Like Mother like … Son?

My mother just published her first piece of professional writing at the age of 82. The article, entitled "The Fun in Fungi," was given a two-page spread in the March 2012 issue of More of Our Canada magazine.

My mother started collecting ceramic mushrooms more than a quarter century ago. The pieces, life-size, lifelike reproductions, were made in Lantz, Nova Scotia. Originally designed for museums, word spread of their artistry and uniqueness, and collectors sought them out. My mother is one of those who now take pride and pleasure in their collections. She owns more than one hundred.

As far as publishing goes, I suppose you could say my mother is a late bloomer, but it's probably more accurate to say she has a unique sense of timing. I remind myself that this is the same woman who returned from a trip to New Mexico some years ago to announce she'd just taken a ride across five counties in a hot air balloon. Apparently, it was something she'd wanted to do for years. While I'm happy to have writing in common with my mother, I doubt I will add ballooning to the equation.

When she showed me her article, my mother told me how proud she was of her writing skills. It was a good, straightforward telling of her love of collecting, along with a short history of the ceramic pieces. In fact, I was as much impressed with the writing as the fact that she'd got it published in one of her favourite magazines.

Still, the writer in me wanted to know more. Was there anything she'd do differently? I asked, knowing my own fondness for textual revisions. She thought this over a moment then said, yes, in fact there was something she would have done differently: "I’d send them a different picture of me."

"Why?" I wondered, thinking the photo an accurate portrait of her standing in front of her display case. She hesitated. "Well, I’d send them something a little younger," she said.

Ah, but of course. There was that family resemblance again.

Jeffrey Round is a Toronto novelist and filmmaker. His most recent book, Lake On The Mountain, was published by Dundurn Books in January. Visit: www.jeffreyround.com.

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