In preparation for my mother’s visitation and memorial service this week, my sister gave my daughter two folders of my mom’s writings to put together in an album.

I knew that my mom had written many short inspirational pieces for religious publications in decades long past. As my daughter emptied the first folder these were there, in their published form.

But my daughter began to empty the other folder and read to us from those pieces. General short stories. Autobiography. Poetry. Character-driven fiction. More poetry. Some appeared to be final drafts while others were overlaid with her hand-written edits. Mixed into these drafts were typewritten submission copies, and at least one rejection letter.

I thought that my work was pushing well beyond where she had gone, but as it turns out she was exploring much further afield than I realized.

In a culture that idolizes individuality, it is easy to see ourselves – our passions and positions – as a result of self-designed, self-made outcomes. But this is rarely the case. We are often navigating pan-generational trajectories. It is valuable to proactively identify these so that we can knowingly add to a legacy or, conversely, take intentional steps to break free of destructive ruts.

In my case, I’ll continue to write. 

But with a greater sense of the forces that drive me to practice my craft.

*In memory of Marlene Joyce Schaiper Marsh Crump | 1937-2019