Memorable Read

Author Mote recalls friends,
places in Madison in book

‘Tapestry: Collected Writings’
includes stories of 1940s

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(June 2010) – “I’d almost forgotten that!” When Patricia Mote’s close friends read her latest book, “Tapestry: Collected Writings,” that was a phrase that kept coming up in their discussions of her work. In a collection that reflects on everything from a childhood spent at a Madison Inn to the excitement of attending a presidential inauguration, there are many memories to be shared and rediscovered. Mote explains that the title of the book was inspired by listening to Carol King with her daughter, but it soon took on a a greater meaning: “Your life is like a tapestry – artists and writers keep memories alive.”
While pouring through files of past stories and assembling new chapters, Mote, 79, found herself appreciating the experience of “going back and reliving these things.” Fellow writer Richard Hardy of Columbus, Ohio, believes that her book will remind readers of events in their own lives and that they will enjoy a similar thrill of recalling experiences from years ago. “Tapestry” is a book for people who want to remember and reflect,” he says.

Photo provided

Author Patricia Mote
has written seven books,
including a novel.

The recently released “Tapestry” is Mote’s first collection and her seventh book. Many of her previous works display a strong sense of history and include a novel set in the 1890s and a biography of early television newswoman Dorothy Fuldheim. Yet in “Tapestry” she draws from her own history for inspiration. When not writing, Mote serves as an editor and freelance writing consultant; she also gives talks on writing and manuscript preparation. Mote believes that “Tapestry” served as good practice for a class on memoir writing that she will teach this summer at Lake Erie. Two selections of the book in particular will resonate with Madison area readers and will likely spark reminisces of their own.
In “Jewels in My Crown,” the author reflects on five teachers who had a particular impact on Mote’s education and life. Mote profiles Helen Lotz, an English teacher at Madison High School, and Dr. Dorthy Bucks of Hanover College, explaining the educators’ influence on Mote’s own years as a teacher. Mote graduated from Hanover College in 1951 and while she only took one class with Bucks, “it stayed with me forever,” she reflects. She remembers Bucks as “such a marvelous person,” and when the author sent her beloved teacher a copy of her book on news anchor Fuldheim, she was delighted at the poignant letter she received in response. Mote highlights the fact that each of the women profiled were “absolutely dedicated to their calling.”
Another selection from the book focuses on the author’s years growing up in Madison. “Old Clifty Inn Revisited” explores Mote’s days as an innkeeper’s daughter. During the 1940s, Mote’s father, Joe McDonald, managed Clifty Inn.

Patricia Mote

Patricia Mote

While Mote recommends her work to “people of my own generation” she also explains that “I find that the younger people enjoy it, too.” She believes that readers “who didn’t experience some of these things” will find it interesting to learn more about history and the way ordinary people lived and reacted to important events.
Hardy believes that the power of Mote’s writing comes from her ability to “imaginatively describe simple experiences.” He points out the way she is able to capture the“awe and wonder” of a child hearing the voice of Franklin Delano Roosevelt over the radio and her ability to describe a van in such a way that it because a character in its own right. While Hardy laughingly describes Mote as a “tyrant” of an editor, he believes that in her writing the gentle and supportive side of her personality shine through. “Her audience is going to be the kind of people that remember and smile,” he concludes.

• “Tapestry” can be found at the Clifty Inn gift shop and The Floating Cow, both in Madison, or online at www.amazon.com and www.AuthorHouses.com

Back to June 2010 Articles.



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