The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #196: What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About

Content warning: This week’s episode includes adult language, and we’ll be talking about abuse — physical and emotional. If that’s a sensitive subject for you, keep that in mind before you listen.

Michele Filgate spent over a decade working on an essay about the abuse she experienced as a teenager from her stepfather. But the essay isn’t about him — it’s really about her mom. She titled it “What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About,” and when it published on Longreads.com, it went viral.

Since then, Michele made an anthology collection featuring even more writers with their own takes on their relationships with their moms, including one by novelist Nayomi Munaweera. We’re featuring both Michele and Nayomi’s essays today on the show.

Tune in to hear two different essays about the wounds our moms can leave us with — and what, if anything, can be done to start the healing.

Michele Filgate (Photo by Sylvie Rosokoff)

Nayomi Munaweera

A Reading List For Exploring Mother/Daughter Relationships

You can read Michele and Nayomi’s essays in What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence as well as essays by Kiese Laymon, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, and many more. If you’re looking for even more memoirs about family, Michele recommends these books that she read while working on her essay:

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden (Michele also loves this essay by T Kira Madden, Against Catharsis: Writing is Not Therapy)

Joy Enough: A Memoir by Sarah McColl

Jello-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom