Tag 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/

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/

Sep 14

Writing Lessons from Mom (Part 2) — Cause and Effect

WHAT’S PLAYING:  Florence + The Machine “Dog Days are Over”

My mother’s method of discipline was based on the “if/then” paradigm. For example: “If you don’t clean your room, then you don’t get to keep it.” or “If you give me any sass, then you won’t be able to sit down for a week.” (You get the picture.)

When I was twelve, I decided that I didn’t want to do the dishes anymore. To my surprise, after making sure that I understood the consequences of that decision, my mother agreed. No arguments, no threats, just a simple nod. The next morning, while my mother and siblings dug into a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, I made do with a plastic bowl full of corn flakes. That night, while my family dined on fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread, I choked down a cold bologna sandwich served on a paper plate. But the joke was on her. I had finally gotten a taste of freedom and I wasn’t about to give up my newly found independence so easily. (I lasted another two days.)

Despite my ill-fated attempts at rebellion, I found a strange sort of comfort in my mother’s rules. Everything was spelled out. There were no surprises. I knew the consequences of each action and made my decisions accordingly. To her credit, my mother never wavered. I couldn’t beg, barter or argue my way out of trouble. If I wanted to stay out past curfew, then I would be grounded for the next two weeks. If I didn’t clean my room when asked, then I would lose the privilege of having my space until I did.

I get the same comfortable feeling when I pick up a book and find that I am in the hands of a master storyteller who knows how to manage his or her plot. There is nothing more frustrating than getting deeply involved in a story only to have it fall apart near the end, or worse, wander off into completely new territory, leaving me lost, confused, and extremely irritated.

I guess I can understand why an author would deviate from his or her established plot. It used to happen to me all the time. I’d be putting the final touches on a story, when I’d suddenly get a brainstorm – a fantastic idea that would catapult my story into greatness. (Or so I thought.) I’d immediately plop down into my chair and start churning out new pages, completely forgetting about all that had gone on before. And what I’d end up with more often than not was a sloppy, episodic mess.

And then my teacher sent me a not so polite e-mail suggesting that maybe I investigate the causal chain in my stories. After looking up the term in the dictionary, I finally understood. If I wanted to be a decent writer, then I was going to have to take a page from my mother’s playbook and apply the “if/then” philosophy. That was how I discovered the magic of plot graphs. Now, whenever I come up with a new idea, I make sure that it fits in with the story arc and that it passes the stimulus and response test. Doing this allows me to write a solid, entertaining story that doesn’t come off like the transcript of a video game.

So, once again, my mother taught me a lesson about life and writing. Thankfully, this particular lesson came without the cold bologna sandwich.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2011/09/just-cause/

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