‘There was a debate when I was young about whether sex or survival was the major driver of human motivation. But for me there is no doubt that, unless there has been total alienation between parent and child and not even then, pleasing one’s parents is an intense motivation. Some are also driven to please God or gods, but that’s no different: parents are gods. A mother is the goddess, even if her name is Elsie …’
‘Elsie or Denise or Judy, the mother is the person who, above all, gives unity to our childhoods. And since in her presence we never cease to be her child, she never ceases to be a given of the universe we inhabit. They’ll never make a bullet to get her, any more than they could make a bullet to get Aphrodite or Minerva.’
Thomas Keneally, ‘Independence Days’ in My Mother, My Father: On Losing a Parent, edited by Susan Wyndham, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2013, 27-41.