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Class is back! Over the next year, Cassie Premo Steele will teach you how to birth your own mother writer. So think of yourself, as you read this column, as having enrolled in a Birthing the Mother Writer Class. Cassie will cover poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. First up: Poetry.
Now that my kids (ages 5 and 7) are in school, birthday parties are getting more complicated. When they were younger they hardly noticed who was there or what we did. But now they care. How many kids do you invite, and who? Do we have a cake and ice cream party at home, or a pizza and game party at Chuck E. Cheese? Small gifts from your friends, or a honking big gift from Mom and Dad? All of that negotiating takes time and patience, but I think my kids are learning a lot from it.
My problem is what happens after all those decisions are made and the invitations go out. That problem is RSVPs. Can I say it again? RSVPs!!!
After my own mother left Dad and me, when I was four, I swore that one day I’d be the perfect mom—wipe my children’s tears, dab their scraped knees with soft gauze.
I am obsessed with bathing. Some days I bathe three times—once upon waking, once with my daughter (we play mermaids, drink seaweed tea from plastic stacking cups, squeeze the lemon from the mouth of a rubber duck), and once again in the late evening, the house quiet, her asleep.
He didn’t teach me to swim that day, or ever, if my memory is accurate. It must have disappointed him to have a child so discomforted by the lull of the ocean.
How do I simultaneously teach my sons about the natural cycles of the earth and about why religion is important to me?
Terry grunted, rummaging in her backpack for her Greek-English dictionary. Instead, she found her latest journal. Flipped it open, jotted down: Marina, Goddess of the Sea. A bit too old and fat to be a siren. What about me? Twenty-ninth birthday yesterday, no man in sight, to Mom’s despair.
The baby moves again, in quick, tiny motions. They are giving her two more weeks to grow, then forcing her out. She will be fine, they say, you will be fine. Everything will be fine. I want to believe them.
This is the first time that I have the honor of curating the Essential Reading list. This month our editors and columnists are reflecting upon the theme of Solitude.
Attention seeking is what the note from the teacher said. Along with impulse control issues.
Behavior that is inappropriate and annoying.
In the summer of 1996, I interviewed a famous Italian poet, Mirella Bentivoglio, then 74 years old. I had long admired Bentivoglio’s ability to match her creative career with tremendous amounts of critical work (mainly aimed at supporting women artists), all while a mother of three. I was curious about her strategies and about the source of her exceptional balance and strength. Most importantly, I wanted to explore the nature of her mothering choice, and I hoped that she would share her memories with me.
Art and Family Intersect: A Review of Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing FamilySarah Thomas
In the introduction to her compelling anthology Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, editor and memoirist Joy Castro claims that “memoir is the genre of our era.” I agree. Through the ubiquity of social media, autobiography appears easy—almost reflexive, like capturing the infamous “selfie.”