Welcome to Craft Talks. In this bi-monthly post, we’ll have a mini-interview with our own editors about craft, what they look for in submissions, and all things writing.
Today, I talked with Kimberly Lee, Literary Reflections Editorial Assistant. She told me about her path from law to Literary Mama, taking time to pause, and the importance of voice in telling our stories.
1. Tell us about yourself and your position at Literary Mama.
I left a career practicing law when I became a mom, and I am now pursuing my long-held interest in creative writing and the publishing industry. I joined Literary Mama’s team in the spring of 2020 as the Editorial Assistant for the Literary Reflections department. When a new issue of the journal is published, I craft a writing prompt that’s inspired by the essays in that section and encourage readers to give a 500-word response. I provide feedback to those who write in, and choose one or two of the responses to publish after working with the authors through an editing process. I also handle the Now Reading column, which contains write-ups of books that LM staff members are currently enjoying. Working with LM has provided meaningful camaraderie with writers on similar paths. I’ve read literary magazines for years, so it’s great to see how a journal is developed from a position on the inside of one.
2. Is there a passage, sentence, or line of a poem that you absolutely adore? Why is it so good?
At a recent poetry workshop, I was introduced to Rose Cook’s “Poem for Someone Who is Juggling Her Life.” The title drew me in immediately because, like many, I am juggling being a wife, the mother of three, a daughter, a friend, a writer, etc. It can be challenging to gracefully keep all of the balls in the air. In the final stanza of the poem, Cook writes:
Be still sometimes. Be still sometimes. Let it all fall sometimes.
The repetition is particularly effective, because to those of us who are juggling, it bears repeating! Reading that stanza a few times aloud turns it into a mantra that soothes and prompts me to breathe more consciously. The final line serves as a gentle reminder that it’s okay if everything’s not perfect all of the time. I keep this poem in the notes section of my phone and refer to it when my plate seems too full.
3. What do you look for in submissions? What type of writing grabs your attention?
A passage from Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and with Others, has stuck with me in terms of how I think about both my own writing and the writing of others. She wrote,
If you do not record you own story, your tiny bit of the history of the human race is lost.
Motherhood is a vocation that can be fulfilled in so many different ways, really, in as many ways as there are mothers. I’m interested in each writer’s own specific take on the topic, and I like to read pieces with a distinct, introspective voice, one that isn’t afraid to show some vulnerability or address the tension that can exist between the multiple roles that mothers play.
Read something you liked? Let us know in the comments!