My cousin Rhoda

My mom wrote to say that Rhoda Janzen’s father Edmund Janzen and my mother’s mother (Anna Janzen Funk) were first cousins. So Rhoda and I are…what? third cousins? I am not surprised. As I have mentioned before, Mennonites all seem to be related in some way or another.

Mom also sent me a link to a Mennonite Weekly Review review of Rhoda’s book, mennonite in a little black dress, and my friend Ruth gave me a link to the review in the New York Times.

It gives me pause to read the reviews. When my memoir, Birth Mother is published, how am I going to handle the comments about me and my life, my mother, my Mennonite Brethren childhood, my writing, my friends, my choices? I have written my truth with as much integrity as I can muster. Very early in this process, when the idea of speaking the truth about my life seemed overwhelmingly scary, my friend and doctor Paul Epstein gave me this sentence from Thomas Paine, which I still have in my kitchen:  “But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.” But then what?

The other day I went into Waldenbooks and stood for a long time in front of the rack of best-selling books, imagining what it would be like to have MY book on the shelf along with The Lost Symbol and Going Rogue. I felt kind of panicky, to tell the truth.

Nonetheless, I am looking for an agent.

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