As I Stand Here Ironing

That short story by Tillie Olsen is one of my favorites. I remember reading it my sophomore year of college in a fiction workshop. I was awed by the way it deftly moved in and out of the present and simultaneously made me cry, hard, (a big surprise, I know), all within a few short pages. So that is why I’m saddened to hear and read the following:

Tillie Olsen, Feminist Writer, Dies at 94
by Julie Bosman (Jan. 3, 2007)

Tillie Olsen, whose short stories, books and essays lent a heartfelt voice to the struggles of women and working-class people, died on Monday in Oakland, Calif. She was 94….

… A daughter of immigrants and a working mother starved for time to write, Ms. Olsen drew from her personal experiences to create a small but influential body of work. Her first published book, “Tell Me a Riddle” (1961), contained a short story, “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which the narrator painfully recounts her difficult relationship with her daughter and the frustrations of motherhood and poverty….


One Comment

  1. Thanks for this sad news. When I taught at Rogue Community College, Tillie’s daughter Kathie and I wanted to have Tillie come lecture as a benefit for the campus literary magazine.

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