Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My mother, not the mother in my novel

When I think about why I am the way I am, or who I am, or where I am, even why I write, I think of my mother. When I think about who I want to be, much of that person resembles my mother. When I need to gripe and moan, I go to my mother for her common sense. Not only does she commiserate, but she puts me back on track. Between my girlfriends, I can't find another whose relationship with her mother is so close, so open and (sometimes shockingly) frank, so best-friendly. More, my mother is my champion, and she always has been.

That being said, she's perplexed that the mother of the protagonist in my novel is a dead-beat dud, a nonentity. I've explained that my novel is a complete work of fiction; still, my mother tries to line up the characters in the novel my life. Perhaps it's the first-person viewpoint that throws her. Believe me, some moments I wish I was my protagonist, for instance when I'm taking a break from fixing lunch to wipe snot off my 18-month-old's face and my 5-year-old asks for the third time in as many minutes why I can't make cupcakes (now) and everywhere I look is clutter, dirty dishes, work-to-be-done, and not a break in sight. Yes, moments like those, I wish I was Jonie Waters, tracking down killers and news leads, free to jog the streets of Wilmington or go surfing anytime she pleases. Of course, I don't wish I could trade mothers.

Thank you, mom, for all you do and have done for me! Thank you for being who you are!

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