Brand building through storytelling

Question of the day: What would your mother think?

Your mother was a formidable character and a tough critic. What would she think of My Mother’s Daughter?

I’ve often asked myself that question—especially while I worked on the book. My mother had always been the keeper of the family narrative, the storyteller who explained us to ourselves. I never got very far with my own version of events. If she didn’t tell me I’d got it wrong, then I would censor myself. She’d been dead for 15 years when I began to tell our story as I understood it. And even then, there were moments when I could practically hear her sigh, “It didn’t happen that way.”

She always did like to be right, and in my mind this trait had defined our relationship from the beginning. To capture her presence on the page, I had to explore other traits—her resilience, her vitality, her boundless curiosity about people and their motives. I came to realize that my story would fascinate her, even if she disagreed with a few of the particulars. She’d want to talk about what I remember, and what I’ve either forgotten or dismissed as minor details. What a conversation we could have!

I think she’d be particularly struck by my use of poems she loved to tell the story of our relationship. Growing up, I would roll my eyes at her literary quotations. Now I see them as part of her legacy to me.

Posted by Rona

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