This Week at Literary Mama

It’s always gratifying to update Literary Mama on Sundays and see pieces–some of which I first read several months ago–find their broad audience. I try to give each just a quick final read–they’ve all been through a couple rounds of editing and copyediting, but sometimes I might catch a stray typo–still, inevitably I forget myself and get drawn into the essay or story or poem as if for the first time.

This week, there’s Hilary Meyerson’s beautiful Voice: A Study in the Writer’s Art, which begins with a nightmare like one I’ve had myself:

The night before my daughter started kindergarten, I had a nightmare. . .that I was nine months pregnant with a third child. Not just pregnant, but in labor. In typical dream-reality, I had missed the pregnancy signs until labor was imminent. My dream voice broke as I told my husband that this child would be born September third, two days after the crucial September first enrollment cut-off date. Didn’t he understand? It meant that it would be almost six more years before this third child started kindergarten. Six more years before I’d have all the kids in school, before I could finally begin my new life as a writer. I woke in a sweat, grasping my belly, relieved to find it still less firm than I’d like, but not in fact, housing a third child.

In Children’s Lit Book Group, Libby writes about a different transition, as kids finish school and move away from home:

It’s back to school time around here. Four of my friends have packed sons or daughters off to college for the first time and are learning how to reconfigure patterns set over the last eighteen years of parenthood. As my friends face their new version of parenthood, their children have the gift of an extended transition, a prolonged adolescence as they negotiate the four years of college.

This month’s poems focus on a place dear to my heart: the kitchen! In Elizabeth Bruno‚Äôs Kitchen Daffodils: “their necks tilt Vincent-gold toward the glass.” In Cookie Bakers, Lois Parker Edstrom listens to “radio tuned to Queen for a Day”. I empathize with Yvonne Pearson who writes, in Eaten Alive, “All day I feed and I feed.” And finally Ann Walters notes, In the Kitchen, “A gingham tablecloth makes a fine parachute.”

And finally, I confess I got as caught up as the next girl in the gossip and hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin’s nomination as VP on the Republican ticket: I was up late reading blogs, looking at pictures, wondering what to make of the story, all the while feeling increasingly queasy about the way she and her family were being portrayed — and all my reading about it. So, since I’m in the fortunate position of knowing lots of good and thoughtful writers, I suggested to LM’s columns editors that we put put out a call for some op-eds on the topic, and I’m delighted with the pieces we received this week.

First, we have our own Subarctic Mama, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, unpacking “The Sarah Myth:”

I never voted for Sarah Palin. Politically, we don’t get along… But I did like her. I’ve never liked any politician so unlike myself so much. Many of my liberal pro-choice mom friends liked her too. She was an Alaskan after all–a mom like me, bundling babies in snowsuits and dragging them around in sleds. She nursed and governed. She seemed real, someone who, despite our differences, I could talk to. Like everyone else in this giant, small state, I was on a first name basis with her. “Sarah,” I’d say if I ever ran into her at the airport, “Hello.”

And in a terrific complement to her piece, Mama, PhD contributor Rebecca Steinitz writes about “Sarah Palin’s Kids, Our Kids:”

On the third night of the Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin finally spoke up. The next morning I woke up to a front-page article in The Boston Globe, announcing that Sarah Palin has reignited the mommy wars.

No kidding. Birth plans, breastfeeding, working moms, teenagers and sex: it’s like the national conversation has become one big mommy kaffeklatsch. Or one big mommy driveby, as women across the country wonder how Palin does it–when they’re not condemning her for doing it.

I couldn’t be prouder of all this writing if I’d written it myself; click on over to Literary Mama to check it out!

One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Greetings! I am so happy to have found a blog that combines so many of my passions. I’m a mother of two teenagers (one a college freshman) and am an overworked and underpaid journalist/columnist who is trying to write a novel in my few spare moments not dedicated to sleep. In my young-mom years I owned two small mom-friendly businesses, a home biz that dealt with breast pumps, nursing bras, parenting books, etc., and a second-hand kids clothing and baby-stuff store. Now I’m not active in that area anymore, but will occasionally touch on these topics in my column. How many other moms out there feel torn between a desire to throw themselves into a life of babies, breastfeeding and birthing and writing and gardening and cooking — the traditional stuff — plus a financial and emotional need for More? And who wish they had the energy to do half the things they want to do? A lot of us, I think.