Welcome to the October/Desiring Motherhood issue of Literary Mama! This month, many of our writers share stories about whether to have children or not, adoption, infertility, miscarriage, and child loss. We hope you find the writing on these pages as resonant and unforgettable as we do.
I know I won’t forget the lessons learned, and the wisdom shared, by editing Cassie Premo Steele’s Birthing the Mother Writer column for the past seven years. This month, Cassie bids farewell to her loyal readers and to all her friends at Literary Mama (and still manages to squeeze in a writing prompt) with her final column, “Motherhood is Always Saying Good-bye.” Thank you, Cassie, for helping to birth so many mother writers through your interactive column!
Creative Nonfiction includes two pieces that explore the fierce pull of maternal love, but in very different ways. “The Ambivalent Agnostic: An Adoption Story” by Pamela Jane, is a warm and funny tale of falling in love with a baby and the idea of motherhood. “Your Story” by Molly Greeley is a touching love letter to a second child lost early in pregnancy, but whose presence is still felt to this day.
From Fiction, there’s Sonal Champsee’s “Tulips,” a richly nuanced story of infertility, from the perspective of a woman tending, and fretting over, her garden, especially the blue tulips she hopes will blossom in the spring. She just has to “hang on through the dark, cold winter.”
Literary Reflections features two insightful essays. In “Bernadette and Me,” Natalie Singer-Velush discusses Bernadette Mayer’s book-length epic-poem Midwinter Day, which contains this essential piece of wisdom for literary mamas: “Be a mother, be a thinker, be a writer―deny none of these selves.” Cheryl Anne Latuner’s “Baby at My Breast: The Path to a Book,” is also about giving each role its rightful place, as told by a mother, writer, and teacher. And our “Desiring Motherhood” Essential Reading list is filled with thoughtful recommendations for The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath; A Life’s Work; Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy; What I Thought I Knew; Adult Onset; and Dept. of Speculation.
With candor and poise, our October poets reveal the many facets of desiring motherhood with, “Two Olives, Please” by Karen Corinne Herceg; “Twice Buried” and “a state incompatible with life” by Suzanne Farrell Smith; “The Game of Life” by Amanda Linsmeier; “The World Moves Too” by Heather Kirn Lanier; and “The Bluest Glow” by Rachel Gellman.
In Profiles, we have “A Conversation with Megan Mayhew Bergman” by Lisa Lynne Lewis. Mayhew Bergman talks about women behaving badly, blending fact and fiction, and why she used to think of herself as a “garage-band writer.”
There are two terrific reviews: “Cosmic Longing and Family Secrets: A Review of Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders“ by Stephanie Vanderslice; and “Mothering the Unknown: A Poetry Roundup Review of new books by Karen Skolfield, Nicole Rollender, and Katie Ford” by Farah Marklevits.
And be sure to visit our Blog for up-to-date information on Calls for Submissions; guest posts for our After Page One, Free Write, and Photo writing prompts; a Writerly Roundup of articles related to craft and the writing life; and Announcements.
We are always grateful for your comments, and hope you can share all this good writing with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.