Category Archive: Mother

Aug 05

I Want My Mother

WHAT’S PLAYING: Alicia Keys “Doesn’t Mean Anything”

 

A couple of months ago, my mom died. She passed away the day before Mother’s Day and two days after my birthday. I’m not sure what I feel at this point. Shock? Yes. Grief? Sure. Along with a heaping measure of guilt for not being a better daughter.

 

And then there’s this weird mix of exasperated amusement. My mom was what most people would call “a character.” She was blind, deaf, old fashioned, and at times, a huge pain in the ass. She was the kind of person who would pick the day before Mother’s Day to shuffle off this mortal coil, if only to get back at me for forgetting her birthday for the last twenty years.

Some days, she drove me crazy. I’m talking claw-your-eyes-out-hair-on-fire-bat shit-crazy.

Other days, she was kind, loving, and fiercely protective. She handled life’s disappointments with humor, grace, and a kind of get-‘er-done-and-fuck-the-rest attitude that I’ve tried so hard to emulate in my own life. Most importantly, she was mine. My mother. And I would give everything I have in this life and the next, to have her back for just one more day.

 

 

Grief hits me at unexpected times, like when I’m driving or in the shower. One minute, I’m fine. The next, the pain is so great that it’s all I can do to keep breathing.

I don’t have the best track record when it comes to dealing with grief. When my twin brother died, I handled it by quitting my job, running away from home, shaving my head, and joining a cult. I wound up inArizonaa month later, married to a man I barely knew. My dad had it annulled while I went away for a few weeks to “rest” in a glorified booby hatch.

(Don’t worry. As of today’s post, I am still unmarried and not bald, so I guess that’s a good sign.)  

I know the last thing my mom would want is for me to spend the rest of my life mourning her. If she were here, she’d smack me upside the head and tell me to get on with it. So, that’s what I’m doing.

I love you, Mom.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2013/08/i-want-my-mother/

Aug 20

Writing Lessons from Mom – Conflict

WHAT’S PLAYING: Pink! “Fucking Perfect

 

I have a terrible temper. My dad says I’m just like my mother—a 6-foot stick of dynamite with a 2-inch fuse.

 

 

Despite our shared anger management issues, you’d be hard pressed to lure my mother into an argument. To understand why, you have to go back a couple of hundred years…to the days of the traditional Choctaw duel.

This wasn’t your typical pistols-at-dawn affair. Choctaw duels were a bit more decisive.

The disputants would face one another across the village square, and then their assistants—usually a brother or close friend appointed for the occasion—would split their heads open with an ax. The dispute was resolved, and the community didn’t have to put up with incessant bickering.

My people are nothing if not practical.

Another incident of Choctaw dispute resolution involves the legendary chief, Pushmataha. Having been insulted by General Henry Knox, Chief Pushmataha bought a barrel of gunpowder and fitted it with a fuse. He sat on the barrel, lit a cigar, and invited the general to sit beside him. Knox declined and never insulted Pushmataha again. Nor did any other American general.

 

 

Despite this culturally inspired aversion to conflict, I often find myself embroiled in pointless arguments.

You see, I like to be right. Moreover, I like to prove that I’m right. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trolling the internet or leafing through obscure reference books just to win an argument that any reasonable person would have already forgotten.

While this almost psychopathic need to prove myself has played holy hell with my personal life, it’s served me well in my writing.

As any writer will tell you, you can’t have a story without conflict, whether it’s inner, outer, preferably both. You have to have conflict in order to tell a decent story. It’s that simple.

What it isn’t, however, is easy. I’ve learned the hard way that handling conflict well in real life does not translate to being able to do the same in writing. Like my ancestors, I’d much rather write (or be involved) in a physical altercation, than explore my characters’ (or my own) feelings.

 

 

Still, dealing with emotions and the different faces of humanity is part of what it means to be a writer. So, while my relatives are solving disputes with the threat of skull bashing and explosions, I’ll save my more violent tendencies for the page.

But, if you see me stalking towards you with an axe in one hand and a reference book in the other….

Run.

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/08/writing-lessons-from-mom-conflict/

Feb 23

I Want My Mommy

Too sick to write. Too sick to read. Too sick to blog. Temperature = 103.

I’m a responsible, well-educated adult with a good job and respectable friends.

And all I want is a hot cup of tea, my favorite blanket…and my mommy.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/02/i-want-my-mommy/

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