No matter whether your children are in the other room or miles away from you, I hope you can find a quiet place to sit down and immerse yourself in the words and musings of your fellow mothers. It is always such a joy to review each issue before we publish, and marvel at how Literary Mama editors across time zones select and polish such beautiful work.
We’re all here because of the mamas who originally got the gumption to create this journal and those who have kept it moving—online, free, and still powered by multifaceted mamas and mama supporters.
We are told to sync our lives with a calendar, only beginning at the start of the year, month, or a particular week. But, instead, why not allow ourselves to start when we feel the most ready? It’s liberating to know we can begin any time we decide. Permission isn’t needed. We hope that you give yourself space to pause and read the latest issue from Literary Mama and it pushes you to pen your novel, essay, or short story at the start of January—or even in February.
Practicing gratitude forces us to examine life through an altered lens, not unlike the fresh perspective that young children bring to our lives, unjaded as they are to the world around them. Stories in this issue of Literary Mama explore the many facets of gratitude: appreciation, awe, acceptance, and more.
Reframing our perceptions of the time we have to read, write, and think—to value the incredible and varied insights of mothers—is so worth it. We’re grateful and honored that you’re here to dip into this September/October collection of mama writing.
Although motherhood can restrict our view of the world, especially in the early years, it also expands our perspective and teaches us to look more deeply inward and more carefully outward—and to do more with what we see. That’s both empowering and humbling, and the work in our latest issue highlights that complex contradiction.
The essays, stories, and poems in this month’s issue, as well as the authors and books featured in profiles and reviews, demonstrate how all-consuming motherhood is and delve into those emotional extremes: the fierce love, the exhaustion, the tenderness, the boredom. It’s important to tell these stories that encompass the full range of the motherhood experience, to tell our truths as women and mothers. To let the world know our voices won’t be silenced.
At Literary Mama, we have always prided ourselves on working with writers to dig up their jewels. Editors look for a rough diamond and when they find it, they spend time sanding, smoothing, and polishing so that it becomes nothing less than the reflection of the brightest star. Look back through our nearly 20 years of pages, and you’ll find many, many gorgeous, glittering gems.
Reading can help us feel connected, even when we are all alone, through the spark of recognition that ignites when a writer puts into words what you’ve felt yourself. The pieces in this issue of Literary Mama touch on the anxiety we all feel right now… Will what we have provided for our children be enough when we’re gone? Will our love for a child that is not biologically ours be sufficient? Am I failing my children even as I seek to keep them safe?
Each day I open my inbox and read messages from our 24 editors asking thoughtful questions, helping each other, stepping up when needed, offering praise, and simply getting the work done. They deserve much more recognition than this simple letter can offer, but I hope as you read the powerful poems, stories, reviews, and profiles in this issue, you’ll remember that it was a community that brought these words to the page.
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.