Interview With Author Terry Tempest Williams...

Jun 6, 2012 by

15 May 2012  Tabard Inn Washington, D.C.  Dearest Bonnie:  Greetings.  Here are my responses to your evocative questions.  Many thanks, Terry atsGf/Bonnie Simon: Terry, I love your poetic style of writing.  What influences helped you develop it? Terry Tempest Williams:  I think style is like voice, it grows organically from the truth of one’s own life experience.  I don’t think in terms of chapters, per se.  I think in terms of stories.  It is the story itself that creates an inherent structure.  With this book, “When Women Were Birds,” it is a story about how my mother left me her journals andall her journals were blank.  There are twelve blank pages that follow this revelation in the book.  That is not a style, but the physical truth.  I wanted the reader to feel that same...

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When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams...

May 29, 2012 by

What does it mean to live past the age at which a loved one died? We are guided and shaped by the important people in our lives, both by their lives and by the confusion of losing them.  In two years I will be 45, the age at which my late husband, the most profound influence on my adult life, passed on.  Even now I wonder what it will mean to live past the age he attained.  How do we grow beyond what our mentors could offer? I am not the only one to note the significance of an age. “I am fifty-four years old, the age my mother was when she died” begins Terry Tempest Williams in her new book, When Women Were Birds. Her mother had pointedly bequeathed her two shelves of...

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Thanks Mom

Nov 24, 2011 by

Thanksgiving has been a take it or leave it holiday for me. When my dad was alive, my mother would make a huge Thanksgiving Day feast – she made the best stuffing with oysters. It was very good. (I could never duplicate that recipe even though I credit my mother with my skills as a good cook and my perfection with making a bed with hospital corners and a tidy house). After my father passed away and my mother came to live with my husband and me, our tradition was going out to eat at usually a fancy place (that was my indulgence considering I cooked for Christmas – I LOVE to cook and bake for Christmas  – you should see the spread I usually put out). Even though my husband and I ventured...

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Dancing With The Stars ~ Broadway Week...

Oct 29, 2011 by

OK girlfriends, even if you aren’t watching Dancing With The Stars and have no interest in these posts…what a week you have missed! Seriously you would have to be living under a rock to have missed all the brouhaha this week’s episode created. Today, GMA, CNN, HLN etc have all been covering the antics of these hard bodies and their “star” partners. Love Broadway tunes. Used to sing the music of Phantom to make my niece fall asleep; so was psyched for this week. By the end of two hours…dancing was incidental. First off let me just say my favorite JR Martinez did an amazing job to the theme from Chicago. Rob and David both did well. The annoying Ricki Lake was great. And then the drama started! Nancy Grace looked like some kind...

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The “Thing Thing” (Clean your cabinets!)...

Aug 1, 2011 by

I recently moved my mom, aka “The Momster” to Albuquerque.  As such things go, I couldn’t move most of her material possessions. Too much stuff. Too little time.  Too many and higher priorities. And, as I spent hours digging through drawers, closets and cabinets…much of it appeared to not have been touched, much less used in years, if not decades. ALL of it coated in multiple layers of deep, deep brown nicotine (Hey, wasn’t this white when I sent it as an Xmas present? Ack. Ack.)  So, what the hell to move??? –  especially given Mom’s directive to “do the best you can.” Still, I tried…digging out old family jewelry…sifting through piles of paper… trying to get the things that would really (I thought) mean something to the Momster.  All while breathing in decades...

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I Hope Happiness IS Contagious

Jun 29, 2011 by

Friends and regular readers of my writing here and at Lipsticking know that I’m going through some major adjustments with my mother.  Fiercely independent. Unwilling to ask for help. Unwilling to accept help. Well, that explains me…but it also explains why my mom ended up where she is…in an assisted living home here in Albuquerque, with multiple major ailments. So sad. Too late. She simply can’t live alone anymore. (She’d HATE my telling you this.  She considers someone asking her where she went to high school a major invasion of privacy (!?)  More about that – generational differences and various conceptions of social interaction in another post.) All that said, Mom is doing amazingly well, adjusting to living with seven other women, in a city she never liked, in a home she didn’t choose,...

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My Creative Inspiration

May 8, 2011 by

My mother was a school nurse for many years in our town’s elementary school system.  She has accomplished so much in her life, but she would not agree as she is very self-effacing! My mom has tended to making all of the dozens of homes she and my dad have owned into beautiful spaces that bring together our large and extended family, including 7 nieces and nephews. From beach houses to city dwellings, it’s all about everyone else. She is a lot of fun too, and despite being diagnosed with breast cancer late last year, she rides her bike with my dad up to 30 miles a day several days a week. I can’t think of any other word to describe my lovely mother, other than an inspiration! The picture of my mom is...

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Remembering Barbara

May 7, 2011 by

I lost my Mom 10 years ago-at times it feels like eons, other times it was a blink ago. If you’ve lost your Mom you probably know what I mean. Seldom does a day go by when I don’t think of something I wish I could share with her-good, bad or evil! My Mom was a very involved, hands on mother. She knew what was going on in all of our lives, not that she always approved. There was usually always a daily phone call-and you better have a great excuse for letting her go to voice mail( working nights meant nothing! If she had something to share-you better wake up) She went to all her grandkids recitals, award ceremonies even Little League games. She knew who was arguing with their husbands, who’s kid...

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Mummy I Remember …

May 7, 2011 by

Memories of my mom sometimes feel like faded rose petals. Rose petals at the stage when they are velvety but the color has changed from vibrant to softer shades. The stage when they drop to the earth but the fragrance is still sweet and strong. At other times those memories seem to be as elusive as when you were a little girl and blew on a dandelion and the winds took the seeds and carried then away.  Sometimes, it feels as though the memories are so overwhelming that I have to close my eyes to get to the next moment in time. What can I tell you who might read this about a women who is dancing in the stars with her soul mate, my dad, and my sister? How can I pay tribute...

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The Best Gift I Ever Got

May 7, 2011 by

Most of my life has been spent traveling and moving from place to place and job to job.  The one constant was my mother’s house.  My dad had built the house and when he passed away (I was 16) it was like time stopped.  The place looked exactly as it had for all my life, right down to the avocado kitchen cabinets and gold wall-to-wall carpet.  But it was home and Mom always gave me a place to land.  The number of boxes stored in her garage, including the darkroom I’d built right after college, was enormous. I’d just returned from one of my “moves” and landed a job with the Wildlife Conservation Society, and decided to go back to graduate school for a Master’s degree.  Limited funds and apartment rents in NYC made...

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Direct Connections: My Mother, My Daughter And Me...

May 6, 2011 by

My mother always cared about her appearance. In the Hospice facility where she spent her last two weeks, the staff knew her as the woman who greeted her visitors wearing a stylish scarf and earrings. She jokingly recited a ditty she had learned from her 90-year old neighbor: “A little powder, a little paint, Makes you look like what you ain’t.” Food never stopped being of importance either. I drove around the streets of Denver looking for a place to find Pho for one of her last meals. I inherited my mother’s adventurous and discriminating palate and love of beauty. My ability to shop successfully for myself and others came from the years of shopping with my mother in New York in the 50’s. Her feet were small – 71/2 quad – which meant...

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Caring Comes In Threes

May 6, 2011 by

When Toby suggested we write about our moms for Mother’s Day, I thought it was a wonderful idea; but for me, it was also a very difficult task.  The reason it is so difficult for me is because I write about silly, fluff-stuff and am not great with sentiment or emotion.  Since I have the greatest Mom in the world, I feel my writing can’t possibly do her justice.  My strengths lie in talking about poo and making fart jokes and though I’m sure she’s had a lot of experience with poo and farts after having six kids, she deserves much better, so this is a very daunting task. My mom has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met.  If someone is sick, she is there to help them.  If anyone needs...

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