Sarah Thornham’s 26-Minute Memoir

The 26-Minute Memoir Experiment offers writers (new and established) an opportunity to write a self-portrait or snapshot of their lives in 26 Minutes.  For more information about writing and submitting a 26-Minute Memoir, go to the 26-Minute page.

Sarah Thornham’s 26 Minute Memoir

I hated my life tonight.

I brought my daughter to tears when she snatched her toy from her baby brother.  Still wet from a shower, she made puddles on the bathroom floor as she grabbed the Slinky from him, her hair still soapy where she hadn’t rinsed properly.  Pissed, really, at myself for not helping her in the shower in the first place, I took it out on her; the soapy hair, the meanness to the baby, the puddles, the dirty laundry in her room, the unmade bed.  Soon she was a damp heap of crying girl and I had to try to make it better, my blood still boiling, my head still chronicling all her (?) seven-year-old shortcomings.

The filthy kitchen; the dry, cracked skin on my hands and fingers; the mug of Earl Grey tea I spilled on the computer desk after supper.  It was already a night I would be glad to see end.  On the couch.  In front of Grey’s Anatomy.  Sweet Baby Boy, clingy all day (week? month?) would not settle, draining me dry.  J checked on us in the bedroom, after dozens of minutes, and when he left he closed the door tightly and finally. My towel, bone-dry at the end of my second day with no shower, clumped to the floor and disturbed my boy, back to clamp onto my nipple with his iron jaws once more.

“I hate my life”. The thought flitted through my brain, across my closed eyelids.  Loudly. My warm little house. The food in our cupboards. The warm, snuggly, whole baby next to me. The brilliant, beautiful girl in the next room, tears kissed and soothed, happily ensconced in bed with her book.  My husband, who I still want to spend time with after 12 years of togetherness.  Our precious friends. Our crazed but loving families.  I like to think that I spend a lot of time feeling grateful. For having so much and then I hope (I hope) for not having too much.  My gratitude is sometimes a griping, complaining, reluctant thankfulness. Sometimes I summon it with morbid melancholy fears of terminal illness, unemployment and natural disasters – a constant refrain of “there but for the grace of god…”.  And sometimes I fight more consciously with my own pettiness and red hot irritability and worn-out patience, armed with a little hope/wish/prayer that I will always be grateful.

About Theo Pauline Nestor

Author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Learn more about my courses, editing, and coaching at
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2 Responses to Sarah Thornham’s 26-Minute Memoir

  1. Naomi says:

    Beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I just read it a second time, and it brought tears to my eyes again. It feels so real, and it is so well said. I love it!

  2. Deirdre says:

    I know this place so well and you articulately let me know I have company in this business of being human.

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