Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Mother/My New Book

I'm in the midst of marketing my second book. It’s a hard sell in New York these days, or so I'm told. It has nothing to do with vampires or baseball so that makes it a hard sell.
What it is about is leaving a cult, with a mother-daughter story at its core.

My mother and I were never close, not in the traditional sense. Mom was a superb provider, as my father was mostly out of work due to a penchant for scotch. In a time when most daughters had stay-at-home Moms, mine slaved away at a job in Manhattan, editing books and running her own subsidiary of E.P. Dutton. At night, she would come home, cook dinner, run a sewing machine and make me clothes or edit freelance manuscripts. Did I mention that she also wrote and published several novels? She never stopped working. And I never stopped craving her attention.

By the time I joined The Way international, I thought I was over it. I gave up trying to get her to notice me. I didn't understand her sacrifice. I only saw things through my own limited vision of the world - that I was at its center and Mom didn't revolve around me. She revolved around her whole family - keeping food on the table and gas in the car. No wonder she didn't notice that I'd gotten myself hooked up with a cult. As far as she was concerned, it kept me out of trouble and that was good. One less thing she had to worry about.

And still she did worry. When The Way took me out to Kansas and points beyond, she never stopped writing or scraping together a few extra bucks to send me. Twenty-five dollars was a lot thirty years ago and Mom even sponsored me in The Way Corps, though she didn't believe in it. Not a bit. But she believed in me and refused to lose touch. Even when I cursed her and thought her possessed of devil spirits, she didn't give up. Finally, when the time was ripe, she rescued me and her two grandchildren.

I never understood my mother until I had my own children. I never understood the tenacity and grit it took to hang on when your love looked hopeless and you were convinced you had lost the reason you were holding on. Well, I don’t want to give away the plot of my sequel to Losing the Way but suffice it to say, that my relationship with my mother is at the heart of it all. The estrangement, the misunderstanding, the forgiveness, the reconciliation.

Today would have been my mother's eighty-ninth birthday. She died three years ago from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. Were she alive today, I know we would all be celebrating, my children and me, celebrating a life of giving and love. Even though she was not an affectionate person, she was a loving person and I know she loved me. And I loved her, in spite of the years I walked away from her.

Oh, and by the way, that's the name of my new book: Walkaway: Confessions of a Lost Daughter. But don’t hold your breath. It may never see the light of day. Like I said, there are no vampires.


Cyndee said...

I will read that . Sounds like my story as well.
Here is a new slideshow for you.

Billy said...

I guess publishers would have to feel they can generate the right level of interest before making a commitment. I didn't notice any vampires in the Way either, and we hardly had any steroid scandals in our extremely limited baseball/ softball activity. Though I did at one point have a fellow 8th corps wondering how a not too athletic guy like me could get a hit almost every time up.

I would think people would have an interest in trauma recovery and parent/son/daughter relations. In my mind, what happened to you is worse than a vampire attack.

If there were any way I could help, I would. So would others I'm sure. But I'm afraid I will have settle for the usual well wishes for your success. My own interest would be to see this new book do well. But in the longer term, keep "plugging away" as a writer, even if the success comes a little further down the road.

Kristen Skedgell said...

thank you, both. Your support mean a lot.