Cathy A. E. Bell

Personal Essays and Poems by Cathy A. E. Bell

Category: Estrangement

My latest essay…

ranch

I spent a year working on my essay “Drive-by”. It started as fragmented, became a narrative, grew huge, shrunk back, and on and on. I needed this essay to be perfect. It’s my heart. It’s my baby. I’ve never loved an essay I’ve written more than this one. It chronicles a turning point in my life, a moment I could admit I missed my mother after years of no contact between us.

It’s taken a while to find the right home, but it DID find the right home at Full Grown People, a journal that that looks at “the sometimes glorious, sometimes messy, stuff that comes with adulthood.” I can’t begin to list the people who helped me workshop this piece in all its forms (thank you everyone!), but I will say thank you to Lynn Hall who has been the biggest champion of this essay since I wrote it and for her amazing editing skills to help me cut 1500 words from it. And thank you to FGP’s founder and editor Jennifer Niesslein for publishing and fine tuning it. I am so happy to have this essay birthed into the world today. I hope you’ll share in the journey (both the journey to publication and the literal drive-by of the story) with me.

“I wonder if reliving our childhood through day-long drives, as we often do, gives us insight to the ways the past intertwines with the now. Sometimes we don’t know how we really feel until we come close to the object that excites us, or haunts us, or excites and haunts us all at once, like our mother.”

http://fullgrownpeople.com/2015/09/01/drive/

A new essay has just been published in The Rumpus this morning!

I’m very excited to announce my latest essay publication in The Rumpus this morning.  It’s one of the shorter essays I’ve written, so it won’t take long to read. Thank you!

 

Mom sent my blue baby book to me once in an act of severance.  As I flipped through the musty pages I found where she recorded my first sentence:  “Momma, see!”

Read the whole essay here:

http://therumpus.net/2014/11/the-sunday-rumpus-essay-cold-blue/?fb_action_ids=10152906764449739&fb_action_types=og.likes

(Photo by Kristin Basta)

My Mother in a Song

 

My poem “My Mother in a Song” was published at http://run-to-the-roundhouse-nellie.com/readers-house/ this month, so I wanted to post it here as well. The prompt was MOM.

catsunglasses

My Mother in a Song

She is the orchard
and the peaches that come later in a jar.
She is the music playing from the radio, filling the car.

“Seasons in the Sun”
“Hooked on a Feeling”
“Sunshine on My Shoulders”
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”

She is a clean house,
the smell of Windex and the clear pane of a window.
She is the music dancing from the cabinet stereo.

“You Make Me Feel Brand New”
“Shining Star”
“I Can See Clearly Now”
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

She is also the black, chilly night
an absence of light, a void without stars.
She is the music blaring out from the bars.

“Dark Lady”
“One of These Nights”
“Drift Away”
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”

And she is the gap in the baby book,
the blank pages after age four (where writing should have been).
She is the music whispering from the record’s spin.

“When Will I See You Again?”
“Day by Day”
“Song Sung Blue”
“If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”

Still,
She is blanket laid out by the mountain stream,
roasted marshmallows, fried chicken,
bologna sandwiches—the goodness that picnics bring.
She is the song the artist loves to sing.

“The Best of My Love”
“Rocky Mountain High”
“Jackie Blue”
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”

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