For many of us, taking a trip abroad with our mothers would seem like a mythical experience -- seas raging, earth tearing, gods taking sides, the whole bit. Sue Monk Kidd, the author who dominated booklists with The Secret Life of Bees, took pilgrimages to Greece, Turkey and France in the late '90s with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, and the pair managed to not only emerge alive but enriched in pivotal stages of life: Kidd, at the gates of menopause, and Taylor, a downtrodden college graduate. They co-wrote a book about the experience called Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story.
The title of the book references the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. According to Greek legend, winter began when Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the underworld and Demeter, goddess of the harvest, was so distraught at her daughter's absence that she didn't tend to the crops. In TravelingWith Pomegranates, Kidd and Taylor share each other's battles as they learn about those of Athena, the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, finding a fresh sense of self and a new friend in one another.
The writers just set out on another trip together this week -- a national book tour -- and they stop at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas today to show travel photos and speak about their muses for the final Arts and Letters Live event this year.
Perhaps the most deeply felt aspect of the book, one that will draw readers with fewer stamps in their passports than the authors, is the changing mother-daughter relationship chronicled by the writers.
"Mothers often see daughters, unconsciously, as appendages of themselves. But daughters leave. So you might experience your own young womanhood leaving through your daughter," Kidd told The Houston Chronicle in a Q&A before her and Taylor's first tour date.
Find tickets here for the show-and-tell session, which starts at 7:30 p.m.