Mark McLean, a Canadian prairie boy who moved to the West Coast, has spent the past few months living in Michigan and sixteen months prior in Dominica. His time abroad has allowed him not only the opportunity to meet locals and expats alike, but also to get writing. May we all be especially grateful for the latter.
Mark’s newest project involves taking a look into, not the people he meets, but the parents who raised them. He was inspired to start the blog Of Our Parents.
“The Of Our Parents project started when I was sitting with my family over dinner, and my uncle shared a story about his mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Her ability to remember is failing, and the story, like many memories about parents, was bittersweet and funny. I thought it should be written down. That’s how it began. I started interviewing others shortly thereafter.
The way we view our parents and parental figures is one of the most powerful and confounding perspectives in our lives. It is often difficult to explain or appreciate, but everyone has stories to tell about those who raised them, good or bad. They make for remarkable narratives. Of Our Parents is designed to relay these stories in an article every Sunday.“
In his blog, Mark takes the first moments to introduce his interviewee. He captures their first impression, mannerisms, and way of speaking in just a few short lines. He allows us, the reader, to hear their voice in our head. All the interviews are recorded, allowing full quotations and the interviewee to truly dominate. We hear the stories directly from the mouths telling them. This highlights where the importance lies.
The stories themselves are chosen by the interviewees. These often seem to be inspired by those vivid childhood memories and shaped by the adult relationship they now have with their parents. Through this style, the project hopes to create a rich, intimate study of family life.