Monday, March 18, 2013

Telling A Mother's Story

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others’ life.”  ~ Richard Bach

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.


LadyDi said...

Jean is cheering you on from her heavenly perch. Kudos to you for walking through the pain and sharing her story. I look forward to celebrating the publication of our stories.

Jan Backes said...

Hi Lynda,
It is great knowing you. I feel that we became a little closer when we shared during the Journaling Workshop. I agree with Diane. Jean is quite proud that you wrote 'her' story. Looking forward to our getting together soon when the anthology comes out. Till then, take care,

kathleen pooler said...

Lynda, you have shown the ultimate gesture of love in keeping Jean's spirit alive through her stories. I feel I have me her through your lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing Jean with us.

ep said...

Dear Lynda,
No one who reads "Jean, Jean" will misunderstand your motives of love, respect and joy. Having been there as you worked through, clarified, revised and honed your story, I shout 'Bravo.' So would Jean, I'm sure.


Unknown said...

Lynda - what a lovely tribute to Jean! Your story illustrates how writing can take us on our own personal journey and how that trip can be healing and can also honor our lives and those who have traveled with us along the way.

Unknown said...

Lynda, I love your story. Jean, Jean is a wonderful tribute to a woman who meant so much in your life. I'm proud to be on this journey with you.

Candice said...

Hi Lynda-

You honoring Jean through your writing is the most treasured gift you could give her. Thank you for feeling safe enough within the circle to open up and share Jean's story with us.
It's been a pleasure getting to know and work with you. I can't wait to celebrate our hard work.