Memory One

These pages feel a little unkind.  What I want to make sure of in creating this story, though, is not to idealize my mom as a patient-victim.  We had a complicated relationship—and she was often unkind to me.  I, in turn, often rebelled against her.  Her illness brought us together in ways that confirmed our mutual love despite all that; it brought out the best in us.  It also, though, concentrated the years of tension that existed between us.  I want to capture a series of memories that will tap into these complications as well as address the difficulties involved in confronting them.

This whole creative process can be so isolating and self-indulgent … so I want to give special thanks to MK and Ian for an amazing visit to Chicago last week.  Hearing them speak a couple times on Graphic Medicine, being around them as they collaborated, and just spending good time with good friends helped remind me of the bigger picture at play in what I’m working on here.  Hearts.

3 thoughts on “Memory One

  1. Mita, sorry for being slow to respond to this, though I looked at your piece and collected these thoughts immediately. I can understand how you might feel that these pages are unkind, but actually I think they’re quite the opposite. How reassuring it is to know that your Mom was not the perfect patient, nor you the perfect caregiver. Seeing those moments of grouchiness, frustration, unkindness and rebellion I think is so important. It says to the reader ‘this happens, and it’s ok’. And you’re right: in order to show the mutual love that existed despite that, you have to show the less comfortable moments too.

    With regard to feeling and self-indulgent. I hear you! I’m not sure how to reassure you that your work is anything but self-indulgent (which I fully believe), when I struggle to see my own work as anything more. Perhaps it’s just part of the process that we have to go through feeling like that.

    Thanks for sharing this: I can’t wait to see more.

  2. Oh Katie thank you so much. Your response made me get all teary! I think one of my discomforts is coming from the fact that I’m not yet sure where the story is going and what its main “drive” will be. But I’m getting there … slowly but surely. :-) Support of amazing people like you helps a thousand times. x

  3. Not unkind–in fact, very generous and loving. The fact that the first frame is so lovely and that even in the painful moments there’s the presence of the lotus to remind us. It’s a good and heartbreaking reminder that we mothers love our daughters insanely much, but not always very well, and that real human beings simply aren’t capable of being loving and lovable all the time (or even most of it).

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