Friday, 22 June 2018

Tilting: A Memoir by Nicole Harkin @harkinna #BirthdayBlitz #BlogBlitz @rararesources #Tilting

We only learned about our father's girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.
Overhearing the nurse tell Linda--since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name--about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren't there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event--unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted. 
Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn't see for many years. 
In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist's fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.

Tilting: A Memoir by Nicole Harkin  was published in June 2017. I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, as part of the Blog Blitz, organised by Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources.

The author is sharing with us the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Nicole Harkin

Clara Barton’s autobiography, The Story of My Childhood, and then Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life
I remember my school librarian when I was in 3rd Grade handing me these books and devouring them. I could not get enough of these strong women who could over come any obstacle.

Looking for more, the librarian handed me Exiled, Story of An Armenian Girl, written by Serpouhi Tavoukdjian. Again, I raced through the book and started telling everyone about the Armenian’s and everything they went through. When Serpouhi survived the Armenian genocide the word genocide had not yet been invented. Eventually, I realized that this was the first piece of knowledge about the world that I held but my parent’s didn’t know. I could know something more/other than my parents. (As an aside I have sought to republish Serpouhi’s book but it is a copyright orphan.)

From there I jumped off into reading what ever my father was reading. Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, Iacocca—weighing more than I did—went back and forth to school with me on the bus for some months.

From there I moved into Science Fiction/Fantasy. And I stayed there for years. The Hobbit lead to Alice in Wonderland and then Alice Though the Looking Glass.

This led me to more of the books of my father, Dune and 2001 A Space Odyssey. Piers Anthony books were picked up in the airport gift shops, teaching me about the fun of puns inside an adventure. (As explained in my memoir, my parents worked in the airline industry and I was lucky enough to get to fly often from an early age.) In college I continued reading Ender’s Game, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Last Unicorn, and other’s in my elective English class.

I didn’t come out of my SF fugue until a friend of my grandmother’s handed me Red Azalea by Anchee Min. This world could be just as complex as a world created out of whole cloth. Since then my reading has skewed to non-fiction.

The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard and Jeanette Wall’s The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses are the books I aspire to have my work compared to. We all need goals.

Looking back at my books, I can see a thread of a theme emerging: reading about strong women who have overcome great difficulties. I like to think my book, Tilting, A Memoir, is similar, if on a much smaller scale. Linda, my mother, suffered greatly but gave me and my siblings the tools necessary to overcome adversity.

Nicole Harkin - June 2018 

Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. 
She works as a writer and family photographer. 
As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism. 
Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography. 
She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin. 

Her photography can be seen at

Find her on Facebook: 

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