Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Send me your Mother’s Day vignettes


Have you written a vignette about your mother for your memoir? Perhaps you’ve written a story about your own motherhood, or about someone who played an important mothering role in your life.

If so, e-mail me your Mother’s Day vignette by April 30 and I’ll select one to publish here the week before Mother’s Day.

Spiff up your rough draft (or start writing it), keeping in mind the definition of memoir.

In Spiritual Memoirs 101, we go beyond mere memories. Within our memories, we search for greater treasures: what God was doing in and for and through us, and others, at the time.

“… The author must impose a coherence
on events he chooses to include
that may not have been present as he lived them.…
It’s that selectivity that transforms a memoir
from a report to a reflection
which gives meaning to the events
which might not have been evident to the author
as she lived them.”
(The Author’s Dual Role in a Memoir, by Biff Barnes)

“Rather than simply telling a story from her life,
the memoirist both tells the story
and muses upon it,
trying to unravel what it means
in the light of her current knowledge.…
The contemporary memoir includes retrospection
as an essential part of the story.
Your reader [is] interested in how you now,
looking back on it,
understand it.

(Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir)

“As memoir writers
we are trying to find a perspective,
even forgiveness and compassion,
for ourselves and others as we write our stories.”

Write out your delights as well as your doubts. Ask questions even if you have no answers. Include your thoughts—even your struggles—concerning your mother, and yourself, and what was going on.

Mull over, sift through, analyze, explore, untangle, sort out.

Examine what God was doing as you see it now, in retrospect.

What did you learn about yourself? About mothers? About God?

When you’ve polished your Mother’s Day story, submit it for consideration by April 30. I’ll be happy to edit it if you wish.

Your vignette should be 700 words or less in a Word document, sent as an attachment, to grandmaletters [at] aol [dot] com (replace [at] with @ and replace [dot] with a period, scrunch it all together, and that should reach me). Please write “Mother’s Day Vignette for SM 101” in the subject line so I’ll know it’s not spam. Thanks.

I’ll choose one story to publish here the week before Mother’s Day. Happy writing!

Next time: more tips on writing a Mother’s Day vignette.

Links and resources:

What is a memoir,

The beauty and bonuses of memoir,

The Author’s Dual Role in a Memoir, by Biff Barnes in About Memoirs and Personal History Books, The Author’s Craft, 

Writing the Memoir Judith Barrington,

Linda Joy Myers,


  1. What a great idea! You know how interested I am in mother/daughter relationships. A few years ago I wrote a short piece with the theme of "Keepsake." I'll mail it to you.

    1. Hi, Jess, I received your Mother's Day story. It's delightful. :) Thanks so much.

      Rebecca says she's writing a vignette too. Ooooh, I am so excited. I wonder how many others will send stories.


  2. Looking forward to participating!

    1. Sherrey, I'm so glad you'll participate. :) I can hardly wait to read your vignette.