Book Birthday! Song of the Plains

Book Birthday! Song of the Plains

I’m excited to announce the pub day for my new memoir, Song of the Plains—A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence. As I look at the cover of the huge sky and golden earth, I marvel at how ideas and stories are born into the world. It’s amazing to see the scenes and stories that have been locked in my memory show up in a book! And it’s surreal to see in print our family history that goes back more than 100 years. I think all memoirists feel both awe-stricken and a little panicked when their book comes out!

My new memoir was inspired by an obsession to learn more about my family, especially my grandmother and my mother. I wrote about our three-generational pattern of mother-daughter abandonment in my first memoir Don’t Call Me Mother through the point of view of a child, but now I wanted to explore the story through a longer lens and from an adult perspective. Decades after they died, I was still getting insights and deepening my compassion for them. Most of my life, I didn’t know the details of what had happened to my mother as a little girl.

My grandmother raised me after my mother left when I was four, and when I was very young, my great-grandmother Blanche told me that my grandmother had left her daughter, my mother, behind when she left to work in Chicago. I first met Blanche when she was eighty and I was eight. Together on a featherbed the first night I met her, Blanche whispered the stories of the times she’d lived, life in the 19th century—her marriage in 1894, the death of her husband two months later, unaware he was going to be a father. Blanche told me about midwives, baking bread in a wood cookstove summer and winter, feeding a family of nine, and the hardscrabble life of farm women. She told me about my mother, called Jo’tine when she was young, and how sad it made her that my mother and grandmother didn’t get along. That night, I stared at Blanche in wonder—she was a walking history book!

After that, I was forever hooked on stories—I’d eavesdrop on the adults’ conversations, ask endless questions about who and why and when, eagerly searching for the layers of truth and lies. I believed that these stories were clues to why people acted the way they did. I thought that if we understood someone’s history, we could put aside our differences. We could tolerate and even love each other better. Of course, that does not always happen, no matter how much we know.

This book is bigger story than just my family. For forty years, I continued the genealogical research I’d started as a child, searching in dusty courthouses and finally on for clues about my grandmother, who had rebelled against the expectations of her family and society by eloping when she was seventeen, and later leaving her daughter behind to work in Chicago, away from the farm work she hated. I learned about the permissions neither of them had to explore their world freely, to become a whole person. I saw that our family’s past revealed the history of America, a story bigger than we were. The history of the Great Plains is woven into our own history, a land where the blood and bone of family hearken from and where we are released. The song of the plains I listened to as a child comforted me in times of strife, woven through with the sounds of birdcall, and the wind. The swish of the wheat in June, golden fields as far as the eye could see.

I was surprised as I wrote the book that all these themes wanted to become part of the story. My friend and colleague Brooke Warner says, “Listen to what the memoir is telling you it wants to be.” So I did!To read more about Song of the Plains, please find my author page

Please join me at my launch events: Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, CA, June 24, 6:30 PM

Please read this post about Gallery Bookshop.

Book Passage, in Corte Madera, CA, June 30, 7 PM.

I would love to see you there and talk with you about your writing journey!

Linda Joy


Don’t Call Me Mother–A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness


Don't Call Me Mother. By Linda Joy Myers

“I wanted to tell the secret stories that my great-grandmother

Blanche whispered to me on summer nights in a featherbed in Iowa.

I was eight and she was eighty . . . ”


At the age of four, a little girl stands on a cold, windy railroad platform in Wichita, Kansas, to watch the train take her mother away. For the rest of her life, her mother will be an occasional and troubled visitor who denies her as a daughter.

Linda Joy Myers’ compassionate, gripping, and soul-searching memoir tells the story of three generations of daughters who long for their absent mothers, all the while unwittingly recreating a pattern that she’s determined to break. Accompany Linda as she uncovers family secrets, finds solace in music, and begins her healing journey. Learn how she transcends the prisons of childhood to seek forgiveness for her family and herself.

This new edition includes an afterword that wraps up the saga as Myers confronts her family legacy and comes full circle with her daughter and grandchildren, seeding a new path for them.

Praise for Don’t Call Me Mother

What I admire most about this book is the way the author takes you to her most sustaining love — the prairie land of the Midwest — and concludes her story as a return to that place where forgiveness becomes “a feather on my heart, as natural as the plains wind.”  

–Shirley Showalter, former president of Goshen College, author of the blog I Have a Story

Don’t Call Me Mother takes me deep inside the mind of a young girl who has been spurned by that most important person in her life, her own mother. Without a guide to help her develop into a woman, Linda Joy is forced into a vulnerable, innovative search for dignity and survival that is at the heart of every hero’s tale.

 —Jerry Waxler, M.S., founder of the Memory Writers Network, author of Memoir Revolution, and Four Elements for Writers

For anyone yearning for self-discovery, Don’t Call Me Mother serves as a compelling guide on a journey to wholeness. I loved the book.”

—Michele Weldon, assistant professor, Northwestern University and author of
I Closed My Eyes, and Writing to Save Your Life.