Nonfiction / Memoir

How to Write Mom’s Story

August 29, 2012
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Indie author Lynn Cook Henriksen

If you could tell just one small story that would capture your mother’s character, and keep her spirit alive, what would it be?

TellTale Souls: Writing the Mother MemoirTellTale Souls: Writing the Mother Memoir
Read the First 10 Pages of this book

That simple question is at the heart of a project that has, for years, inspired hundreds of daughters and sons to rediscover their mothers – or, perhaps, discover them for the first time.

Lynn Cook Henriksen discovered this profound way to keep our mothers’ spirits alive after witnessing Alzheimer’s disease ravage her own mother’s mind.

Now in her book “TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir” Henriksen guides you through what she calls the Five Acts in a bold, new take on the art and craft of writing memoir.

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Listen to Lynn Cook Henriksen

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The Indie Author Life

Rhubarb pie?

That was my mother’s domain. Mom would go out to the backyard, choose several red stalks growing next to our toolshed, shear off those ginormous leaves, and bring the fresh rhubarb to the kitchen.

Lynn Cook Henriksen has her own rhubarb pie memory.

I believe this rhubarb pie recipe, although it wasn’t entered in a contest, could easily win a blue ribbon at the State Fair. You could say it’s an authentic memoir from my mother. This pie embodies all the sweet and tart she had to offer within a lattice crust dusted with cinnamon and sugar flowing from the sterling silver sieve atop her muffineer.

Every time I crimp the edges of the flawless crust, I see her hands showing me how it’s done. I think I could do it with my eyes closed while steeping in her essence. I remember in the 80s, when long fingernails were in vogue, those nails got in my way when I pinched and pleated the lattice ends melding them with the bottom crust, and there would always be a few unwanted nail marks. I did pick out a stray fleck of OPI Red on occasion. Thankfully, long nails went out with hot pants!

Read more, and get Lynn’s mom’s rhubarb pie recipe, at Lynn’s “The Story Woman” blog.

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3 Responses to How to Write Mom’s Story

  1. August 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Oops! Didn’t mean to step into your mother’s domain, but actually kinda glad I did. I’d have loved to have had a rhubarb pie bake-off with her. Do you think she’d have loaned me some fresh stalks? My mouth is watering!

    Actually, in writing the Mother Memoir it’s all about sharing our stories to find out more about the primal female spirit!

  2. September 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Great interview, Bill! Lynn is very professional and inspiring, and I particularly liked the anecdote about the woman who was embittered by her mother’s suicide but who came around. Goes to show the therapeutic value of writing. As for me writing about MY mother, I’ve already done enough damage in my first memoir… I believe I’ll need to wait until she “goes non-physical” to tell the juicier stories… : )

    • September 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Debbianne,
      Thanks for listening – Bill is a one-of-a-kind interviewer. I had a lot of fun talking with him.
      Sounds like your mother is a tough one to put down on paper…good luck with your writing.

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