MaMoMeMo
May is motherhood memoir month

writing

The Ekphrastic Letter

Dear Mother,
I should’ve cleaned your fingernails before you died. I know dirty fingernails never bothered you, but in that last photo I took of you where your hands wrap around the ceramic mug of fresh coffee I brought with real cream, instead of the styrofoam cup of instant with powder packets you’d been getting—-in that picture the gleam is back in your eyes, feisty again, but a dark, dirty rim lines each fingernail. I regret not offering to clean your nails, but at the time it didn’t occur to me. You had lots of life left in you. You could’ve cleaned your own fingernails….

The Jesus Chicken

The other day our middle daughter came over to celebrate our youngest daughter’s 15th birthday. Arielle asked what we were having for her birthday dinner. Chicken Alfredo? I said, knowing it’s her favorite. Where is the chicken from? Arielle asked. She’s taking AP Environmental Science in her freshman year at Camas High School. We try to buy mostly free-range, usually organic chickens, but this class has raised the bar on what she finds acceptable. She’s nice about it, but she won’t eat it if she thinks it might not be responsibly sourced and humanely treated. Or if it contains palm oil. From the kitchen, her father called out some details–it was a heritage chicken, woodland bred, fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy and hazelnuts, local and organic with at least 4 acres to graze upon with lots of friends… (Portlandia episode–ordering chicken) I added that it was a happy…

May (MaMoMeMo) is Here

Are you ready to write, even just 5-10 minutes exploring your story in May? If so, bookmark this site and subscribe to my newsletter… which I admit I’ve never actually sent out. I write my blog posts (here and more regularly on Ekphrastic Mama https://lorilyngreenstone.com/) but I don’t bother with emails. Some of you have asked me about this… I’m working up to it, is my best answer. I’m still figuring out the public side of writing. Mostly, writing is private, something I do when I’m alone, although I do write in groups https://www.pdxwriters.com/ and with partners, which I find drives my writing forward in surprising ways, but more about that later… I find memoir a bit unwieldy- it tends to run off in directions I didn’t think I was going. Sometimes I have to stop and ask, what is the story that wants to be written? However, during May…

Welcome

May is Motherhood Memoir Month, a time to celebrate motherhood by writing about it. Or maybe you don’t feel like celebrating- write about that. Maybe you’d just like to read some tall but true tales until you get inspired, or yarns for commiseration. You’re welcome to read mine. With six kids, I’ve got some tales to tell. Writing is cathartic- it helps us figure out what we think, making abstract thoughts into black and white words on the page. Words are editable. When you move them around and change them, or even erase them, you may find you’ve changed or defined how you feel. Writing helps create new paths, or new ways to walk down old ones. Writing is a gift- one you can give yourself and another person. During this Mother’s Day month, consider writing out stories from your past, present, or future even, then share them with your mother or…

Can Memoir Kill You?

“…It almost killed me.” -Harry Crews, author of A Childhood: The Biography of a Place Both shocking and understandable if you write memoir, right? Have you ever felt gutted when writing your stories? The natural reaction to pain is avoidance. Quite often we flinch and move away from that hot center of a story, afraid we’ll get burned or at least singed by it. But that red hot spot is where the heart of story lies. I’ve taken a break from the red hot center that memoir is, but recently I got back on the horse, to severely mangle some metaphors… though I like this image now of riding a flaming Arabian for all I’m worth. I will not go down in flames. I will rise from the ashes. These are the affirmations I think of as I free flow write… on this hobby horse… Free flow write with me.…

Ending May: 31 Days of Writing

Today is the last day of May- what a month. I focused on words, writing a lot of words, a redemptive story. I got distracted and sometimes felt disheartened, probably a lot like you. But we press on. We realize it is a privilege to be able to press on, to breathe clean air (at least where I live), to write in peace. I spoke with my middle son today. He’s a reporter for the Seattle Times and was downtown last evening doing his job. He got sprayed with tear gas and said he feels “shaken.” He’s never seen anything like this. Who has? None of us have lived through riots in the face of a pandemic. Meanwhile, I’m still writing, still believing the story I’m working on matters. Some days it’s difficult to believe, especially when I look around. But art elevates us all out of the mire, dusting…

In the Midst of Chaos, a Sacred Moment

I was out walking on a trail near our house this morning, putting one foot in front of the other, when I looked up and saw four sets of big eyes looking back at me. A small herd of young bucks stood less than 20 feet away. I came to a slow stop and said a hushed hello. They stared, alert. I stared, in awe. Below and behind them the Columbia River flowed to the sea. Above us a hawk circled. My step count stayed where it was for over ten minutes while I watched them watching me, their short sets of antlers looking fuzzy and harmless. Earlier, a former co-worker’s post on Facebook convinced me that I should watch the footage of George Floyd’s death. I couldn’t get past the first time he said he couldn’t breathe. I know he calls out for his mother, and as a mother…

Of Rats & Bees (no mice… no men)

The bees seem to have settled into the hive. I can’t say for sure unless I open the hive and I’m not going to do that, so for now I cross the stream at the bottom of our backyard and gaze over at the log hive, which has a healthy amount of bees enjoying the sunshine and buzzing around it. I believe I can see them going in and out of the opening, a crack in the log. Meanwhile, Arielle, 13, is still vying for rats. To that end, she wrote a paper on rat responsibilities as she imagines them, given her research. Her first paper was a how-to written in the second person-all you need to know to care for a pet rat. She presented it to us last night. Part of our sequester entertainment and education is presenting ideas to each other. I found it informative, but lacking…

From Bees to Rats

The bees of yesterday are still outside the hive we put them in-deciding whether they want to move in, or cleaning out the hive and repainting for the Queen? We don’t know. We watch and wait. Such diversion. Meanwhile, I write, some. Not a lot. I often think, “This is going to be a writing day- get lots done! I’m not going to do much else…” But then life happens. Today, our youngest daughter is making inroads toward getting another pet. We have a Maine Coon, but he is not a very affectionate male cat. He mostly tolerates us, and we are amused by him, but Ari is pining for a small pet. She’s been trying to trap a mouse with a friendly trap, to no avail. Being quarantined or sequestered can be lonely for a 13-year-old, so I find my “no more pets” stance softening. I don’t want to…

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