Alison Fromme (www.alisonfromme.com) is a science writer who has tracked rattlesnakes, witnessed dynamite blasts, and eaten goat stew while on assignment for national magazines and regional publications. She’s now shifting her focus to creative nonfiction and embarking on her first book-length project, which explores two connected but disparate events: a traumatic cesarean section and the 18th century creation of a wax anatomical model (http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2016/09/28/guest-post-wax-work/). A Western New York native, Alison now lives in Ithaca with her husband and their two lovable, creative, kind, rambunctious kids.
What brought you to Listen to Your Mother?
I was so thrilled to discover Listen to Your Mother. Think about the first word in that title: listen. In our culture, do we truly listen to mothers, our own and those around us? Do we judge and minimize? Or do we support and amplify? How can we do better?
The premise of the show spoke to me, so I decided to audition. By sharing a painful story, I hope to let other moms know that it’s okay to talk about the hard stuff – necessary, even. Listen to Your Mother encourages people to share their stories, which then spark ongoing conversations about motherhood. It’s so important, and I’m honored to participate.
What piece of writing has moved or inspired you?
A chapter in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, titled “Seeing,” is particularly meaningful to me. The concept of seeing is so simple, especially for those of us with functioning eyeballs. And yet it is not. Seeing requires patience. And intention. And openness. And sometimes it doesn’t require eyeballs at all. It’s the opposite of carelessness, and busyness. These are some of the issues that Annie Dillard brings up. As a writer, I aim to question what I see, and to see more clearly. As a parent, I try to see my kids deeply, with thoughtful attention. This is hard work, and I fumble. Luckily, the ability to see is something that we can cultivate.
Who inspired you to write?
My gut response to this question is, “I’ve just always loved to write.” But there’s more to the story.
When I was a kid, my mother read to me a lot – and she often read nursery rhymes and children’s poetry with wonderful rhymes, alliteration, and cadence. Moon Song by Mildred Plew Meigs, for example, and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field. My mother introduced me to the beauty of language. Now, as an adult, no matter what I’m writing, I play with the sounds of words, I swap letters around for fun, and I find joy in mining connections between seemingly unrelated words.
That’s the thing about a mother’s influence – sometimes it is so much a part of who we are that we don’t see it, and we forget to thank her.