to any parent who has ever struggled with letting go of a beloved child. As Linda, the book’s narrator, points out, it’s not a transition we mark with a celebration of any kind. No one brings you a tuna casserole or sends you a card of commiseration. Greeting car companies never created a "Have a Happy Post-Motherhood" card. It’s a silent passage, the exodus of the offspring from the nest, and that never seemed right to me. It’s a huge change for the entire family, and as such, deserves to be marked in some way. In the book, Linda has the idea of creating a memory quilt made up of bits and pieces of Molly’s childhood–a piece from a favorite dress, an award ribbon, a bit of a costume. What she discovers in the course of creating this piece is something all mothers learn–that her work is never really finished.

Visit me on the web [youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=-iFrBbydBAo].

The Widow. ……

August 28, 2011 | 1 Comment

an appropriate conclusion to this leg of my magical mystery tour….we shared a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. You do know "veuve" means widow. Fascinating woman, you should google her.

on the mend

August 25, 2011 | 2 Comments

well, aside from putting my elbow in the dinner plate, I am doing much better. thanks to all for the notes and good wishes.

the wizard of Oz

August 13, 2011 | 2 Comments

…out my window this morning. Melbourne, you are SUCH a fun city!

I (heart) my publisher

August 12, 2011 | 1 Comment

They always make things such fun! Here are the crew from Harlequin Australia/NZ (and Lucy from the UK on the right) at the Roaring 20s party they sponsored for the conference here in marvelous Melbourne. God I love having fun with people who make books. 🙂

off to see the wizard

August 09, 2011 | 2 Comments

Of OZ. Love Australia. Here are my liast-minute things. No idea why I’m bringing a bubble-blowing wand I got at a wedding, but it might come in handy if I need to summon Glinda. The cupcake is actually a Betsey Johnson necklace. Oh, and that mess in the top right corner? That’s right, it’s my manuscript. CAN I BE DONE?