Wednesday, September 14, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Book That Changed My Life (06)

Day 06 - A book that changed my life
When I was sixteen I wrote an essay about my relationship with my mother. At the time our relationship was difficult to say the least. I wrote this essay to submit to a open call for "personal essays" from teenage girls for a future anthology, all the while thinking that really it would only be me and my best friend who would actually read it. Partly because of this, I was incredibly open and honest and very, very blunt.

If I had known the essay would actually get chosen as part of this anthology - that countless strangers and my mother would actually read it - I would have written on a different subject entirely. But amazingly, my essay was chosen and because of this so much has happened. It was the first piece of writing I got published and because of it I've been able to write on topics I'm passionate about on both the Huffington Post and I Heart Daily. I've met amazing people, including the editor of the anthology and a fellow Red author who is now one of my very best friends. When I look back now at what I wrote I feel like my writing since then has improved so much, but I'm also very proud of the essay. It was very honest and, at the time, the best writing I could do. There are lines that I love just like there are lines that make me cringe.

I don't know how much this essay has to do with the fact that four years after the book's publication, me and my mom have a very good relationship. Some of that, I know, is just the fact that I've grown up and matured, but I do think that some has to do with the fact that writing my essay forced us to have some very honest conversations. It forced us to confront (my) issues. There are definitely times since that I've wished I didn't write the essay - there's no way to know how much my words hurt my mother. But those times aren't often and I am overwhelmingly glad and grateful for that first "break" into published writing and all that it has led to both with my life and my writing.


  1. I'm not surprised in the least that your essay was chosen and published in this anthology--it was well-written, beautiful, and moving. I remember reading it when the book was published and identifying with the same issues that you struggled with as a teenager. Of course, I wasn't technically a teenager any more. Doesn't matter!

    A lovely post as usual.

  2. I loved your essay -- it's the reason I bought this amazing book. You've done what all of us struggle to do -- write your truth. It's never easy, but it's important, and I admire you for it. Keep writing, Jordyn.


  3. Jordyn, this is so cool (you being in this anthology) I'm definitely going to try to get my hands on copy.

  4. Clementine Bojangles
    Oh, thank you so much! Am flattered. I was so surprised at the number of people who've told me that what I wrote about was "universal" - at the time I had no idea this issue cropped up so much with mothers and their children. I just thought I was a freakazoid. (Which, you know... I kinda am.)

    sarah ockler
    Ahh!!! Thank you so much - I'm honored that my essay was the reason you bought the book in the first place. :) Your words mean so much to me.

    Yay! I hope you read it and like it, or at least read it and like some of the other great essays in there. :)

  5. Jordyn, I found this book in a library bookstore in Cincinnati, OH. It got around! You're so awesome.