NMHU English Professor Lauren Fath Publishes Memoir

Photo Lauren Fath

Dr. Lauren Fath

Fath’s second book investigates relationships and the things we do—and make—for love

January 10, 2023

NMHU’s Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English and Philosophy, Dr. Lauren Fath, has published a new book, My Hands, Remembering: A Memoir. The memoir, which consists of linked essays, was released on November 11, 2022.

Fath is a maker of things and uses her hands to write, knit, sew, and refurbish antique furniture, among other pursuits. Like her grandmother, who taught her to sew and restore antiques, Fath creates with her hands in order to infuse her varied relationships with gifts she makes to demonstrate her friendship and love. Although crafting and making are a motif in her linked essays, the book as a whole tells the story of how she became a maker and how it was through making things that she began to understand herself and her identity.

The book begins with essays that chronicle Fath’s move from Chicago to Columbia, Missouri, with her former husband and the eventual dissolution of their marriage.

“We had ambitions that we were going to grow our own food and we thought that we would adopt this new, simpler lifestyle that was going to make us both happier,” Fath said. “And it totally did the opposite because he was having an affair with someone back in Chicago, and I was cheating on him with women.”

In subsequent essays, Fath relays some of the items she made for women she admired at the time but only later realized she had deeper feelings for.

“Our move was the segue for me into spending so much time on crafts and making things for people,” Fath said. “Those were my escape routes, and what I couldn’t see in myself at the time was that I was making these things as demonstrations of love for the women who were receiving them.”

The memoir is dedicated to Fath’s grandmother, and she features prominently in the book as the person who helped Fath become a crafter.

“My grandmother instilled in me that love for making things as well as for giving things,” Fath said. “She passed away 11 years ago, but at her memorial service everyone in the family brought back the things she had made over the years for the eight grandkids and the aunts and the uncles. We laid them all out and it was magnificent, the amount of time she had put into making things for everyone in the family.”

Fath wrote her book as a series of linked essays because most of the pieces focus on a particular person.

“I started writing on a person-by-person basis and thinking about this person for whom I made this object and this other person for whom I made this object,” Fath said. “The pieces emerged as vignettes of the characters who are featured in them. There are people who if you read the whole book, crop up again and again and sort of resonate as characters that create a through-line in the collection.”

Those interested in purchasing a copy of the book or learning more about Fath’s writing can visit her website at laurenfath.com.