About “Behind These Doors” Published Excerpts

Clemens siblings: Carleen, Gordon (Larry), Catherine (Cathy), Liz (Betty), Claudia

Clemens siblings: Carleen, Gordon (Larry), Catherine (Cathy), Liz (Betty), Claudia

My writing began with “Queen Bee,” a short piece I wrote some years ago that cracked me open like an overripe pomegranate, spilling emotions I’d kept inside since I was a kid. When I shared it with my siblings, it gave us a connection we hadn’t had. That led to a reunion, created out of my interest to know more about my mother. Being raised by her only from the time I was five until I was nine, there were gaps in her life I wanted to know about. Relatives appeared on my doorstep, arms loaded with food and soft drinks. Four generations—a grandmother, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren—sat in a double circle in my living room. I requested everyone introduce themself with a story of how they were related to Mom, along with a memory of her. I wrote out the tales told, which triggered others, and then others, and when they’d all been written down, I found I had a book.

Clemens siblings and Chatfield cousins gathering

Clemens siblings and Chatfield cousins

Chronicled throughout are diaries, letters, and pictures stashed in our attics and closets, my own memories and assumptions cluttered in between. I spent five years writing this memoir, and due to an upset it caused with my sister, put it away for another five years, waiting for a couple of people to die. By 2013, it was once again and idea whose time had come.

The original title: If It’s Not One Thing… It’s Your Mother, was snagged by another author before I got around to finishing the final editing. I like Behind These Doors, not quite as much, but it does tell the story. While writing a second half (I was advised to continue beyond where the original book ended when I was twenty), I took a sidebar: shoulder pain wound around my neck and down my back and my anxiety level kicked into high gear, creating havoc with the rest of my body, so I put it away again. In the meantime, I chose twenty vignettes from the book, recorded an audio, and published  a small, abbreviated version. And there you have it. And no, I’m not putting the whole book on tape. Twenty is enough already.

My website, www.sevenau.com (along with several blogs) tells about the book. I’ve included the Prologue with audio (under the link Behind These Doors) to give you a sense of the twenty excerpts. In the meantime, I’m working on the rest of the story. To be continued…


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