Fourteen years gestation, three years labour. It’s been a helluva birth!
In 2004 Marilyn Norry sent a challenge to women actors in Vancouver Canada: write the facts of your mother’s life, just the facts, from beginning to end.
It was the start of My Mother’s Story, now a worldwide campaign to empower both women and men to see their mothers as women in their times — accomplishing goals, witnessing history, surviving as well as they could. These are the extraordinary stories of ordinary women that tell the truth of how women of the 20th century truly lived. Writing about your mother in this way contributes to a collective history where women are seen as well as heard.
This guide takes you through the process of writing the story of your mother’s life, answering questions and posing more. It’s a workbook, a writing exercise, a history lesson, a meditation journal, a project, a challenge, a manifesto, a call to action, an archive. It’s the start of many meaningful conversations; an empathy builder, a community healer, a voice builder, a shame shatterer.
By reflecting on family history and answering questions, your writing will shed light on the past but also expose and perhaps dissolve some of the assumptions you hold about your mother, your writing, and what you believe is your place in the world. It will prepare you for conversations on what roles and rules will benefit the human race in the future.
Finished mother stories are posted in our Archive where they are saved for present reading and future generations. If you wish you can post your mother’s story there as well.