Do you get along with your mothers? Do you get along with your daughters? I know you’re speaking the same language—but how well do you understand each other?
I know I’m all grown up—I’m a veteran TV reporter with 26 Emmys–but there’s still part of me that turns into a little girl when I’m around Mom. And I want to please her. But it’s not always easy.
When she first started reading FACE TIME, the newest Charlotte McNally Mystery? She was not pleased. At all.
She called me—I’m in Boston and she’s home in the Midwest. I could tell, instantly, it was not going to be a fun conversation. You have to imagine the "Mom" tone. Perhaps, you’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve used it a time or two yourself.
Turns out, Mom was unhappy with FACE TIME. Very, very unhappy.
To be sure: Mom is terrific. She’s just over 80, and is absolutely beautiful. An artist, a reader, a wonderful intellect. (She doesn’t have a computer, so she’s not reading this.) I’m her oldest daughter, and any psychologist will tell you that can cause some friction.
So anyway. Why was Mom mad? She thinks I’ve “used her for art.”
It’s true: Charlie McNally’s mother in FACE TIME is a bit—persnickety. She’s opinionated. She thinks, for instance, that Charlotte might want to give up her very successful 20-year TV career to marry some tycoon and become a trophy wife. No matter that Charlie is happy with the personal life (pretty happy, at least, for a 46-year-old single woman who is married to her job) and happy with her professional life (pretty happy, at least, even though she’s fearful she’s going to be replaced by someone younger).
Mom also thinks Charlotte (she refuses to call her Charlie, saying, “nicknames are for stuffed animals and men who play sports”) might want to visit the plastic surgeon for some face time of her own.
Now Mrs. McNally is not, I repeat, not, my mother. But in these days of controversy over whether books that are purported to be memoirs are actually true—I find myself fighting to convince her that my book is truly fiction.
It’s ALL MADE UP, I tell her. Yes, Charlie has a Mom, and I have a Mom. But I’m not Charlie and she’s not you.
Silence on the other end of the phone.
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