One of the most rewarding things about writing my memoir, Who Do You Think You Are?, has been doing readings and talks, and meeting with book club groups here in New York, where I live, and around the country.
My readers are so wonderfully supportive, and it’s always interesting to see how many people feel or felt exactly the same way about their mothers as I did about mine. And I’m always gratified to hear that they, too, never felt they could admit this to anyone. Even themselves. Until now.
At a recent reading, during the Q&A portion - my favorite part of a reading, by the way - a woman stood up and told me that she, too, had a very challenging relationship with her mother, and always felt so alone. She was surprised how similar our stories were — and how much we had in common. The one thing we didn’t have in common was our religion, she said - and because of that never would have guessed that we might have had the same issues growing up.
And then she mentioned that she had written an email to me after she read my book — when it was first published in hardcover.
Oh, my, I said. Are you Roseanne?
And she was.
I think she was shocked that I knew who she was — and so was the audience!
I read and reply to every email I receive. All are important to me. Roseanne was one of the first people to write — a beautiful, beautiful email — and I’ll never forget it. Or her.
Often people ask me how I came to write my book — and they’re typically surprised by my answer.
I always wanted to write a book — and I’ve been writing this book in my head since I was 16 years old. A few years ago I had one of those “if not now, when?” moments — and decided that if I was going to do it, I had to do it. Now.
So I took a class. In memoir writing. And it changed my life. And that’s why I’m here now.
I think everyone has a story in them — and I encourage everyone to “write it down” as my father would say. Whether you take a class or join a writing group — or even just take a little bit of time during the week to write down some memories, there’s something wonderfully rewarding about looking backward and thinking about how you came to where you are now.
And if not now, when?