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….

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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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