Extraordinary Women::Alice Munro
That's something that I think is growing on me as I get older:
When Sheila Munro was growing up, she and her younger sister Jenny would sit on the living-room floor and watch television while their mother, Canadian author Alice Munro, sat in a chair behind them reading a book. She was with them, but she wasn't with them. It was a feeling the girls would have throughout their childhood. While their father was detached in his own way, he did embrace his role in the family. He expressed great pride and interest in things like choosing and decorating the house they lived in and playing with his children when he got home from work. Their mother never seemed to care about such things. Sure, she did the laundry, waited on her kids when they were sick, and cooked dinner just like other moms did. But it was always clear that what she really wanted to be doing was writing at the little desk in the corner of her bedroom.
"She was like the young mother in [the well-known Alice Munro story] Miles City Montana, who sees herself as a detached observer," Sheila Munro writes, before quoting the passage in that story where she thinks her mother could just as well have been describing herself.
"In my house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide…so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself. I lived in a state of siege, always losing just what I wanted to hold on to. But on trips there was no difficulty. I could be talking to Andrew, talking to the children and looking at whatever they wanted me to look at…and all the time these bits and pieces would be flying together inside me. The essential composition would be achieved. This made me hopeful and lighthearted. It was being a watcher that did it. A watcher, not a keeper."
~ Meleah Maynard, 'Lives of Mothers and Daughters'
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