Coré Cotton of Woodbury is a lawyer by trade and a musician by passion who recently authored a book with her mother. She and her mother Dr. M. Jeanne Dolphus Cotton co-wrote, “A Three Hundred and sixty-Degree Perspective” after realizing the parallel journeys their lives have taken. In this book they chart their story. They hope this book will be a testament for the legacy Dr. Cotton will leave for her children and generations to come.
The Gazette recently asked Coré Cotton some questions about herself and the book she co-authored with her mother. Here are her responses:
1. What prompted you to write this book with your mother?
My mom and I have had a special bond since the day I was born. She and my father nurtured me, groomed me and sacrificed for me so that I could have a better life than they had. They also provided me with a foundational belief that I could be anything I wanted be so long as I put my mind and heart to doing so. And I had no better since than to believe that. With their guidance, I soared and, in the process, followed my mother’s footsteps in many ways — as spiritual advisor, counselor, musician and professional (in my case, attorney). In fact, music is the tie that binds our family together. Over the years, I stood on mom’s shoulders, growing with my own successes and failures. I came to realize that all along, it was Mom’s seed growing inside me everyday, such that, when I looked in the mirror of my life, I saw the face of she who bore me. As Mom reached her 80s, I noticed that she seemed more worried and uncertain, which seemed so uncharacteristic of her. I learned that this change in Mom was due to her concern that she had not left a legacy for her children, that she had not done enough with her life as well as the wonderment of what was next for her in the golden age of her life. This concern seemed incomprehensible to me. For, to me Mom had given me life, hope and the desire to dream. Moreover, she had given each of her six children a piece of her that they could take and use to be whatever he or she chose to be. To me, that was her legacy — the music and education, but so much more than that. The courage to chart one’s own course, to know that it’s okay to fall as long as you get back up. And so, I pleaded with Mom to write this book with me as a testament to our parallel journey and the true legacy that she left for all her children and her children’s children and their children for generations to come.
2. What was the process of co-authoring like?
Writing this book with my mom was exciting and invigorating. Learning so many new things about each other reinforced our personal mother-daughter love story. Mom says the idea of writing the book together and reliving beautiful memories that previously had been laid to rest was so rewarding. It was also challenging (in a good way) to begin our writing journey from a foundation of openness and truth and to let the writing journey happen organically. My mom says that deciding to write the book was the most challenging part for her.
3. When did you notice the parallels between your life and your mother’s life?
When I was little, I sort of took for granted my relationship with Mom. It was just a natural part of me. In my late teens, I started to appreciate the many parallels between Mom and me — our approach to spirituality, our love for education and, of course, music ministry.
4. What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
Mom and I hope that men and women of all ages and walks of life will be compelled to share stories of their relationships with their mothers and fathers or sisters and brothers or wives and husbands so that our collective stories live on. Also, we hope that, through our collective stories, we all come to realize, or be reminded, that our hopes, dreams, conflicts, victories and passions are timeless; that, though times change from generation to generation, people at their root stay the same.
5. What are some major themes or messages in the book?
• Embrace and tell your story to preserve your legacy.
• Only you can define what success is for you.
• For women: It’s imperative to take care of yourself first in order to effectively care for the ones you love.
• There is no better you than you.
• Embrace your passion and bring your whole self to all that you do.
6. Who would enjoy this book?
Our experience has been that people of varied backgrounds have enjoyed this book. It’s not so much our personal story, but the process and passion behind the telling of our story that seems to resonate with people. We are continually humbled by the warm words and emotions that come from friends as well as strangers.
7. Is there anything else you would like potential readers to know?
We are so passionate about the message of the book that we have started a movement to compel others to share their stories in their own way so their legacies will live on and so that future generations of their families will know from whence they came. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/360.
Cotton is sharing her journey in a one-woman show Aug. 2 at the Capri Theater in Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m. Her show will support breast cancer awareness and well-being. For more info visit: kocoentertainment.com/journey.