Diane Keaton details her mother’s life


I’m kind of in love with Diane Keaton right now. It’s not so much a romantic thing as it is an I-think-she’s-so-frickin’-cool-thing.

I love that she’s anti-plastic surgery and that she’s aging gracefully. I usually like her more than I don’t as an actor. (Although I chose to pretend that Because I Said So never happened, I considered Annie Hall one of my favorite movies until I got so skeeved-out by Woody Allen that I couldn’t enjoy his movies anymore.)

And she was so appealing in Something’s Gotta Give that I applauded Keanu Reeves for falling in love with her.

But right now I love her because she’s writing a memoir about her mother.

Keaton has a reputation for being a private person, but if she were interested in writing a money-making memoir, she’s certainly got fodder. This is a woman who’s been romantically linked with Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, after all.

But she’s writing about her mother, Dorothy Keaton Hall, who died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s — possibly the most depressing illness that exists.

The late Mrs. Hall extensively kept journals throughout her life and Diane Keaton — have a tissue handy before you read the second half of this sentence — read her mother’s journals to her at the end of her life. That is possibly the sweetest, most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever heard.

So, I’m guessing this is not going to be a Mommie Dearest kind of memoir.

It’s probably a fair statement that almost every woman has, at some point in her life, a difficult relationship with her mother. And there are probably plenty of women who could very reasonably publish scathing accounts of their relationships with their mothers. But I really like when women who have had mothers they could appreciate, take the time and make the effort to respect and honor them. So I’m raising a metaphorical glass to Diane Keaton.

In that spirit, I’m going to take a moment to share a few details about my (very much still with us) mother that I would include in the memoir that I’ll never write.

1. When I was a kid, my was very involved with the PTA. When I became an adult, she told me all the gossip about which teachers and administrators had been having affairs and who was gay.

2. The day same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, one of my parents’ neighbors in Arizona said something derogatory about gay activists to my mother. My mother replied by asking if he knew that I was gay, and observing that gay marriage was not about politics; it was about ordinary people who just want to live their lives.

3. My mother cried when she gave me an heirloom bracelet to wear at my wedding.

If you were going to write a memoir about your mother, what would you include?