Care and Feeding of a Memory

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, one of world’s most celebrated French authors of the past century wrote often and in depth about her mother and her succinct, descriptive prose is inspiring. I find thought provoking beauty in the following sentence describing her mother, Sido, “She had a curious way of lifting roses by the chin to look them full in the face.”

  • Do Colette’s words resonate with you?
  • How do you feel about this sentence?
  • The nestled flower?

I ask you, a soon-to-be writer of the Mother Memoir, to lift your mother’s chin, if only in thought, and look her full in the face. Go out into a garden, find a rose, and gaze into its depths and wonder at its intricacy and strength, its scent. Look at it in a natural light, but be wary of its thorn and know that without just the right amount of sun and water and nutrients it would not be a thing of beauty. Whether your rose is a little misshapen, touched with mold and mildew, a host for pests, or whether it is bold, radiant, and clear, the essence of its perfume is unmistakable.

Ah, the array of flowers awaiting transformation from tiny seed to bloom is dizzying. The same goes for the stories TellTale Souls write as Mother Memoir.

From gardens, hope springs eternal. From stories, life springs eternal. Once you have cultivated and harvested a true story, a bio-vignette, about your mother, it won’t fade and wither by season’s end…lovely.

Growing the miracle of story works something like this:

  •       Wanting to write a story = Owning your plot of earth
  •       Digging into memory = Readying the soil
  •       Finding the gem of an idea to move into memoir = Choosing which seed to sew
  •       Trusting and using your unique voice as you begin to write = Planting the seeds
  •       Writing, editing, and rewriting = Watering and adding nutrients
  •       Finishing touches = Glorying in the flower in full bloom

Now, move into growing your Mother Memoir. The true belief in yourself that you can successfully write your telling tale, that you can make this memory come to life in full bloom in memoir, is enough to make it materialize on the written page. Of course, you must still provide the water and the vital nutrients. If anything has got you stymied, you will grasp more about the art and craft of writing the Mother Memoir as you make your way into the garden.


  1. Kathy says:

    I have a book of poems that my mother wrote while living on the prairie in North Dakota and
    raising nine children.

  2. admin says:

    How wonderful, Kathy, to have that book of poems written by your mother. Where on the prairie were you raised? I was raised at Kelvin Store (Turtle Mountains), nine miles north of Dunseith, ND, and 4 miles south of the International Peace Gardens. I’ve now lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 30 years, but North Dakota stays in my blood. Several of the stories in my book reference North Dakota. Perhaps you’ll write one, and, if you do, don’t hesitate to send it to me.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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