Memoirs Move Me

Oh my gosh! “Do I have a story for you!” Those are seven words I will never tire of hearing. I crave a good story like a basic college girl craves a pumpkin spice latte and an Instagram photo op. Call me, message me, write me a letter, or invite me to lunch. If you have got a good story to tell, I have got a listening ear. Yes, I still answer calls and still call people. If you are even my casual friend, you know I am not afraid to call you on the phone. Every introvert that ever gave me their number is starting to sweat right about now. I know I have mentioned this before, but I believe this is exactly why memoirs are my favorite.

This past month, I have been filling my plate with memoir after memoir and still have several on my “shelf” that I’ve yet to get through. This is my go-to ritual when I find myself in a reading rut, which means I am struggling to get through the books I have chosen to read. I go back to what I love, and I go on a literal bender. It helps me refocus, recenter, and get back to enjoying books again.

Let’s talk about two of the memoirs I have read recently because I am hopeful you will find something compelling in either of them. 

The first one is What We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death by Tallu Schuyler Quinn. My sister-in-law sent me this one and warned me I would read it in one sitting. She was not wrong. Tallu, the founder of the Nashville Food Project, was diagnosed with a terminal illness during the pandemic and contemplates her time on earth and considers the time she has left in What We Wish Were True. “I am holding both my hope and my grief together in the same hands. It is a loose hold, looser than I am accustomed to. My love is so much bigger than me.” 

Her beautiful recollection of her life and thoughtful prose gives way to a deeper consideration of your own mortality. A memorable part that continues to stick with me was when she asked a close friend to bake fresh bread for her funeral. It caused me to take time to consider the profound nourishment of freshly baked bread and butter. Whether it is greeting you at the start of a meal or sitting heavy in your belly like no vegetable ever has, simply put, it is incomparable. So is this book. Get alone and read this one. It will give you a new perspective.

Next up was I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy. This one sold out in 24 hours and catapulted to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list. Wowza, Wowza! If you like a juicy story, do not miss this one. It is full of them. “She (her mom) wanted this. And I wanted her to have it. I wanted her to be happy. But now that I have it, I realize that she’s happy and I’m not. Her happiness came at the cost of mine. I feel robbed and exploited.” Ms. McCurdy also does a fine job of showing the reader the depth and idiosyncrasies of the mother-daughter relationship. No matter who your mom is to you, rotten or wonderful, she is still your mom. I like that she didn’t excuse her behavior because of this notion. She went to therapy and put in the hard work of healing. “I take a longer look at the words on her headstone. Brave, kind, loyal, sweet, loving, graceful, strong, thoughtful, funny, genuine, hopeful, playful, insightful, and on and on... Was she, though? Was she any of those things? The words make me angry. I can’t look at them any longer. Why do we romanticize the dead? Why can’t we be honest about them?” Ok, that was a truth bomb!

Some of you in your rose-colored glasses are going to think... “great...2 books on death.” Which I would normally shy away from because sadness is hard and not a place where many of us like to hang out, but these are worth your time because of their exploration of human relationships and the depth of love. If you want to start with something lighter, might I recommend Yes, Please! By Amy Poehler and The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. These will make you cry too, but only a little because the comedians wouldn’t be doing their job if they turned us all into a blubbering mess.

Also, I wasn’t kidding... if you know a good story, give me a call. I will always answer.


 

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