365 Short Stories: Week 5, Mother Figures

Something pretty interesting happened at 365 Short Stories this week–remember, the choices are random. They were all about mothers.

Beginning with Robin MacArthur’s beautiful story at Shenandoah, “Wings, 1989” and ending with a visual narrative brief by Amy Porter in First Inkling, each story this week featured a narrator whose close observation of a mother/grandmother (or both) figure instructed the development of the viewpoint character over time.

In between, we had “Rose” by Dylan Landis at r.kv.r.y; our weekly classic, “Hell-Heaven” by Jhumpa Lahiri at The New Yorker; “Up High in the Air” by Laura van den Berg at Boston Review; and “The Long Beep” by Casey Hannan at Wigleaf.

My own story, “Alchemy” fits in well this week, too, thanks to the supportive editors at Monkeybicycle.Photo1

Here are some great opening lines…

From “Wings, 1989”: “That day in July my mom came out of the house, wiped her soapy hands on her thighs, and told me to get my lazy bum up off the grass and go weed the peas.” (MacArthur)

From “Up High in the Air” : “Just after the Fourth of July, my mother called to tell me she thought her hair was on fire.” (van den Berg)

From “Rose”: “Leah’s grandmother washed and dried her dinner plates, stacked them in the oven and set it on broil. She hid her pearls in the toilet tank, where they coiled under a rubber flap and created a perpetual flush.” (Landis)

From “The Long Beep: “My mother’s fingers are scissors. There are lines to cut. My mother doesn’t cut them. She pinches my grandmother’s lips. My grandmother’s eyes stay closed.” (Hannan)

My daughters with me, their mother. I'm pretty sure they're paying attention.

My daughters with me, their mother. I’m pretty sure they’re paying attention.


5 thoughts on “365 Short Stories: Week 5, Mother Figures

  1. Beautiful girls! I became a mother nearly a year ago; my Basil turns one on the 16th.

    I loved your story! And got excited when I saw Jhumpa Lahiri – she’s written something new?! – but then realized it’s an old story. I love her!

  2. Thanks for joining the conversation. I, too, love Jhumpa Lahiri and continue to learn from reading her stories. I wonder if she is writing anything new. Isn’t becoming a mother one of the best things you ever did in your life.

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