My experiences in multiracial, developmental psychology provided ample fodder for the story of Mattie and Lisbeth. I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own. There are scenes in the book that were largely influenced interactions I had with children from Woolsey. As a birth doula I have the privilege to witness the intensity and joy of childbirth. You can see that my birth experiences are reflected in the novel as well. I recently started working as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland. I live in a small co-housing community in Berkeley, California, with my wonderful wife, Rinda, our amazing children, Kalin and Maya, and our crazy dogs, Bella and Lucie. Yellow Crocus is my first novel.
I was surprised when the writing bug bit me. The idea for the story came to me in 1998, I was with a group of people talking about Tiger Woods. Someone mentioned that he identifies as much as an Asian person as an African-American person. I thought to myself, "Of course he does, his mother is Asian. You form your core identity in relationship to your primary caregivers. It's a basic part of the attachment process."
Then the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. For my fortieth birthday, I began the personal
by Laila Ibrahim
Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she...
Bereits Augenblicke nachdem Lisbeth geboren ist, wird sie ihrer Mutter weggenommen und Mattie übergeben, einer jungen Sklavin, die man von ihrem eigenen Kind getrennt hat, damit sie dem Baby als Amme dienen kann. So beginnt eine intensive Beziehung, die das Leben der beiden Frauen auf Jahrzehnte hinaus prägen wird. Obwohl Lisbeth ein...
«Mattie nunca fue del todo mía en realidad, y la conciencia de este hecho tenía que haberme colmado con la misma prontitud y certeza que la leche de sus senos. Pese a ser “posesión” de mi familia, pese a hallarse en el centro mismo de mi universo, sus afectos más profundos habitaban en otra parte. Por eso el consuelo de tenerla...
Categories: All Historical Fiction; Contemporary Fiction
by Laila Ibrahim
Jenn Henderson is proud of the church-centered life she’s created for her family. She prays each morning, attends worship every Sunday, and confidently takes up the struggle to defend traditional marriage when she learns marriage licenses are being issued to gays and lesbians in nearby San Francisco. But the certainty that she is...
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