original writing: Betty’s purse, for Mother’s DayMay 11, 2012
Like anyone who’s got fingers and a keyboard or a notebook to torture, I’ve written about my mother. First poem I wrote was a saccharine bit of business about motherhood (from which I will spare you), about the storybook glory of motherhood, written full-heartedly by my 11 year old self, only a little aware of the complicated nature of Betty’s relationship to motherhood. The story ends happily, with all peaces made and a truly good death. One of the most satisfying things I’ve ever written was about six months after her death, in an essay for The Gazette, where I do my paid work, for a series called The Things We Carry. What I carried, from Winnipeg to my home in Montreal, was my mother’s purse. Here’s the start of the essay. Click the link below to read the full essay.
“Stay out of mummy’s purse.”
I knew, as I did back when I called her mummy, that I should not be in my mother’s purse. And it didn’t matter that I was putting something in and not fishing for, say, movie-star red lipstick.
That the voice was only in my head did not make it any less arresting.
Click here to read The Unbearable Heaviness of My Mother’s Purse.