I’m convinced writers are born, not made. But whether they go on to fulfill their destiny depends on whether they’re lucky enough to have a mentor
who tells them the writing’s wonderful and understands the art of the gentle critique. I was extremely lucky. I had my mom.
From age eight to age twenty-eight, I subjected the poor woman to every essay, every story, every angst-ridden poem. She let me know early on
that she wrote, too, and no, it wasn’t weird to hide in your bedroom closet and scribble on legal pads. How she coaxed my sister, who shared the
room, to let me have the closet, I’ll never know. It was my first office, and I reveled in the solitude.
My mom died way too young, long before I made the NYT list. But by then I had a grown daughter, born a week before my mom’s birthday,
who said to me, “You’ll need some help. I’d like to do that.”
In no time at all she became essential to my writing life. I can’t imagine functioning without her as I deal with website issues, promo and travel. Most
important of all, she reads my manuscripts before I send them off. As she tells me the writing’s wonderful and practices the art of the gentle critique,
I hear echoes of her grandmother. The circle is complete, and to have this gift twice in a lifetime makes me the luckiest of writers.