October 2013 marks Literary Mama’s ten year anniversary! On Wednesdays for the next few months we’ll celebrate this milestone with editors and columnists, both past and present. They’ll share what being a part of Literary Mama has meant to them, what they hope for the future of the magazine, and how Literary Mama has shaped their writing, their mothering, and their lives.
Ginny Kaczmarek– Associate Poetry Editor
When I became a mother, I was still in graduate school, finishing my MFA in poetry, surrounded by writers and literature as well as by diapers and burp cloths. But when I graduated, full-time motherhood left me feeling isolated. My days and nights slowed to the baby’s rhythms, while my former classmates and colleagues sped toward their literary ambitions (or at least, so it felt to me).
Then I discovered Literary Mama. An entire trove of writing by and about writer-mamas, sharing the good, bad, and the weird. I dug in during naps, while nursing, in the middle of the night while the baby happily played, and I found myself recharged. The most magical part was that I could see that I didn’t need to choose between motherhood and writing; here were parents able to blend the two into works of art. Slowly, I decided I could do it, too.
I gathered my nerve and submitted a few book reviews, which were warmly welcomed. I found working with the editors so pleasant that I decided to offer my editorial expertise. Could they use some proofreading, light editing, cyber-floor sweeping? To my delight, the poetry editor, Sharon Krauss, was looking for an associate to help dig her out from under the mountain of submissions. I became a part of the Literary Mama community from the inside, and though I have never met any of my “coworkers” in person, I’ve found them to be lovely, supportive, caring, and encouraging, a true creative community.
Over the four years I’ve been associate poetry editor, Literary Mama has offered me a way to share my skills and talents with like-minded (and sometimes unlike-minded) writer-mamas. I’ve enjoyed professional development in an ideal, supportive environment, bouncing ideas off my peers and colleagues. Every month I look forward to diving into the latest batch of poems Sharon has compiled from submissions, smoothing and straightening each one for its big debut, a literary midwife, if you will. I get to collaborate with wonderful minds, share triumphs and griefs, and learn from a network of writers and editors (and teachers, mothers, and fathers) that spans the globe.
Literary Mama offered me connection, a way to become a working poet with a baby on my knee, and the ability to find my path back to my first love, poetry, when my new loves (my boys) rearranged my life. Thanks and gratitude, Literary Mama!