Wedding pics 383This is the second installment of my column, CNF 500. The column will deal with topics related to anything and everything creative nonfiction, and will be 500 words. As essays editor of The Nervous Breakdown, I’m always ready to consider essay submissions of any length for publication. Please email essays to ekleinman at thenervousbreakdown dot com.

Facebook is a bitch.

I never figured out how to post status updates and links to specific people. When I publish an essay somewhere, I usually just email friends and family I know would be interested, if they can tolerate the topic. For example, I love my cousins in Arizona, but would they really want to know about how I got my cherry fisted as a young dyke in Seattle? Probably not.

I get a phone call from my mother, which goes to voicemail. My cousin’s wife, Bonnie, posted a link on Facebook to an article I wrote about parenting. My mom saw it and commented under the link: “Erika never tells me anything!”

I listen to my mom’s voice message. “Well,” she says, “I saw your article, because Bonnie told me about it. It’s very good, I don’t know why you didn’t tell me.”

I call her back. “Hi, Mom.”

“Hello,” she says. She sounds bewildered. “I saw your article.”

“I know,” I say. “I listened to your message.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t tell you about it because I remembered that on January 5, 2014, you said you didn’t want to read any of my writing.”

“I was just talking about the sexual stuff!”

“Oh. Okay,” I say. “That wasn’t clear to me.”

“You can send me anything that’s normal.

I tell her I’m not sure what that means, but I can send her links to things and she can decide if she wants to read them or not. Therapy has been good for me.

I email her that evening with links to two pieces I wrote for Mutha Magazine.

March 3, 2014 9:30pm

Hi Mom,

I have a few articles that I’ve written recently that don’t involve sex. Just so you know, you’re welcome to read anything I’ve written, anytime. Not only do I write frankly about sexuality and my past, I also write frankly about my experience growing up, about you and Dad, and about my brother as well. You got a taste of that with the piece I wrote about Liam and his purple shoes.

I’ve been enjoying writing. I think it’s very important for women to tell their stories, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve even been getting some attention from writers and editors I really admire.

If you’d like, I’ll continue to send you links or copies of things that I publish that do not have a sexual theme.

I love you, thanks for being interested. In the past, you and Dad have been pretty supportive of my writing and I always really appreciated that about you guys.



March 4, 2014 6:23pm

Hi Erikeee,

That was a very sweet email, thank you. Yes I would like to get links and copies of your work. I love your writings.

Do you think I could handle the sex ones?



March 4, 2014 6:25pm

Well, you are Dutch and I am forty years old.



She doesn’t mention it, the next time we talk.


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ERIKA KLEINMAN is a writer in Austin, Texas. She has work published or forthcoming in The Rumpus, Salon, Mutha Magazine, elephant journal, The Baltimore Review, Camroc Press Review, The Apple Valley Review and others. She enjoys Lipton tea and puzzles.

2 responses to “CNF 500: Your Mom and 4 Others Like This”

  1. Shelley says:

    Sometimes silence is best.

  2. It is indeed golden.

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