Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

my mother and virgina woolf

It’s Saturday and I’m reading  Virginia Woolf. About five minutes ago, I received an email from my mother. It is made up of two sentences:  “I lost her address and I want to thank her for the Xmas card. Sun is pretty on the snow and I see 2 cardinals in the tree.”

This tendency of my mother to start in the middle of a conversation used to drive me crazy. It is a little like reading Virginia Woolf, I think: we are thrust into someone’s consciousness and must struggle to orient ourselves. And then, abruptly, some sharp unexpected sensual image.  I love that sudden leap from sender of Christmas card to two red cardinals on a branch in the snow. So vivid. I recently realized that often when my writing is strongest I am writing like my mother talks.

Categories: books, memoir, writing

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