Thursday, May 12, 2016

Your mother is “the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street”

Continuing with thoughts about mothers and motherhood—your mother, or the mother of your children, or your mother-in-law, or a mother you know: Include details that will make her unique, multi-dimensional, and memorable.  (If you missed last Thursday’s post, click on Your stories about mothers and motherhood.)

Mary Larmoyeux shows us a clever way of capturing a mother’s essence by customizing the following essay:

“Your mother is always with you.
She’s the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of certain foods you remember,
flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself.
She’s the cool hand on your brow
when you’re not feeling well.
She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep,
the colors of a rainbow;
she is Christmas morning.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She’s the place you came from, your first home,
and she’s the map you follow with every step you take.
She’s your first love, your first friend,
even your first enemy,
but nothing on earth can separate you—
not time, not space, not even death.”

Mary paraphrased that quote to describe her own mother. Here are excerpts:

“My mother is…the reminder that things work out.
She’s the smell of sugar cookies…
and Sunday roast…
and the sight of kneading bread. 
She’s the hand that picked Magnolias,
the sound of prayers with Dad.
She’s the word of kindness needed,
the trust that God’s nearby….
She’s the place that I came from, my first home—
one I’ll always know….”
(Mary Larmoyeux, “Your Mother is Always With You.”)

Set aside a few minutes to do what Mary didUsing the original quote for inspiration, capture the essence of the mother you’re writing about.

Was she refined and elegant—or salty like Tugboat Annie?

Was she boisterous—or mild-mannered?

Wild and scatterbrained—or methodical and orderly?

Courageous—or cowardly?

Haughty and self-important—or humble and modest?

Self-absorbed—or selfless?

Savvy, graceful, strong—or uninformed, clumsy, weak?  

Petite—or obese?

Did she have a sense of humor—or was she clueless?
What were her rituals, her habits, her hobbies, her quirks?

Did she have a short fuse? A voice like an angel? A contagious laugh? A heart of gold?

What did she believe?

What did she live for?

Think about the details the essay’s author used: “the whisper of the leaves,” “your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day,” “the colors of a rainbow.” 

And think about the details Mary chose: “the smell of sugar cookies… and Sunday roast,” “the hand that picked Magnolias,” “the word of kindness needed.”

Capture similar details about the mother in your story. Make her come alive for your readers.

All of us have stories about mothers

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