A little more than a month ago I sat in a master class with Bonnie Jo Campbell when she asked us to talk about a project we couldn’t get off the ground. I described a project I began 19 years ago after my mother died. It began as a biography, which was awful. It was cold and distant. I thought perhaps I could fictionalize it and better capture the woman I knew as my mother. I wrote it in 1st person, 3rd person, I changed the structure, but nothing worked, so I shelved it. After explaining this to the master class, Bonnie Jo looked at me and said, “Seems like it should be written as a memoir told in vignettes.” It was as if everything fell into place – she was right.

So I decided to take advantage of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and write my memoir about my mother and how I knew her. What I didn’t expect were the emotions I would feel as I opened my mind to think about her. I wasn’t prepared for the things I would remember, the gaps I found, and the pictures I couldn’t explain. In my frustration, I’ve decided to detail my experience as I write and put the pieces of her puzzle together in search the woman I called, Mum.

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