Truth is stranger than Fiction

     Momma: Gone is fiction, but yes,it is based on my life. It is fiction because I changed the names of everyone in the book, even combining characters around a single issue. I did that to make the book read more like fiction, to give the main character more of an arc.I also changed the way the large problem was resolved in the story to make it more "fiction"-like. Without giving it away, Sweetie, eventually finds a way to fix her problem (and her brother's problem) herself. She stops watching her life and acts in it, instead. That is not what happened. I will let you wonder about that.
     I also combined some of my memories and some of my brothers to show a more complete picture of the settings where the story takes place. I do not remember the KKK rally, but my brother does. That is because when my grandmother told me to come inside because the Klan was having a rally, I did. My brother on the other hand, was curious, so he didn't. While I was inside watching Gunsmoke on television,my brother literally saw the white sheets and the writing on the outhouse walls.
   Although I changed the names of all of the people, almost all of the major adult characters in the book are now deceased. I was probably the closest relative to all of them, and probably didn't have to ask permission to tell the stories or use their names, but I chose other names to make it easier for me to write, and to make it easier for those who knew the story to read. As personal as the story is, and as much as I think I owned the story, there are others still living who might think otherwise. My mother, "Momma" was their ________ (fill in the blank). They knew my father when______(fill in the blank again). That all may be true, but their memories are not mine.
     I recently visited my uncle. He hadn't read the book. He said he wasn't ready, but my second cousin, whom I talk to maybe twice a year, had. She'd promplty called my uncle and was disturbed by parts of what I had written. She was distrubed by my truth. I don't know if that is because she didn't know, or because, like so many others at the time, she did and could not decide how to act,or didn't discuss it.
     I am not sorry that I told my truth. I'm sure the same truth belonged to so many others. When I talk to people, they say things that make me remember other details that I wish I had known. My uncle speaks of a money tree in my mother's hospital window the day before she died. When he told the story, I remembered that day too. Am I bitter about the truth? No. I have to admit that despite all of the things in the  book,. I like what I have become, and am happy that I had to courage to look back. Sometimes, you have to look your roots in the face to understand and appreciate your path.

Momma: Gone by Nina Foxx


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