"In the end, we'll all become stories." - Margaret Atwood
Forthcoming publication in 2020
Motherlands is my fictional memoir, tracing the struggles of three women, over three generations across three continents. Resilient in the face of intergenerational difficulties, these women unknowingly limit their life choices. Inhabited by trauma, their own mothering is profoundly impacted and they often choose survival above truly living their lives. Whether because of their sense of shame, numbness or lack of awareness, pervasive layers of silence alienate them and limit their experiences, scattering their sense of self and scattering the families they devote their lives to.
“A woman should always have her own money,” is their mantra.
All three generations of women are ensnared in male-dominated environments, such as industrial Liverpool’s Bootle shipyards and military bases in Germany, England and Canada, then rural Australia. The honour rolls and epitaphs are full of men’s names but the true toll of war and social upheaval is borne by the legions of invisible women and children such as these.
Ethel is a tiger. In her mission to protect her only daughter Margaret, she pushes her into early marriage. ‘The ties that strangle’ best describes the events that follow. She alienates and manipulates her children’s partners, even her grandchildren.
Ethel haunts the lives of Margaret and her granddaughter Maggie. She is the embodiment of the trauma and damaged mothering that drives this story and these women’s lives. This story travels over oceans, moving through abuse and resilience, isolation and connection and finally compassion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - MAGZ MORGAN
"Fair Game" in the 2019 WWC anthology. Melbourne Writers Group Anthology: A Winter Selection of Short Stories https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47786753-melbourne-writers-group-anthology
Journeys in Peace Education: Critical Reflections from Australia, ed. Toh. Swee-Hin, University of New England – Contributor.
I am a multi-cultural, multi-lingual chameleon with an academic background in intercultural studies. When I came to Australia in the early 1970s I drew no connections between my family’s origins, my life on military bases and the cultural and feminist issues I was soon confronted with. Nor did I understand the profound implications of that act on the women of my family. Now, I do.
I have written a fictional memoir, feminist, apparently a fast read… powerful, moving, timely. Although it is deeply personal, the catalyst for writing it is the awful awful tide of women and children impacted by war and social upheaval… and the fact that men get all the honours while women are so resilient… and above all, invisible.
My main interest in writing is the voices at the edges, the perspectives of people who experience life very differently to the mainstream… people who look unremarkable on the surface.
I particularly like to challenge the ways women are perceived, illustrating how they view and interact with the world. I like to show how resilient they are in the face of trauma, displacement, exclusion and how they display their courage and initiative.
Currently, I am working on a second book set in Arnhem Land about the relationship between three key figures: a gay man, an Indigenous elder and a woman. I also write short stories and poetry and paint.
As depicted clockwise in the images above, my muses are: Allan Bennett, Charmian Clift, Laurie Lee, then Isabel Allende and Margaret Atwood surrounding me. These five authors reflect the diverse sources and experiences I draw on. They "give me permission" to write about what I do and the way I do.
"Write what should not be forgotten." - Isabel Allende
"A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together." - Margaret Atwood
TRIBUTES and REVIEWS
was thrilled to welcome the contribution of Maggie Morgan to our ever growing list of writers.
Maggie's short stories formed the backbone of our new event, Open Can of Words in which authors are invited to step up to the microphone and win over an unruly cafe crowd with their insight and humour. In Maggie's stories both these qualities and many others are available in spades. A particularly effective story was her recounting a visit to Cuba and some robust banter with impatient German women in the toilet. Along with raised eyebrows, there were also many wry smiles of agreement in the room.
Maggie was also a popular guest at WRAP17 poetry events including her public reading at Beechworth Post Office, in which she reflected on the art of writing to an enthralled local audience, and readings at Pennyweight winery, where her more dramatic and romantic words gained an airing. In this current era of social media and associated over-sharing of life's trivialities. it's not fashionable to talk about the grandeur and sheer beauty of romantic language but Maggie's dramatic rendition of her own work proves that there is still a welcome space for such a style in poetry.
Daren John Pope, Vice-President, Beechworth Arts Council
About "Canadian Jam and the Magic of Martha Jiminez"
"It is our pleasure to publish your article [on our website] and to admire such a beautiful story." - Martha Jiminez, Cuban artist working in sculpture, ceramics and paint. (Jan. 2017)