An interview with Sarah Einstein, author of Mot: A Memoir
Is Mot: A Memoir a story of friendship or a personal investigation of a broken system? In an interview with author Sarah Einstein, we learn, it’s both.
Sarah Einstein was 40 when she told her then-husband and other family and friends she was headed for Amarillo, Texas to join and camp with a 65-year-old homeless veteran. Mot, whom Einstein met while working in a West Virginia center for adults with mental illnesses, suffers from debilitating delusions, we learn.
After an assault at the center, however, and with recurring questions about the stability of her struggling marriage, Einstein goes on leave from her job, and on retreat from her life, under the guise of researching and possibly writing a book about Mot. Her true intent, though, is to commit herself to this uncommon and unusual friendship, one of mutuality, in which each accepts the other for who they truly are. A gripping and moving portrait of a man, a woman, and a friendship, Mot: A Memoir provokes questions about our beliefs about the mentally ill and sheds light on unspoken biases, fears, and preconceptions.
In addition to Mot: A Memoir, Einstein is the author of Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in journals such as The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK, and Fried Chicken and Coffee. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net award, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Special Projects Editor for Brevity.
You are intentional from the first page of the book about describing your relationship with Mot as a friendship; as opposed to, let’s say, Mot as a subject and you as a researcher or writer, or Mot as a person in need and you the person trying to help him. And yet throughout the book you question this friendship, both its nature and its ability to survive. Is this book more about friendship or commentary on a broken system?
I hope it’s first and foremost a book about friendship, but that it also calls on us to look at the ways a broken system failed my friend and, of course, the millions of other people it…