events, Slipper Camp

Slipper Camp: Mothers and Daughters


As Mother’s Day approaches I think about my own mother and her mother before her. The grandmother I never knew, the gentle woman who died in Auschwitz.

My mother, who escaped with my father, became a motherless daughter when she was only 24. She never got to say goodbye to her mother. And she never got over the loss.

I was raised by a woman with a deep motherwound. A wound she tried to heal by pouring her love into my brother and me. When that didn’t heal her grief she became a painter who poured her sorrow and joy onto canvases of color and light.

I was inspired to create MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS ONLINE WRITING SLIPPER CAMP when I studied this photo of my mother and me.

At three months old I’m trying to leap out of her arms. Eager to see the world. Unwilling to be contained. Looking for something out there, something my mother can’t give me.

My mother smiles tentatively. Her eyes are looking somewhere else, too. Somewhere she longs to be. We can’t connect.

That set the template of our entire relationship.

Five years ago I created 30 illustrated prompts for Mothers and Daughters Online Writing Slipper Camp, a 20 day course. Every year, I rewrite the prompts. Every year I’m blown away by the writings I receive.

I hope you will be one of ten writers who sign up for Mothers and Daughters Online Writing Slipper Camp. It begins the day after Mother’s Day, May 9th, and ends May 28th.

– You will receive three illustrated prompts every other day.

– You will send me 1,000 words on whatever prompt you choose.

– I will read everything you write.

– By the end of Slipper Camp you will have written 10,000 words.

– Then we will talk about your writings.

– It’s only open to the first ten writers who sign up.

– Please PM me for tuition cost and details.

– Payment secures your spot.

** Mothers and Daughters Online Writing Slipper Camp is a fundraiser for mothers and daughters in Ukraine. A portion of every tuition will go to – they are on the ground in Ukraine.

family, Memories

Baby Cries A Lot

My mother didn’t approve of tears. So she held hers in while her eyes got redder and redder and her face paled. But she didn’t cry real tears. Not if she could help it. Not like Baby Cries A Lot, the doll I wanted badly and finally got for my fifth birthday. The one who drank water from a tiny baby bottle then cried real tears, the baby-bottle-water magically coming out of her eyes and flowing down to her pursed pink mouth that had taken in the water that started this whole gorgeous flood. My mother laughed a lot at Baby Cries A Lot. But I was filled with wonder at her waterworks. There she was, a girl like me, with real tears cascading down her plastic cheeks.
Making Baby cry a lot became my secret passion. At least there was one female in my house who cried easily, plentifully and on cue. Not like my mother, whose soft cheeks detested salt water. Not like me, who knew better than to cry real tears. Because I didn’t cry, either. At least not in front of anyone. If I cried at all, it was when I was alone in my room with the door closed or in the bathroom. 
Crying was forbidden in our house – I’d been taught that by my older brother when I was four. “Don’t ask Mommy about her parents.” “Why?” “Because she’ll cry.” It was an order and I took it seriously. Making her cry was the worst thing I could do, I decided. And it looked like it was the worst thing she could do.
Time after time, I saw the struggle on my mother’s face as emotion threatened to overcome her. I watched her wrestle the runaway emotion to the ground until she got control over it. Her eyes reddening but not filling with tears. Her mouth clenching. I hated to see her like that so I would look away. I would make some excuse and leave the room. Leave her alone. So I didn’t have to see her at her weakest. Didn’t have to witness the melting of that ice-mountain she’d built around herself. Because I knew. Somewhere inside that mountain there was dangerous red-hot lava, threatening to erupt.
My mother’s daughter, I built my very own ice-mountain. Piled it on, slab upon slab until I had a personal igloo in which I could hide, safe and unknown. My feelings of grief hidden to all, including myself.