Friday Focus: Mother Dearest

Today marks the inaugural Friday Focus writing prompt here on The Family Yarn. Friday Focus prompts are intended to assist you in the crafting of your own narrative family history, using individual scenes or vignettes as the building blocks of a larger story. Each week, we will provide some jumping-off questions to get your brain working so that you can spin a short tale about a specific person in your family tree. These scenes should be short (250 to 300 words), but still function as a stand-alone story, something you might share at a party or around a campfire.

This week, write about your mother.
  • Did/do you call her Mom, Mama, Mother, or something else? Why?
  • Did/does she work outside the home? Where and for how long? How did/does her work match (or not) her personality?
  • What community organizations was/is she involved with?
  • What hobbies or crafts do you associate with your mother?
  • Describe her cooking - do any particular foods or recipes remind you of her?
  • Where did your mother grow up? Is her hometown near or far from where you were raised? If near, what memories do you have of visiting her childhood haunts?
Do not answer all of these questions. The assignment here is to write just a single brief scene in the larger story of your mother's life. If you like, come up with your own question to answer. Just get writing!
A brief note on citations: In genealogy, we work with lots of facts, often uncovered as the result of lengthy research. It is critical that our findings and our reasoning be well-documented. This is not the site to teach you citations [for that, see Evidence Explained], but I strongly encourage that you do cite your research. Some of our prompts, like today's, will rely heavily on your own memories; if, however, you refer to specific documents (like a marriage license or an inherited diary), please make the effort to record your citations. Your descendants will thank you when they are able to trace the facts back and reach the same conclusions you did.
I encourage you to share your stories with the others on this site. Feel free to copy and paste your narrative in the comments below or provide the link to your blog. One of my favorite ways to improve my writing is to read others' examples. By sharing, we can all learn together how to make our family history a story worth reading.

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