She Stood Crying in the Livingroom








Usually, I scan through an author I really admire like Sandra Cisneros or Anne Beatty to see how she handles a scene with someone crying to get unstuck.  I am almost finished with a story about how I became my mother’s deputy, fulfilling all of her wishes while she was away working on a psych ward.  I was twelve and ran our household.  I want to show her walking into chaos and crying.  I have a great scene written already with her notes swirling under the fridge but I need her to break down and cry and it’s just too cliche.  Everyone cries.  So what?

So I reopened the bible: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  I read, “Fix instead on who your people are and how they feel toward one another, what they say, how they smell, whom they fear.”

Then I was able to slow down.  What is happening around my mother while she was crying?  Maybe our cat is licking out of its dish and I think, “The sound of the cat’s tongue curling up all that water is so satisfying and sad at the same time.  Like hearing a humming bird zing into the backyard only to leave so quickly, you doubt he even came.”  I’m using that.

How do you have your mother cry?!  Post your answers, I won’t use them.  I got mine from fleshing this out.  Thanks Anne.

3 responses to “She Stood Crying in the Livingroom

  1. It IS the bible, isn’t it? I haven’t cracked it open in a while but I love that advice you found. So true. I think I need to type it up and tape it to my monitor:) Thanks for sharing. (Found you via SheWrites)

  2. Ugh… I linked you to my old, stagnant blog. Thanks for stopping by:) Here’s my current, soon-to-be-posting regularly blog:

  3. Yes, simultaneous events, slowing it down, all the other signs in the face, the hands, the body that lead to the moment that the tears fall, the ceasing of motion, seeing the mind working, understanding the culmination of events.

    Good luck, I’m sure it will be great.

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