As I’ve been attempting to convert my diary from 1982 into a narrative worthy of publication, I am impressed with Joyce Madeline Kocinski’s “Letters From Mom: A Daughter’s Journal of Healing.”
Kocinski combined her grief journal, written the year after her mother’s death, with actual letters written to her by her mother over the years.
The result is a tender account of grief, yes, but more importantly love and how love transcends death. Kocinski’s writing is straight-forward, not literary; the magic for me lies in the editing of the book. When Kocinski writes about how she’s hurting or misses her mother, there’s a letter from Mom that says, “Take time for yourself — the Y — walks — massages — to unwind, your health is important,” as if Mom is speaking from the grave trying to soothe her daughter. The character of her mother is apparent through her own words. It’s a lovely and ultimately uplifting story.
I appreciate true stories like Kocinski’s. She tells an everyday type of story — no vampires, doomsday scenarios or bodice-ripping romances here — in a moving way.
Writing is like that. We don’t know what meaning will be imbued at some later point, how a throw-away line may hold poignancy and meaning in the future. Not every word is worthy of publication, but properly presented, some writing can be transformed.
- For more about how my own mother inspires my writing, click here.
- For more about the second edition of “Letters From Mom” and how Kocinski published on Amazon, click here.