Wednesday, 15 April 2015

M for Motherhood

The subject of mothers and motherhood throws up lots of questions in When Skies Are Grey. Actually I could see these questions being placed in the back of the book for Book Clubs to discuss.

There is certainly nothing conventional about any of the mothers in the novel. I hope I didn't go too far by never having a 'normal' mother in the book. But then again - what is normal? Everyone has there own version of that, surely.

The dictionary description purely says a mother is the female parent. It doesn't say anything other than that. In the case of the mothers in When Skies Are Grey, they at least meet the description.

"Motherhood": Sculpture at the Catac...
"Motherhood": Sculpture at the Catacumba Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One mother who is heard but never seen, is the one who signs her name 'Mother' at the end of her letters to her daughter. It could be argued that she appeals to the image of the kind, loving, head of the family figure who appears to have done all she could for her family. Sadly, she doesn't seem to have been thanked for what she does. (I can hear lots of mums out there saying, 'Story of my life.').

I did have to think long and hard about my portrayal of motherhood. Hopefully readers will understand the choices I made.

Did you ever write anything you thought might cause controversy? How did it work in the piece you wrote?

6 comments:

  1. Wow, Motherhood is a broad topic! And vitally important. I can see how it would be tough to write about your own mother...you have to walk that fine line between truth and political correctness.

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    1. Absolutely true. Thanks for visiting Elizabeth.

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  2. I think normal is a fictional word. In my last short story about a mom struggling with her autistic child, she is so fed up with the word "normal", she secretly thinks of it as the n-word. (Not the usual one, of course!)

    Speaking of that controvery, my last novel was set during in the slaveholding south right before the US Civil War and I was conflicted about using the n-word. At the time, a version of Huckleberry Finn had come out with all the instances of the n-word removed. Through discussions with other bloggers of both races, I finally decided to use the n-word in a few places in my book to accurately portray the language of the time.

    I wouldn't worry too much about a negative portrayal of mothers. One of my all-time favorite books is We Need To Talk About Kevin. It's told from the point of view of a reluctant mother about the nightmare of having a "bad seed". Very powerful.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Tamara. The story is what it is and I have to accept reactions - whatever they are.

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  3. I think fiction requires "unconventional" characters -- at least, I find them more interesting when they are, which keeps me reading. :)

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    1. Yes, I find that true of my reading experience. Let's hope I got 'unconventional' right.

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