Because I Knew You – Guest Post by Kevin Mosher

I’m excited today to introduce you to my friend Kevin. I know Kevin from mutual participation in several writers’ groups. We’ve also played a version of “Props” from Whose Line Is It Anyway? as well as swing danced together.  Kevin’s a great guy.  He and I usually write about very different subjects, but have found common ground in the way we build our characters and the tension surrounding them as well as the theme of family that runs through both our works.

Kevin’s writing style is thoughtful, insightful, and often humorous.  I can’t begin to describe the unusual situations in his writing that have made me laugh out loud–evidence of an intelligent questioning mind that is constantly asking “What if…?”

For this piece, Kevin takes a look back to his early years at someone who helped set his life on a trajectory both simple and profound. Enjoy!

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BECAUSE I KNEW YOU

by Kevin Mosher

It is difficult to decipher just how an individual shapes another person.

On the one hand, they are insignificant, themselves constantly responding to outside forces: other people, world events, such that their influence is rendered to practically nothing.

And yet, to consider just the influence of a single person can be daunting, an accumulation of interactions that gradually yield tremendous changes. The daily act of making a meal or giving a ride, though it may be dismissed in a moment, becomes an enormous gift when spread over months and years.

My mother studied Interior Design at Washington State University. I grew up in a home that was lovingly decorated. Beyond the functional elements, the furniture and appliances, there was a mystery that dwelt there. In the bathroom, I considered the significance of the body which sank forks into another. As I practiced at the piano, which sat against the back wall of the living room, I stared into another interior, an airy sitting room, decorated with a high-contrast rug and rounded couches, nearly white. In a darker lit, sunken lower room of the house, I considered an exhausted sun which stared down at a metropolis below as the roads filled with cars and the skies were choked with airplanes, circling. The sea had turned green, full of barges, busy, but going nowhere in particular.

My mother left her job at a design center in Seattle’s Sodo district to raise my brother Peter and I full time before I began walking. My younger brother, Adam, came four years later, and she found herself compromising her aesthetic in the interest of cultivating three young boys.

My memory is foggy, but there is strong evidence that, with her guidance, we consumed large quantities of time creating visual things. We etched on the patterned floor with crayons and learned to draw from sight. It was only later, in the church and the school, that the stick figure was brought forth as a viable and acceptable illustration.

Unlike the institutions, she did not enforce a standard, but gave us time and space to develop. Further evidence of this remains in the way I hold a pencil, often cradling it in the crook of my thumb.

One of my sketchpads draws me back to a trip to the Burke Museum where I copied down a totem and carefully rendered a dinosaur skull. Somewhere in that house, there are other drawings, and photographs, annual entries and their ribbons, that witness to an active artistic life. Although I do not draw as much anymore, the visual element continues to come through in the way I learn and the way I write.

Perhaps the greatest lessons my mother has taught me are those of patience.

As I’ve slogged my way through a daily commute, leaving and returning to the house I grew up in for probably the last chapter I will spend here, I have come to realize how a routine can drag a person down. It requires an incredible amount of strength to fight, especially the unglamorous battles, against the squalor of the mind and body.

And yet there is my mother, a daily witness, every morning for years driving three boys to school (sometimes in three different places), every evening deftly preparing a family meal. In that turquoise caravan, she patiently rode with three student drivers, and, in later years, bore the fruits as we day-tripped to Eugene to observe Roy Lichtenstein’s take on interior paintings, with trick mirrors and decorative nods to Warhol.

On the drive home, I said it would be quite a life to fill with days like that, and she listened, silently knowing that in her daily rhythm she had found something better.

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Kevin Mosher is an electrical engineer, avid reader, and occasional writer. In a quiet moment, he might reach for a violin or, alternately, a dense, meandering novel. He also enjoys long, methodical runs and hikes in secluded places.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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