This month, we feature an essay from our archives: Stowaway by Arianne Cope.
In this essay, Arianne recounts a childhood spent as a subject of her mother’s books, magazine articles, and newspaper columns. As an adolescent, she cringed when she saw her mom at work – until the summer she discovered a drawer filled with her mom’s unpublished books:
One summer, out of sheer boredom, I wandered into Mom’s study and peeked in the bottom drawer of her filing cabinet. In it I found several folders filled with entire books she’d pounded out on her old typewriter. Dramatic historical novels, love stories, mysteries — all the things she’d never dared let other people see. I was immediately interested and read a few pages of a novel. Her published material had always seemed robbed of its sacredness — anyone could read it. But these books? They had the satisfaction of half-opened popcorn kernels. Their unedited plots had a delightful, gritty crunch. It was like watching Mom pose in front of a mirror without realizing she was being watched. Fascinating. So I pulled out one book at a time and read every word, quietly slipping into Mom’s study when I’d finished one to exchange it with another.
Write about your transformation from childhood to adulthood in terms of how you interact with your parents. Describe a specific experience in which you saw your mother or father through the adult eyes of admiration and respect. What effect has that experience had on how you are raising your children?