I had the privilege of hearing Judy Batalion speak to a classrooom of writers during a Sue Shapiro seminar last November. Judy is one of Sue’s many success stories–published authors who return to inspire current students and to share that Sue’s methods work.
Judy was a model of Sue’s promise – a former student who had successfully submitted articles for publication, became a regularly featured writer for the NY Times Motherlode feature where she wrote humorously and touchingly about being a parent in the city, and onto become a published author.
Her recently released memoir, White Walls, is a beautifully written recollection of growing up with a mother who was a hoarder. As I read it, I found myself equally open-jawed in disbelief at the imagery the author creates, while also smirking at her wry humor and evaluation of her own familial situation.
Her deft writing and wise, matured perspective, make for a fascinating read about an eye-opening reality that more and more people are coming to grips with, now that it’s been openly named.
Judy shared generously with our class about her process. She talked about the time sequencing of her book–how it switched chapter to chapter from her past and life at home to her married life in NYC and starting her own family. Hearing how she worked with her publisher was informative and inspiring.
The major question many of us had was how her mother felt about this exposé. Initially, Judy worried about exactly that, but ultimately did give it to her to read. Her mother’s feedback? She thought the ‘tone was off’ in Chapter 20 but otherwise loved it.
Congratulations to Judy for this enormous accomplishment, her courage and her talent!