Our About the Authors series continues with Lynda Clemens.
What inspired me to write fictionalized memoir about my first mother-in-law, Jean? I distinctly remember the day I was unpacking boxes from my home office after yet another move. Seeking to thin out my ever-expanding paper piles and files, I was reading and triaging various paperwork when I came upon the unlabeled plain brown envelope. Inside I encountered various newspaper accounts of Jean’s death, her obituary and the church program from the funeral service. A note in my handwriting declared “Must tell Jean’s story.”
Reading everything over, I was immediately back in that painful, unexpected and ill-prepared-for scenario. People die, after all, from old age, grave illnesses, or horrible car accidents. Loved ones, in particular, do not get struck by AMTRAK trains in the middle of the night and find it labeled a “tragic accident.” I’d rejected that notion the moment I heard how Jean died. I had promised myself to write what I believed was the story from her point of view based on our long-standing surrogate mom/daughter/friend relationship.
Getting involved with the Women’s Writing Circle in 2012 after my retirement, I seized on the chance to fulfill that promise. With the patience, encouragement and meaningful feedback from the open-minded, supportive women I met in the Circle, my story, "Remembering Jean, My Mentor and Confidante," emerged in time for our anthology, Slants of Light.
The writing experience was tortuous, fun, nostalgic, insightful and cathartic. I felt revisiting Jean’s impact on my child and young adulthood reinforced the gratitude I will always feel for how she helped me grow and mature in a positive direction. I explored experiences I had not revisited for many, many years from the new perspective of aging and, hopefully, with a touch of maturity and lessons learned along the way. So . . . “Thank you, Jean. I love you very much.” And thank you ladies of the WWC for all your support.
Lynda M. Clemens is co-author of Hit the Job Running: Because landing the job is the easy part, 3rd edition. “We wrote this book to help employees succeed as quickly as possible in a new position because we were involved in layoffs. We knew why people were being selected to be laid off and it was frequently due to behaviors only indirectly related to work output. We wanted to help people learn to quickly correct these behaviors.” As a recent retiree from three decades doing Information Technology projects for large corporations, Lynda has chosen fictionalized memoir as her next challenge. “I want to share my life’s lessons with others. Perhaps they can glean some valuable insights into their own lives.”
Lynda holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Temple University. A Philadelphia native, she currently volunteers with an adult literacy program and is a member of the Women’s Writing Circle in Chester County where she resides.