“If you had asked me, after I graduated college, whose voice I would hear in my head for the rest of my life, I’d have said some combination of my dad’s and my roommate Tracy’s and Jackson Browne’s. I would have continued with ten or twenty or two hundred others before I got to my mom. But now, give me almost any situation – termites, refinancing or back pain, mean girls or sibling rivalry, a child’s despair, a husband’s inattention, or my own spikes of rage and regret – and watch how fast I dial her number.” –Kelly Corrigan, Glitter and Glue
Mother and daughter. Daughter and mother. The first relationship a girl has with another girl is with her mother. And although sisters and girlfriends are important throughout life, I didn’t truly understand the significance of the women in my life until my mid-thirties – when I found myself in the thick of all the notions that had previously been glorious abstract ideas of youth:
When I graduate college…
When I get married…
When I have children…
By the mid-to-late 30’s, for many, these are no longer fantasies. I was certainly in it by then: child-rearing and marriage and juggling family responsibilities with a job; attempting to create and channel a great vision of life with family, while managing the lives of multiple people and hoping I didn’t miss any of the important details. During this time, my girlfriends and sisters and mother achieved a greater status. They understood what I was – what I am still – going through. The women in my life witness the evolution of my children with me. They understand that life is not at all what we expected it would be, but crazily beautiful nonetheless. And I certainly hear the words of my mother in my head and coming out of my mouth on a regular basis.
I first “met” Kelly Corrigan on Facebook, when someone shared her youtube video, “Transcending.” After watching it, I immediately did the following:
- Got a tissue to blow my nose and wipe the smeared mascara from my face.
- Shared the video with my beloved circle of women friends.
- Googled “Kelly Corrigan” to see if there was anything else she had written.
I found her second memoir, The Middle Place. The book would have a prominent place on my nightstand over the next few weeks.
Each of Kelly Corrigan’s three memoirs (Lift, The Middle Place, and Glitter and Glue) is presented from a unique perspective through the filter of a different special relationship. Reading all three, I never felt like I was reading the same story twice; just uncovering layers of a life that feels familiar, while making me laugh and cry in all the right places. While The Middle Place focused on Kelly’s delightful relationship with her father during both of their cancer experiences, her newest memoir, Glitter and Glue, reveals the family’s foundation of strength, when her mother explains, “Your father’s the glitter, but I am the glue.”
In Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan masterfully reflects on her experience as a nanny in her twenties, with a young family whose mother died too early. A survivor of breast cancer herself, Corrigan illustrates how this early-adult experience has grown more poignant through her own life, while the voice of her own mother gains prominence as she mothers and evolves as a woman. Her mother’s words wisely appear throughout the memoir in italics – the voice in Kelly’s head providing a sense of peace and safety to the cards life deals her. All of this is woven together with her thoughts and experiences as a twenty-something. I found myself viscerally remembering what it feels like to be fresh out of college; peeking at the world through idealistic and “worldly” twenty-something eyes, while also knowing what’s to come to put it all in perspective. I imagine the book reads differently, but with equal captivation, for a younger audience.
THE ACAC EVENT: An Evening with Kelly Corrigan
Last spring, as a loyal subscriber to Kelly’s e-newsletter, a message arrived in my inbox announcing the release for the paperback version of Glitter and Glue. In the e-mail, Kelly wrote, “I kind of have this fantasy about a book tour that helps raise $1 million for various non-profits around the U.S. through a network of smart, philanthropic, entrepreneurial women… wouldn’t that be SO COOL?”
I had met with ACAC Executive Director Chris Glatfelter just days earlier to discuss the possibility of bringing in a popular author to do a reading or speaking engagement as part of a fundraising event, so the e-mail felt a little like Kelly was reading my mind. I immediately sent a proposal to invite her to our arts council, and she accepted. The Adams County Arts Council is now part of a nation-wide philanthropic Glitter and Glue tour.
Reading her work makes me want to know more about Kelly, her experiences and the wonderful characters that people the Corrigan family. On March 20, we will all have that opportunity.
Join us on Friday, March 20 at 7 pm for an evening with Kelly Corrigan, as she celebrates the paperback release of Glitter and Glue. Your $35 registration for this fantastic evening includes:
- Wine and hors d’oeuvres
- Live music presented by local jazz group, Pomona’s Trio (Lisa Cadigan, vocals; Bret Crawford, saxophone; Marc Jalbert, guitar)
- A presentation by the engaging Kelly Corrigan
- A paperback copy of Glitter and Glue
- An opportunity to have the author sign your book.
Don’t want to wait in a long line to check in or to have your book signed? Want to enjoy preferred seating at the event? Register as a “VIP” for just $15 more. Your additional contribution supports the Adams County Arts Council, making it possible for us to bring you more events like this one, serving our mission to cultivate an arts-rich community.
We can’t wait to welcome Kelly to the ACAC, and we hope you will join us!
Click here for a preview of Kelly’s thoughts on Glitter and Glue: