For many of us, September has always been a reset month: starting a new school year with new shoes, new pencils, a new lunchbox. New classmates to meet, new teachers to impress, so much to anticipate. Long after our formal education is completed, we may still feel the thrill of possibility we used to feel at that predictable, recurring beginning. Sometimes, it was (and is) a nervous thrill, and this year, it’s probably safe to say that most of us are more nervous than otherwise. I’m still wearing a (required) mask to work and to the grocery store, still uneasy about plane travel and public singing, still wondering how the ongoing pandemic will impact my children’s school (and, yes, my children). I haven’t seen my family on the opposite coast since 2018. I hear many of my friends giving voice to the burnout that I feel; we’re used to the pandemic now, but it’s increasingly hard to be hopeful as it drags on. We’re trying to do things normally this school year, yet we’re constantly reminded that the situation isn’t at all normal. There has been no reset. We’re exhausted, ever more so, by risk assessment, by planning and cancelling, by day-to-day uncertainty. Meanwhile, between fires and storms, The Washington Post is reporting that nearly a third of Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. The global picture is similarly grim.
Thank goodness for art. Here we are together, sharing another issue of this literary journal, in which writers thoughtfully explore parenthood in this world of disruption, difficulty, and violence. There’s still humor and affection and ambition alongside anxiety and gut-wrenching loss.
It has been 18 years since Literary Mama first appeared online, and I’m proud that our latest issue is still doing what our founders set out to do: revealing and honoring the many faces of motherhood. Whatever lies ahead will become a part of the long and varied tapestry of parenting that nearly 2,000 contributors have woven here over the years. We hope you’ll stay with us for the journeys ahead.
Wishing you good reading in hard times,