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My essay Midnight Typing is included in the collection What My Mother Gave Me, edited by Elizabeth Benedict, and out now from Algonquin Books.

My mother gave me many gifts, and one of them was the encouragement to write.  She led by example, often writing into the night after she’d put my sisters and me to bed.  Her artistic spirit inspired me, and it’s embodied in a little drawing she did shortly before she died.  The pen-and-ink sketch depicts her scottie Gelsey; just below, in her shaking handwriting, is the phrase Beware of Wee Ferocious Beastie. For several months it hung in the window of her kitchen door, and it was quintessentially my mother in so many ways–if you knew her, you might know what I mean.  Even when she was dying she guarded her solitude, her time for writing and painting and sketching.

I keep the drawing framed in the kitchen of the Connecticut beach cottage she so loved; it makes me think of her and feel her presence and support.

The book contains work by so many writers I love and admire, and I feel immensely honored that Liz included me.  Here are the other contributors: Roxana Robinson, Caroline Leavitt, Maud Newton, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Katha Pollitt, Ann Hood, Margo Jefferson, Emma Straub, Mary Gordon, Judith Hillman Paterson, Cheryl Pearl Sucher, Abigail Pogrebin, Reverend Liilian Daniel, Celia Munoz, Elissa Shapell, Karen Karbo, Charlotte Silver, Rita Dove, Luanne Rice, Elinor Lipman, Martha McPhee, Dahlia Lithwick, Mameve Medwed, Susan Stamberg, Joyce Carol Oates, Sheila Kohler, Marge Piercy, Eleanor Clift, Mary Morris, Lisa See, Elizabeth Benedict

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Drawing by Lucille Arrigan Rice:

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