Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

Welcome to the March/April issue of Literary Mama!

It took months of distance to give myself permission to shape the experience into words. To own the right to my story—the story of my ordinary heart, scarred from decades-old social and meteorological traumas, navigating a hate storm I never saw coming that hit before I could assume the tornado drill position.

You believe in fairies / and leprechauns. / You believe birds / can fly to space.

But listen to me, going on. / It’s just that / the less you understand, / the more I want to tell you, / before you’re all gone.


After Mom died in 2002, her flowers arrived at my house in a box, each component carefully cushioned in bubble wrap and newspaper. I unwrapped each piece before tucking them all back into the box. At the time, I thought I was keeping them safe.

Question: Why did you wait so long? Why did you wait so long? The refrain hammers at the heavy double doors of your head and heart.


Now they've invented a pregnancy test with a curved handle, so you don't get pee on your hand? Listen, if you're not ready to get pee on your hand, you definitely aren't ready for motherhood.


What Janet doesn't mention to the pediatrician or the babysitter, or her husband, is the panic she experiences during the night terrors. When Melanie wails, she turns unrecognizable, ugly...

Have a giggle when you read one of this month's Essential Reading: Humor picks.


I called the editor who published my piece. “I hope you’re not reading the comments,” she said.


When I write I am many things at once even though my writing oftentimes tiptoes around uncomfortable recollections.

I am spatched flat, / leeched and rasped / by the shape life now / will never take.


She is a wisp / of skin over hollow bones, / a ribcage like harp strings / holding her wild-beating heart, / scapulae jutting like vestigial wings, / fingers and toes long as claws / she still doesn’t quite fit.


But listen to me, going on. / It's just that / the less you understand, / the more I want to tell you, / before you're all gone.


Teach her what to do when she loses you. / Don't say Heaven. You don’t believe it, / neither will she. Say anything but sleep.


You believe in fairies / and leprechauns. / You believe birds / can fly to space.

Sarah Blake speaks with Camille-Yvette Welsch about how she balances the reality of motherhood with the wilds of her imagination.


Holly Rizzuto Palker spoke with Janowitz about the art of writing familial relationships, her process for creating robust characters, and her thoughts on motherhood in conjunction with being an author.


Sarah Cannon is an acclaimed author, mother, brain-health advocate, and remarkable literary citizen. Natalie Serianni had the honor of talking with Cannon to discuss her experience with award nominations, emotional book tours, devoting time to writing and next steps in her writing career.

The Hard Tomorrow is an impressively swift read on motherhood that marries Davis' storytelling and skilled illustrations. Her gorgeous line work underscores the heart-wrenching moments alongside fleeting levity.


Wallace's poetry, with its clarity and precision, not only observes the effects of all manner of wounds, but also testifies to the specific lens that motherhood lends to hurting and to healing.