My Own Mom vs. A Mother I Wrote
By Jeff Salter
Today, happy Cinco de Mayo! And, in a few days, Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, potential moms, and other female relatives who’ve ‘mothered’ someone in the family. And a special salute to step-moms and mothers-in-law. I’ve been EXTREMELY fortunate to have had both a wonderful step-mom and a terrific mother-in-law.
My Own Mom
But the focus of this first section is my own flesh-and-blood mother, who’s still going strong at age 89 (in a few months) — and she’s a pip. < Hi, Mom! > Exactly 40 years ago, I wrote a Mother’s Day poem for her. I’ve tweaked it a lot since then and eventually deleted three of its original six stanzas. Here’s the condensed, current version:
Questions on Mother’s Day
By Jeffrey L. Salter
What can one say on Mother’s Day
that hasn’t been better expressed
by the eager warmth of your newborn son
as he tenderly sucks at your breast?
Where can a mom find greater reward
than with such a gentle joy:
looks at her son and now sees a man
where once was a little boy?
For the child to whom she labored life,
can Mom ever cease her love?
Not even when body returns to the earth
and her soul is taken Above.
When Mom is a Character
You might think I mean when your own mother is a ‘character’. My mom IS … and I based a fictional character on her (in my second and third manuscripts). But that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean when you create a fictional character and she’s a mother. Not just that this character has children – a technicality – but when her being a mom is germane to the storyline.
I have an example in my fourth novel manuscript — a ‘screwball’ romantic comedy. My heroine and hero are in the midst of a huge muddle, fraught with misunderstandings … and have actually ‘broken-up’. The hero’s wise and crafty mother plays a very important role in getting the two fighting protagonists back together again so their HEA ending becomes possible. She’s not merely a character who also happens to be a mom. She’s pivotal to the story because it’s her role AS a mother which is utilized to bring the warring parties to the truce table.
What ‘Mom’ Characters have you written?
If you’ve written a character whose role as a mother is pivotal to your novel, please share an example. You don’t have to give away more than you want to (if it’s not yet published), but give us enough to comprehend HOW her ‘motherhood’ is integral to your story.
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