Inspiration from Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are three real-life things my mom has done to directly inspire my fiction!

1. She encouraged my potential.  When I was a kid, I showed an interest in nature and an aptitude for science.  My mom didn’t just tolerate this; she encouraged and even nurtured it.  There are girls who start out with the potential to be scientists who end up hiding their brains because they aren’t given the encouragement they need.  I am not one of those girls, thanks to my mom.  There is a princess in Butterflies who is “very bright” even as a child.  As a princess, it would be easy for her to be trained away from using her mind, but her mom (like my own) recognizes her potential and encourages it.

2. She let me be myself.  Along with that interest in nature, I was a tomboy.  I had no use for dresses, I spent a lot of time outside, and I had no interest in playing with dolls.  While my mom did enforce some girly things when appropriate (I did a lot of sitting still for my hair to be done when all I really wanted was a ponytail) she let me be myself most of the time.  It has led to some lasting family jokes, like the orange and white striped t-shirt dress I picked out for Easter, but it was still allowed.  In my writing I flipped this one; instead of letting her tomboy daughter be herself, one of the mothers in Butterflies insists of forcing her daughter to become a “lady” no matter what it takes.

3. She told me to write.  I distinctly remember a conversation at The Container Store between my mom and me.  We were looking at fancy kitchen organizers, and I was bemoaning the fact that I would probably never get my dream kitchen.  My mom’s response?  “Write your book.”  The most awesome thing about her comment was that, until she said that, I hadn’t told her that I’d been playing with ideas for a novel.  She just knew me well enough to know that there were probably stories in my head.  Because of that one statement, I started (and finished) Butterflies, which started a whole cascade of writing.  That’s the ultimate in inspiration!

Thanks, Mom, for the inspiration!  Happy Mother’s Day!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kate Ferguson Writes
    May 13, 2012 @ 08:43:46

    Lovely. Interesting that your mum’s influence has also coloured your characters. My mum also has this gift of encouragement. I wrote about that in the context of ideas that have inspired me recently.


  2. deshipley
    May 13, 2012 @ 14:35:45

    My mom and I like to joke that she’s my “anti-muse”, tossing out story ideas so far from helpful that all we can do is laugh and groan. But truthfully, some of those goofy, supposedly dead-end ideas do spark a piece of creativity later on.

    And even apart from that, she’s followed your three points, providing me with lifelong encouragement to be me and write.

    I wouldn’t be here without you, Momma — double-truth!


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