Writers are encouraged to read widely in the genre in which they are writing. As a result, I have been reading and listening to a lot of memoirs. It only recently occurred to me to share the bounty with you.
When someone has the courage to allow their life to be guided by their authentic spirit within, I am inspired. That is especially true when everything in their external life tells them they should be someone else.
Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin
Nicole Hardy’s memoir is funny and thoughtful as she allows us into her most intimate struggles with remaining faithful to her desire to be a writer and not the homemaker, wife, and mother that is supposed to lead to her eternal reward. As a single Mormon, she risks separation from all she holds dear to be true to herself and live a full life that includes expressing herself physically as well as emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Inspired by a professor in her MFA program, “Write what you fear,” Nicole wrote about her struggles with celibacy and read to a writer’s group of mostly strangers. They received her with great enthusiasm and encouraged her to send her essay to Daniel Jones, the New York Times editor of the Modern Love column. He found her essay, “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone” intriguing and published it. It was chosen as “notable” in 2012’s Best American Essays.
Most touching for me was the way her parents struggled to understand and accept their free-thinking daughter’s choices while never withdrawing their love for her, finally realizing the gift she had given to others in their faith by being her authentic self. Without knowing it, Nicole gave voice to the struggles of many Mormons, opening dialogue between parents and children and the church-at-large, creating the possibility of finding a better way of nurturing the singles in their midst.