Conversations With My Mother

Do you know where you got your talent for writing?
my mother asked me.
It’s from me, you see,
the talent that never got to be.

For no one ever encouraged me
nor told me I was good,
all they did was berate me for being ugly,
even wished I never came into this world.

There’s so much regret in her life,
growing up like she did, she said,
she still can’t banish the doubts
that still fill up her head,

still hearing the voices of ghosts
telling her she is nothing,
even when the maggots have turned to dust,
long after the feasting.

For those voices still linger,
they fester, they dim.
Like a cancer you can’t ever cut off,
clinging like a phantom limb.

But you have a chance, she said,
if you nurture it, it will grow.
so write what you think will sell –
don’t write what you know.

But what about writing of the things I love? I asked,
What about all that?
But it won’t sell, she said to me
So just write where the money’s at

But that’s the wrong way to go about it,
I said to her then,
if we don’t write out our truth,
we’ll just make those same mistakes again

But she can only tell me the truth that she knows –
her past, her only reality.
She’s yet to live the life I live,
Still killing my own ghosts before they get me.

Daily Prompt

8 thoughts on “Conversations With My Mother

  1. Both of my Grandfathers were gifted story tellers and both taught me to tell a story. One of my Great Grandfathers was a gifted writer. I was lucky, I thought writing was something all your own- you didn’t need permission to do it and it’s not to be taken away by anyone…even yourself on a bad day.

    1. I agree. I’m lucky that I just wrote anyway, even when no on in my family understood or believed it would make me any money (it still doesn’t but then I haven’t published anything yet). And it’s difficult for me to understand how my mother would still think she needs permission – I guess some words do stay with us and become our cages.

  2. None of my family or even distant relatives will read a word of what I write. My friends won’t read my writing either. Universally, they condemn my effort as a pursuit in laziness. No one can fathom writing being the very currency of knowledge and intellect for humanity that transcends time. Instead, they express disappointment that I have the will to even try. I don’t write for them. I write for me.

    1. Same here. I sometimes have to put myself in their shoes to see how they see me with the writing and why they think it’s a waste of time, but it’s like sitting in a void where there’s nothing but noise – and it’s scary as heck. So I just keep writing. Like you, I have to write for me.

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