Laundry Lines: A Memoir in Stories and Poems

Laundry Lines: A Memoir in Stories and Poems

975 Reads 193 Votes 23 Part Story
Ann Elizabeth Carson By annelizabethcarson Updated Sep 22, 2016

Why do we remember what we remember?

As Ann Elizabeth Carson looks back at the long laundry line of her life strung with memories, in a rare combination of visceral, sensuous prose and poetry she explores how many Western women lived and were shaped by the 20th century. 

Laundry Lines: A Memoir in Stories and Poems considers the hidden world of women and how they  communicate a rich subterranean world of emotion and knowledge to one another, weaving often unexpressed inner lives into the fabric of their public roles. Lines of laundry are a metaphor for the stories we remember, the tales we select from the past and hang on the line: hung out to dry for all to see and examine. 

In focusing on the moment, Ann Elizabeth’s stories and poems also unravel the complex emotional and often-painful undertow in families: secrets and lies, stories of betrayal – even among trusted sisters – tales  of loss and of enduring love. Over time we see the slow reconciliation with the blows and beauties meted out by life that comes with age, and the healing power of the deep sensual salve offered by surrender to nature. 

Through Carson’s work we grasp how crucial, even life-saving, it can be to tell our stories, not only for our individual survival, but also for the collective endurance of humanity. The stories and poems in Laundry Lines shed light on current personal and world struggles by mapping myths and archetypes over family stories, revealing the shared fabric we all weave on a personal and public level. 

As we plumb the depths of our own wounds and learn more about ourselves, we understand our connections to our beleaguered Earth and become ever more capable of treating her compassionately, and of daring to speak out about what is happening to our home.

    annelizabethcarson annelizabethcarson Mar 14, 2016
    Now at my cottage in the summer the clothes smell of lake water and sometimes new mown hay
    - - Mar 14, 2016
    Lovely imagery! Reminds me of when I was younger and how I'd put on clothes fresh off the line and smell like the hydrangeas all day haha
    knightwriter knightwriter Dec 13, 2015
    Now we just throw everything into the dryer, so no one knows what our laundry looks like:)  The past and the memories associated  with the act of the  mother hanging up the laundry are so well evoked in this deceptively simple but eloquent  poem.  lovely @annelizabethcarson
                                  ~)Kay
    sloanranger sloanranger Dec 09, 2015
    I like this, Ann, the exactness of the hanging clothes- and your Mom already : )
    sloanranger sloanranger Dec 09, 2015
    I like this, Ann, the exactness of the hanging clothes- and your Mom already : )
    CottonJones CottonJones Sep 25, 2015
    Thanks for the memories (and the symbolism) of days gone by when we hung our laundry out doors on a line to dry, Ann. Lpf, Olan