No one sent any of their writing exercises in, so there is no need to share.

I wonder, should we even try these anymore?



I happened upon a very interesting thing as I wrote my speech for the Outstanding Achievement Award that was given to me by LDS Storymakers.

(By the way, this honor blew my mind. I never expected it. There are many, many people who could win this. Many great people who have won–like Rick Walton–last year.)

So, while I was writing what I would say (because you know in advance about this) I figured out why I write for kids.

The truth is, I have a very 12-yr-old voice.

I remember parts of when I was twelve.

And, while I won’t share it here, when I was writing this acceptance speech I knew the MOMENT I became twelve forever.


How the world was upside down because two important people in my life  were both so ill. Both in hospitals. One in Orlando. One in Daytona. We lived in Longwood, right in the middle between these two hospitals that were more than 56 miles apart.

My family and I would drive back and forth, after I got out of school, nearly every day to see these loved ones.


I must have been tired.

Because one day my best friend Vickie Finlay said, “You shouldn’t be going every day. This isn’t something a kid should be doing.”

I can’t remember what classroom we were sitting in. But she turned around in her seat to tell me that. “Carol. Only your mom should be doing that.”


Have any of you ever felt like writing a memoir?

I know my dear friend Claudia Mills has. In fact she has an amazing first line that makes you laugh and feel sorrow at the same time. She is a terrific writer.

Anyway, some days, I think, ‘Should I tell my story? Do I make it official? Do I have enough memories? Do I want those memories coming back?’

I’m not sure.

Plus, there is this fact: I know my truth seeps out and into my writing.

Do I need anything more?


Here’s another thing: The Olivers–that line Nanny came from–could hold a grudge forever.

I have tried to not do that because I mostly love people, but there have been a few individuals, a handful, that I have gotten angry with and kept the fury-flame a-burning because that person–who probably never thinks about me–deserves my fury. For example, the woman who has caused me so much grief these past two months.

I should be angry with her!

I have no place to live!

And she’s the kind of person who would walk around Macey’s grocery store in her wedding dress and not buy anything. (I know this for a fact.)

(PS I have decided to stay angry a little longer. I will let this go when I am no longer panicked about  where we will go. I will stop my Southern Turnip Curse when all my stuff has been safely placed in my forever home. I will quit telling others what I hope happens to this woman once we move to a good place. I promise!)


That said

these grudges aren’t so great.

One of my family members hasn’t spoken to me–really spoken to me–in more than sixteen years.

And now her children, who meant the world to me–haven’t spoken to me in several years. Not one of them.

I am missing out on their lives.

Yes, this story, bits of it will wind up in books.



I think of how Ann Dee adores her mom.

That’s the way life should be.


I guess what I am saying is, even more important than all the books I have published or all the awards–and I have been very, very proud of these things–is who I am on the inside and my children. In the end, no books will circle my deathbed. Only my children and their families will. The Chosen One will not kiss me goodbye. Carolina Autumn will not hold my hand. Waiting will not tell me to “Go toward the light.”

Only my girls will.

Plus maybe my best friends (I have a few).

This will be my reward.


So I must do better. At all of it.

(Except the couple of grudge holding bits)





Filed under CLW, Depression, Family

10 responses to “Memories

  1. This is a beautiful post. Big congrats on your award, you deserve it. But like you, I also think your family is all that really matters. I would pick up and read your memoir in a heartbeat.

    • benschwensch

      Wouldn’t we all—when Carol can make as laugh and cry in the same instant; when she can make us see, and hear, and remember, all at once; when she can make us yearn, and wish, and wonder, without holding back. Whose memoire would we rather absorb, and take into our very souls to keep us company when we need a laugh, or a cry, or a hug?

      Thanks for the hugs, the smiles, the tears; the wishing, wanting, remembering, in just the few words above. YES, write the memoire. Then in 20 or 30 more years, write another one to bring us “up to date.” We’ll need it then, too.

      • CLW

        Brenda, we should get together every other week–a whole bunch of us–and write memoirs. It would be cool if we could get Louise or Tom Plummer to lead us, wouldn’t it?

        • benschwensch

          Oh, Carol! Memoire writing together would be terrific fun. I could write some about Tom, whom I knew in junior high school where we both worked on the school paper! Later, I took English from his father at the U of U, and won the Founder’s Day Speaking Contest as a result of his class. And I loved having Louise as my teacher at WIFYR a couple of years ago. When/where should we meet? I’d go ANYwhere to do that with you and . . . whomever!

    • CLW

      Thank you, Ilima. And don’t you have news to share?

  2. Amy

    I was so thrilled to see that you got that award!!!! You so totally rock in my book, grudges, forever being 12 or no–besides, who am I to judge (what with my 15 year old boy voice–no, I don’t have a good explanation to how that one happened) anyway — hang in there. You are a beautifully poetic and award winning writer, it’s who you are, you are fabulous.

  3. I don’t know how you relive those memories, Carol, and go on. They haunt me and I only know bits and pieces. You should totally move into our neighborhood, I’d make it possible if I could, because you would be loved and all the new memories would be boring. Boring is good, isn’t it? (That’s my claim at the moment.)

    And Congratulations on the award. Someone, a whole bunch of someones, know you are really a fine writer. (I think the word fine is underused, it really means top notch but no one dares use it, thinking it’s not wonderful enough when really, it’s an excellent compliment, even a fine one.)

  4. CLW

    I love the word Fine, Lynne.
    And I think you are amazing.
    Yes, boring is good sometimes. I agree.

  5. i’m so happy for you to have received this award because you deserve it and even more! you are amazing. truly. i’m grateful to read your books and your blog and to get to see you once in a while. this post is so beautiful. thank you for sharing so much of yourself. and i’m glad you found a house and i hope you can stay in it forever!


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