For the first time in a while, I went out to a reading last night. Nadine Justice, author of I'm a Coal Miner's Daughter, But I Cain't Sang, was delightful and the audience loved her. She has a sense of humor that comes through in her writing.
Mary Ricketson, one of my very favorite poets, always brings me to tears when she reads poems about her only child, her son who is super smart and won a scholarship to MIT or one of those big colleges. I feel I've watched him grow up from a boy by reading and listening to Mary read her poems about him.
I told her last night that, although I've not had a child, she touches my maternal instinct or maybe it is my growing up with a mother like Mary. I saw my mother go through all the angst of teenagers making mistakes she couldn't prevent, seeing hurts she couldn't heal, and just giving them all the love a mother can give. I know Mother prayed for her children. I was one of her main worries. Always wearing my emotions on my shoulders, I came to Mother to ease my pain when I was hurt.
Mary's son is grown and on his own now, but her poems about him continue to show a strong bond between mother and son.
The Journal of Kentucky Studies has published one of Mary's poems, her first in a literary journal. That was the first literary journal that published one of my poems. In fact the editor, Gary Walton, has published a number of my poems over the years. And I am grateful.
Nadine's book, which I watched develop from the beginning, has memorable stories about her own childhood with a mother she couldn't relate to, and a father she adored. In her memoir about her life growing up in the coal camps, then her travels overseas, and her failed marriages, I see another strong woman like Mary. Nadine has two daughters and I'm sure she has prayed many times for her children. I find her book extremely interesting and by the mail she has received, others find it a good read, too.
Anyway, I am so glad I went out to hear these fine writers share their work last night. I appreciate all those who came and really appreciate the Folk School for hosting Netwest each month.
And thanks to Linda Smith who schedules the readings.
So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca