Our Tyehimba Jess episode aired on January 31st, which is the 5th anniversary of my mother’s sudden death. Five years later, I still feel compelled to use that word sudden, as if it might help to explain why, I haven’t gotten over her death five years later. But the grief has changed.
I’ve written about my mother, Diane Wolkstein, and about her death in my memoir MOTHERs and I’ve talked about her on Commonplace, many many times. I’ve given away some of her amazing books as patron gifts. And, when I started this show, I used money I got from selling her archive to the Library of Congress. My mother was an extraordinary woman—a storyteller, author of over 25 books for children and adults, a teacher, mentor and friend to many. At the very end of the Tyehimba Jess episode, after the credits and the music, I’ve included an excerpt from one of my mother’s radio shows—for many years she was the host of "Stories from Many Lands" on WNYC.
During the month of February, anyone who becomes a new Commonplace Patron, any current patron and anyone who makes a donation to Cave Canem can request one of several titles by my mother. All you need to do is complete this short form selecting your book.
As my mother’s literary executor, as her daughter, I want her books to be out in the world, enjoyed and shared—for her stories to reach the ears and hearts of whomever wants to listen.
Diane Wolkstein, November 11, 1942 to January 31st, 2013, may her memory be a blessing.