Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we’ll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns, and reviews from the Literary Mama Archives relating to a particular theme. The old year is coming to a close, and the new year is dawning, so this week we’ve found some pieces from the archives that mark the endings and beginnings of our lives.
- Little Finch by Christy Stillwell in Creative Nonfiction
Where will I write now? How will I find the time? Will it even matter? The baby was supposed to be the most important thing in the world, after all. There wouldn’t be time or room for things like novels anymore, let alone stories or poetry.
- Dutch Elm by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew in Creative Nonfiction
“Believe me, lady,” he said, shaking his head, “we don’t want to take it down either.” Then the small Mexican man in the cherry picker revved up his saw. Gwyn watched, wide-eyed, but it wasn’t until the first branch swung down, expertly tethered, that she began to wail.
- Clean Start by Lacy Arnett in Creative Nonfiction
When the phone rang I was in the bathtub — nine months pregnant with my first child, soaking swollen ankles. It was my dad on the line. Your brother didn’t pass his drug test. Can he stay with you a few days? Until he gets clean?
- New Beginnings, Complicated Endings: A Review of Mother in the Middle: A Biologist’s Story of Caring for Parent and Child by Jessica Smartt Gullion in Reviews
It wasn’t until I read Sybil Lockhart’s compelling memoir, Mother in the Middle: A Biologist’s Story of Caring for Mother and Child, that I realized why my grandmother seemed so confused. This is dementia, I thought. My grandmother has dementia. On the heels of those thoughts came another, guilt-inducing one: This complicates things.
- When Mom Chooses Suicide: A Review of Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Tale of Life and Death by Nelle Engoron in Reviews
Experiencing a mother’s death is one of the biggest milestones in a woman’s life. Whether the relationship is close or distant, loving or corrosive, enmeshed or shallow does not matter; her source, her guardian, her primary model of female identity is leaving forever.
- Conclusions by Avery Fischer Udagawa from the Column Four Worlds
Life among cultures feels this way sometimes, as if you’re in one space moving in plural worlds — the one(s) above and below, seen and unseen. Not long ago I heard the U.S.-born wife of a Thai man say her daughter wished she could be just Asian, or just American, and not both. She gets tired of walking on the ceiling.
- Happy Endings by Amy Mercer from the Column Chronic Mama
Sitting rigid in the chair, I knew I would rather choose freedom from this disease than “perspective.”
- The End, and a Beginning by Amy Hudock from the Column Mothering in the Ivory Tower
I had heard rumors that the budget crisis might reduce the 12 visiting assistant professor’s department positions to three positions that would be offered only to new Ph.Ds. Now, I knew the rumors were true. I was without a job.
- Birthing Stories by Elrena Evans from the Column Me and My House
It never ceases to amaze me how women — mothers — tell their birth stories. The mamas of the toddler gymnastics class are virtual strangers to me. I don’t know any of their names, yet I’ve heard their stories, stories about one of the most intimate and private events of their lives, and they’ve heard mine.