Friday, April 30, 2010

Win a copy of "Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps"

Just in time for Mother's Day: I'm giving away two copies of "Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps" (Penguin Press; $21.95).

Edited by Dave Isay, this book includes some of the best stories about and by moms, collected from thousands recorded by Americans from across the nation.

If you'd like to enter to win a copy, leave a comment with your name, or some way to identify you -- not just "anonymous." I'll randomly choose two winners and announce the results here on Tuesday.

And if you want to know more, here's my column on the book, running in Sunday's Living section:

A Mother’s Day gift suggestion from Dave Isay: Interview your mom. It’ll be a gift for both of you.
If you’re an NPR fan, you may recognize Isay as the founder of StoryCorps, the seven-year-old project that has recorded the stories of more than 50,000 people.
Friends or family members do the interviews, the Library of Congress collects them all and every Friday, NPR’s “Morning Edition” airs one.
These stories are funny, poignant, authentic. Often, they’re extraordinary stories told by ordinary people. Often, they make listeners cry. “I’ve gotten maybe 10,000 e-mails from people saying ‘Every Friday, my mascara runs,’.” Isay told me recently.
Now, you can read some of the best in “Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps” (Penguin Press; $21.95). This new collection, edited by Isay, includes people talking about their moms and moms talking about their lives. It, too, would make a fine Mother’s Day gift.
Among the collection’s stories is one from Charlotte’s own Valerie Jo and Hagos Egzibher. Hagos is from Ethiopia. His mother, Zodie, came to America in 1989.
In the Egzibhers’ story, the couple recalls how their two mothers formed a bond, even though they didn’t speak the same language. And Valerie Jo remembered the time Zodie attended a performance of Charlotte’s singing Christmas tree: “…the tears were streaming down her face. I didn’t know what the tears were about until after we’d left, and on the way home she said, ‘I didn’t know God would let me live to see anything this beautiful!’.”
The couple told their story in 2008, when StoryCorps brought its recording booth to Charlotte and parked it at the Main Library. Zodie had died a year earlier. “My husband said this would be such a wonderful way to honor our moms,” Valerie Jo Egzibher told me.
At the end of book, Isay includes a list of interview questions designed to elicit rich answers. Here are some:
What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?
What are you proudest of in your life?
Do you have any regrets?
Is there anything that you’ve never told me but want to tell me now?
Go to for more questions and interviewing tips.
Isay, by the way, has interviewed his own mom, and it was, he says, a great experience. “The one thing I’ll guarantee – no matter what,” he says, “you’ll find new things.”


Heather Luisa said...

Always wanted to do the same type of thing - interview my mother (as well as grandmother!) for family facts and note for my child and their child and so on!

Lynne Stevenson said...

What a wonderful concept for a book. Wish I had done the same thing before my mother passed away 13 years ago. Lynne Stevenson

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to interviewing my mom this mother's day. What a great way for us to reconnect. She has recently relocated nearby after us living apart for thirty years.
Terry Bauer-Brown

Pamela Diamond said...

I heard one of the StoryCorps mother's stories Friday on my way to work with one of my postpartum doula clients. This particular client is having a hard time adjusting to the normal challenges of motherhood such as a baby who doesn't sleep well yet. Nothing is out of the ordinary, it just takes time and patience. The story I heard was of a mother whose child was killed in a freak car accident and the pain of realizing she would go on living. Suffice to say I was in tears when I arrived at my client's home. For a moment I thought how easily it would be to say to this new mother, "Count your blessings and stop whining." But in truth, her reality right now is a challenging and painful one for her even though, thank goodness, she has a healthy little baby to hopefully mother for a lifetime!

Would love to win a copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of this book....thanks for your column.....Val Charlotte NC

Regina Floyd said...

What a great idea! Although I've heard many stories from my mother, I will interview her further because none of us have recorded her tales. She has had a tremendous impact on all of our lives (6 of us), as well as her grandchildren and great grandchildren. We all need to hear stories about her life in the mountains of North Carolina. Her culture on the farm has disappeared. Indeed, rememberance is a gift for us all.

Regina Floyd

Pamela North said...

I bought 'Listening Is An Act Of Love' because I was writing, loved StoryCorps, and was estranged from my mother who I dearly wanted to reconnect with. I was going to send a copy to her, to illicit some connection. I was afraid she'd respond unkindly, and didn't do it. Needless to say, she won't have me in her life. She's 80, and I have missed so much it breaks my heart. Maybe this time...

Phyllis Moore said...

I'm embarrassed to say I have never interviewed my mother. Granted, it's not like the concept has been bandied about in public circles. Until now.
Your column, and the book referenced there, provided a lovely "lightbulb moment" for me.
I'm a reporter. I interview people every day. Unblinkingly, I'll ask what it felt like for the woman who became a mother at age 14; what it's been like for a family with a mentally retarded child; and a myriad of other invasive and sensitive questions.
I've strived to create a comfortable, caring environment for people to trust me with their stories.
And yet, it was only recently that I even knew what my own mother had wanted to be when she grew up.
How did I discover this? My 21-year-old daughter unearthed it during a conversation with her grandmother.
Apparently, she inherited the interview gene and applied it to her own family.
Something I'm now even more adamant about doing. Before it's too late. Before the opportunity passes to get to know this wonderful woman I've been in awe of my whole life.
OK, so I won't be the one to write the book on this subject. But thank goodness such a book has been written.
Maybe I'll even receive one of the copies...
Phyllis Moore, Goldsboro, NC

Melissa Grey ( said...

It's funny how we come full circles with our mothers. When we are born we crave their love, time and attention; but as we go through our teenage years we spend our time and energy running from the thought of being seen with them or having to have the dreaded "how was your day?" conversation. As we enter our adult years we again desire those long conversations with our mothers, interviewing their own life experiences. I would love a copy of your book.

LaurieS said...

What a timely column for me! My grandmother passed away this week, just a month shy of her 85th birthday. Because she was our family historian, we feel as if we've lost a big piece of our collective history as well as a beloved mother and grandmother. And I intend to follow your suggestion and ask to interview my mom: this grandmother was my dad's mother -- my mom's mother-in-law, but my mom lost both of her parents decades ago and was extremely close to my grandmother. She regarded Grandma as a sort of second mom. So I think she'll see my asking to interview her as a fitting tribute. LaurieS, Charlotte

Brenda said...

As I get older, mom stories touch my heart. I did ask my mom before her passing for things about her life and I feel so lucky to have this information.
Brenda Gale

Anonymous said...

T.D. Hanna
I have a Goddaughter that is very close to me since she was 8 - now 30. During this year, her Dad died in January and her Grandmom died in March. While I always knew the importance of family, it has become clearer this year. And certainly, Mothers Day will be extra special this year.