Friday, May 6, 2016

About epilogues and mothers and pitch-ins and hearing us roar

by Liz Flaherty

Wednesday night at church, we had the annual Mother-Daughter gathering that celebrates Mother's Day. It was a pitch-in--with Methodists, there is always food. It's a small church in a small community and there weren't that many of us; there were nearly as many in the singing group that entertained us as there were in the crowd. My daughter was there, and it was a good time.

Most of the women who sang to us, sitting in their sparkly vests and their black bowler hats, were my age (65) and older. Their leader taught music at our elementary school when my kids went there in the late 70s and early 80s. Others were retired teachers, nurses, farmers, and everything else on the employment spectrum, including stay-at-home moms. A couple of them had canes; one was unable to stand when the others did.

They sang with joy, skill, timing, musicality, and warmth. They laughed with each other and with us. They supported each other. They shared their talent, their time, and their knowledge. They interacted with the children in the crowd and the music teacher hugged my daughter--twice--because even though Kari is 44, Mrs. Dielman still remembers her.

It made me think of the epilogue debate among romance writers and editors. Should we write them or
should we not? I come down on the "should" side because as a reader I want to know for sure what happens to the heroine I've invested my time in. I want to be invited to the wedding or to the birth of the firstborn. However, I've never really thought about an extreme epilogue, about where those heroines are 40 or so years later.

Until I attend writers' meetings where most of us are retirement age. Or sewing days with my extension homemakers group when we sew hundreds of garments and toys for the children's hospital. Or talk to my friend's neighbor who's 91 and still gardens. Or see them dance with the ones they share their lives with. Or watch them sing.

That's when I know. With canes and separated-into-days boxes of medication on their kitchen counters, the heroines are still sharing and supporting and being women, hear them roar. Kick-ass heroines didn't start with recent generations but with the ones before us, our mothers and theirs.  the ones who taught us to roar. And share. And support. And love beyond all limitation and write about it. That's their epilogue.

Happy Mother's Day.

26 comments:

  1. Great post! I believe our support of one another is what makes us strong. Isolate us, and we lose some of that strength. You're lucky to have so many good people around you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you're one of them, Cheryl. I absolutely agree that support is essential.

      Delete
  2. God bless you, Liz, for sharing this wonderful post! As usual, you made me cry.... Happy Mother's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I read your posts, I'm often envious of my "city kid" upbringing, although I do know this camaraderie now with women in my church, my dear friends, and my community at the lake, it's come to me late in life. It occurred to me as I read this that few people I know now don't remember me as a kid or even remember my kid as a kid. Thanks for this--it's heartwarming. Our "women's brunch" which is pretty much a mother-daughter event turned into a sister brunch for me and my sis and it was pretty special, too, for all the same reasons. Yeah, epilogues are nice...you're so right! Happy Mother's Day, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Mother's Day to you, Liz! I love epilogues, especially with stories where you're just not ready to leave the characters! LOL.

    Hugs, Becky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do, too, Becky, and it adds to the urge to re-read because epilogues are like special prizes at the end. :-)

      Delete
  5. Happy Mother's Day everyone. Great post, Liz. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Liz, you rock as usual! Happy Mother's Day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carolyn, and Happy Mother's Day to you, too!

      Delete
  7. We are so lucky to live our own epilogues, some of us into the 90s and increasingly passing the century mark. Thanks for the heart-warming post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a lovely lovely post! And I can't think of a better way to celebrate Mother's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm a fan of both prologues and epilogues, but I never thought of going that far into the future. Hey, if it worked for the end of the Harry Potter series ...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I only have epilogues in about a third of my books, but I've recently come to understand that readers -- and reviewers--love them. So I will be putting more of them in. Hey, Liz, I also have a 44 year old. We must be of similar age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have ones 46 and 42, too, Cheryl. It was a busy time there for a while! I'm not sure how many I've put epilogues in, but I know I enjoy reading them.

      Delete
  11. What an interesting idea - an epilogue set 40 years or so after the end of the story! I'd wonder if the couple beat the odds and all the interesting things that might have happened to them in the meantime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, Hannah, and 20 years ago I'd have thought it a goofy idea. Not so much now!

      Delete
  12. Lovely post, Liz. As to the subject of epilogues, I like them, but I really didn't start including an epilogue in my books until a couple of readers said they loved the book they read but wanted it to have an epilogue.

    ReplyDelete

Subscribe to this Blog!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner