Friday, September 18, 2009

Missing Persons

My mother's decided she wants to write a blog.

Ignoring the fact that she has no idea how to even turn on a computer and still refers to emails as "faxes," she tells me she wants to do this. I don't know why, but I always treat these type of pronouncements as if they're really going to happen. I start trying to problem solve.

I ask her, "What do you want the blog to be about?"

She says, "I want to find my missing cousin." She nods. "That's what I'm going to write about. My missing cousin."

I've been down a few roads on this missing cousin issue. Basically, before the war, one of her cousins went off into Russia, adopted by a childless aunt, and was never heard from again. I've worked on this for my mom before. I've gotten so tangled up in Survivor websites that I thought I'd never get out. I've researched genealogy, I've written to the Holocaust Museum. She's not going to trick me this time. I'm not going to get into a big discussion about the missing cousin. I stick to the topic: the alleged blog.

"Ma, a blog can't be too narrow. You can't just write about your missing cousin over and over. Your topic should be a little bigger."

She mulls this over.

"Then it'll be about the Holocaust."

Okay then. That's a bigger topic.

Of course I know exactly what will happen. Each time I take my mother seriously about this writing thing, she sits down at her desk, ready to write. It's going to be the worlds greatest book. It will be better than anything I've ever written. This is because she's already written the book in her mind, she knows exactly how it will start and how it will end; she knows all the dialogue she'll put in it. All the sons-in-law spend weeks at her house setting up top-notch computer equipment, clearing out memories, setting up a printer, and making everything easy to use. She's officially ready to write. She sits down and puts her hands on the keyboard.

Then she writes one sentence.

Unfortunately, it turns out she doesn't like the sentence. It doesn't sound the way that she imagined it would in her head. Then she gets frustrated because of that sentence and because she doesn't know how to erase it - apparently, she's looking for some White Out to dab on the computer screen. She doesn't want that sentence sitting there forever.

Finally she turns the computer off - by unplugging it.

If she seems serious again, I'll probably do the same thing all over again. We'll get her set up with a computer. I'll buy her some books, like "Blogging for Dummies." Then she'll start writing.

This time I'll teach her how to delete.


  1. smile and nod, baby, smile and nod!

  2. My mother recently bought herself a new laptop to start writing. She still hasn't touched it since I got it out of the box and set it up.