For Your Journal: Writing Prompt
National Library Week
After Page One: Why I Write
In last month’s “Birthing the Mother Writer Column” Cassie Premo Steele announced that she will be taking a five-month break from her column, as she prepares for a new season in her life. After five years working with Cassie, her editor, Maria Scala, is keen to join the conversation about what renewal means to her.
You stop going to church because you blame God. You develop a surreptitious mean for perky mothers who brag about child development, milestones, and how easy things come.
Twilight. The echo of coyotes off the mountains beyond the lake drifts through the cold August air. The sound makes the mile and a half from here to the other side of the water seem like a stone’s throw. I sleep comfortably now, but years ago when John first brought me here, the baying made me shiver. I tried to put it out of my mind, tossing and turning in my sleeping bag, feeling vulnerable with the yelps and howls and moonlight streaming in.
When I chose the topic for this month’s Essential Reading list, I felt vaguely certain that “Sacrifice” must be one of the most common ideas in all of literature. Even so, I’ve struggled to come up with a suitable contribution to the list.
I specifically got Devin-at-four more than one kind of stickers. I specifically
brought out all the non-sticker stuff—buttons, crayons, little round reinforcements. I
specifically didn’t hand him paper.
The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley has brought together poets, prose writers and screenwriters for over 40 years. An alumni listing reads like a Who’s Who of American literature: Richard Ford, Michael Chabon, Mark Childress, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, and Jennifer Egan. The conference is a family affair. Novelist Oakley Hall was one of the founders, and his family continues to manage the conference with three generations coming together every year. Hall’s daughter, Brett Hall Jones, is the Executive Director and Brett’s sister, Sands Hall, author of Catching Heaven and Tools of the Writer's Craft, leads workshops at the conference. Writer Marianne Lonsdale spoke with Brett and Sands about their work, their lives, and the legacy of their family.
After my first miscarriage in 2001, I searched in vain for books on the subject. In this lonely and barren place, a book such as How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting, edited by Jessica Hiemstra and Lisa Martin-Demoor, would have been most welcome.