My daughter, Elisabeth Sophia Lee, is a writer for her school newspaper “Liberty Life”. This is her latest article, “Liberty Student Co-writes Novel With Mother” (Feb 2018 issue) in which she describes what it meant to cowrite her book, Mother Daughter Speak.
Buy the book to see why I am so proud of my daughter. Please read and share this article.
Liberty Student Co-authors Book With Mom
by Elisabeth Sophia Lee
My mother has always been a big influence on my life. She guided and supported me through every aspect of my life. After my grandmother passed away, my mother and I endured pain and sorrow and our relationship was left with a large hole. This book project helped heal our scars and built our relationship to an even greater extent. In our book, described from both of our perspectives, we share some of the heartache we experienced as well as the exciting moments in our lives. Our hope is to influence other parent-child relationships to grow closer, especially in times of suffering.
I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing a book with my mom. None of my closest school, ballet, or church friends knew about this process. There was a part of me that worried we would never publish the book. The other part of me knew that writing a book as a high schooler sounded like an impossible task and I didn’t want to face confusion or doubt. So, I hid the project from the world beyond my home. It was especially difficult to discuss it with any of my school friends. Of course I wanted to shout about the progress we were making but writing a book wasn’t necessarily a relatable topic. So, I decided to keep our project a secret.
I knew when the book was released, it would be the biggest surprise; I couldn’t wait.
My mother and I have been writing the book together for over 3 years; we began compiling our stories and reflections when I was just in eighth grade. It was a long and meticulous process but a memorable experience nonetheless.
Though this never-ending journey resulted in a happy ending, as you can imagine, it wasn’t exactly the easiest process. It was often that my mother and I had disagreements about what to write or how much time I was taking to complete a chapter. During a period of time, it was difficult for me to manage schoolwork and write the book at the same time. I felt guilty that my mom was always able to multitask and compile her stories for the book, while I could hardly maintain my schoolwork and extra curriculars. But when we found the time, we spent hours upon hours of strenuous work trying to compile our thoughts. With this process, there was frustration, anger, and relinquishment.
Despite the constant bickering between my mother and I, my mother guided and supported me the whole time. In fact, I think these past years were the years my mother and I became the closest. While reading and editing my mother’s chapters, I got to discover a more personal side of her I had never seen before. She wrote about her difficult childhood and the challenges she faced as a young immigrant child from South Korea. My mother faced discrimination at school and other public places. During these difficult times, my mother became close to her mother: my grandmother. I never doubted the love my mom had for my grandmother and I always knew they had been best friends. One of the chapters in our book talks about my grandmother’s passing. While reading my mother’s reflection, I couldn’t imagine the pain and heartache my mother must’ve felt. I realized how fortunate I was to have a mother who supported, loved, and cared for me.
My mom had never really expressed and discussed those topics with me and so by reading her stories and reflections, I naturally felt closer to my mom and was able to create a stronger bond.
I learned so much about my mother and I realized the power and influence of storytelling. Sometimes, it seems easier to communicate through writing than it is face to face. My mother and I believe that “The pen is mightier than the sword. Writing is powerful. It can form our ideas, it can change out perspectives, and it can even change the world.” This entire journey taught me so much but most importantly, to cherish my family and those around me.
Although you don’t necessarily have to write a book to gain these experiences, as there are many avenues and opportunities that can acquire the same attributes, writing this book helped me to become more understanding, self-aware and appreciative of the small things in life. Learning to appreciate and care for the people around you is an irreplaceable feeling. This book took a whole village to create and the process was not exactly an easy one. Nevertheless, it formed a special bond and it evolved into a piece of memorabilia that my mother and I now get to treasure.
Elisabeth Sophia Lee
Elisabeth Sophia Lee is a junior at Liberty High School where she is the junior student school board representative. She is also a captain of the BASD Mini Thon committee, member of G.R.A.S.S. club (environmental club) and writer for Liberty Life (school newspaper). She has been dancing for 13 years and has performed in PYB’s “The Nutcracker” for 10 years. She has been performing in school plays since elementary school and is part of Liberty Theatre where she performed in their production, West Side Story. She is a certified EMR with Cetronia Ambulance Corps and blogs at Loving Life. In her free time, she plays piano, writes, and sings in the worship team at the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem.
[book cover designed by Theodore Andrew Lee & Naomi Bu]