Monday, February 28, 2011

philosophical? (July 1970 and July 2007)

I may be including some of the too-personal stuff I hoped to avoid (for example, in the first quote, G is my father), but this passage from July 13, 1970 captures something I share with my mother:

“The only things that concern me are philosophical questions and observations of life and passions. And everyday my experience becomes more intense. I wish I could share this. But when I rattle on about the thoughts crossing my mind—I admit they may seem puny and uninteresting to G—then he gets a bored look, interrupts me mid sentence, or replies on a completely different subject. I don’t know if I embarrass him or bore him. But I do need an exchange—for it is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me, and I want to share it, to take the plunge into the mind with someone. If he were to confide in me the same way I am ready to confide in him, I know I would be interested and listen and empathize and respond. But I feel a blank wall from him; and I really feel he is not really interested in my inner workings, in me as a person.”

My mother is one of the few I know who thinks (thought) like this, thinks as I do. I miss it. The piece I wrote for her funeral in July 2007, long before I had her journals in hand, included a bit about “philosophical questions and observations of life and passions”:

I already miss talking to her on the phone – being able to call her and talk about nothing important. With the time difference between us, we often talked at odd hours for her, even 11 or 12 at night. Even the “nothing important” stuff was interesting to her. She could discuss anything as if it were a story or a philosophical question to be examined – whether the topic were something trivial like a bad haircut or something meaningful like becoming a mother.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

cupboards and tables

Jan Hutchinson interviewed my mother for Fine Line, Number 4 (1988). The bit that jumped out at me today:

"When I start a class I urge students to write memories, remembered images. I'm not advocating that you have to write about real people and what really happened. I don't care about that, but I do care about the world that's created on the page. Tabling a lot of these details and experiences starts to show you the writer's process and your true subject matter. It's your source, your cupboard of supplies." (p. 46)

I can picture a cupboard and table, and words and images being pulled out of the cupboard and put on the table, sorted, measured, gathered, piled up. I love it: the cooking, tools and housekeeping aspects of writing seem so solid, reliable and powerful.

Side note: My mother had an actual cupboard not unlike the one in this photo I found. Very Australian. Hers is light wood and a little broader than this one. It has the glass double doors, the little drawers and assorted-size cabinet doors. It is in storage waiting for me; I wish I could ship it here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

my mother has a wikipedia entry

My mother can be found in wikipedia. I had no hand in this, but maybe I should add to, correct or update the information there. It is not especially long, but she is the only family member I have who has an entry.