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Columns
Almost everyone I know has at least one alcoholic in their family. Ours is no exception. A realistic depiction of our family tree would have some wine, beer and whiskey bottles hanging from it. Mostly my children are shielded from the reality of our alcoholic bloodline. Perhaps my older two have commented that Cousin James is obnoxious or Uncle Burt is odd, but they seem no different from the other family members that congregate on major holidays. Everyone is weird when you're a teenager.
Perfectly Normal by Heather Cori

I don't speed past anything any more. I'm barely able to get where I'm going, so I have to be where I am. And I am always with two little people who have never been there before. Their fresh eyes force me to take a second look at everything about this place that I've been taking for granted.
Subarctic Mama by Nicole Stellon O'Donnell

Nourishing our children is a mother's most primal instinct. The urge to provide begins at conception with the awareness that what feeds our body also builds our child, and continues through breast or bottle, first sweetpea purees, and full knife-and-fork family meals. Whether you forage in a backyard garden, a local farm, a supermarket aisle, or even online, our connection to food -- what we eat and what we share -- is, quite literally, visceral.
Of This Fantastic Peach by Katherine J. Barrett

The phone call heralding my old age came shortly before my 56th birthday. My husband Bob was out running errands with the kids when the surgeon called. She'd want to tell me about my biopsy report, but I already knew what she was going to say: Everything is all right. That lump they found on the mammogram--the one they biopsied with a thick needle thrust deep into my flesh, turning my breast three shades of bruised--that lump was nothing. I just knew it. So I was not prepared for her actual words: "I'm afraid we've uncovered a malignancy."
Senior Mama by B.L. Pike

This is "vacation," but we are visiting not tourist havens but relatives' homes. A Japanese author we met in June observed that wherever we go, we are doing sato gaeri: going back home.
Four Worlds by Avery Fischer Udagawa

This month Cassie Premo Steele invites you to write a short story that takes place in a school or college and involves a mother and her child or teenager.
Birthing the Mother Writer by Cassie Premo Steele

Again and again, I vowed never to tell my mother anything. But it wasn't a vow I could keep. The particulars of my private life often poured forth from me with no more encouragement than the sound of my mother's voice forming the question, How are you? I wasn't alone in this. People naturally confided in my mom. It was her unique gift, this quality that made opening up to her irresistible.
Doing It Differently by Ona Gritz

I awaken in a dimly lit room. Not for a moment do I wonder where I am or what I'm doing here, or even why there are plastic tubes in my nostrils pumping frigid air into my lungs. But my mind scrambles to grasp the lost time. A large clock interrupts the blank wall directly in front of my bed. Ten o'clock. But is that A.M. or P.M.? Is it Friday still, or have we moved straight on into Saturday?
Senior Mama by B.L. Pike

Yes, your food columnist christened her new kitchen with that old Kraft standby -- and ketchup. In retrospect, I think this humble meal an appropriate launch to my new culinary and literary venture. Fluorescent mac and cheese pervaded my youth and student days, and to me represents all that's right and wrong about our North American diet. Meal-in-a-box also reminds me that I stake no moral high ground in food-and-family department.
Of This Fantastic Peach by Katherine J. Barrett

Creative Nonfiction
But now - now, I stop. I am no longer simply observing this life, unbound; now I have a stake in it. I'm no longer on my own, traipsing through life with a backpack, merely carrying my own things. Now, I carry Rafe's things, too, and my roots here are deeper. Becoming a mother has chipped away at my selfish streak in spite of my efforts to keep it. I can't keep running indifferently anymore.
The Deeps by Felicia Schneiderhan

Now, instead of leaving an eighteen-year-old kid, I was leaving a grown woman, a capable woman. Still, it wasn't much easier. In the parking lot, I cried so hard that the attendant at the gate just stared at the dollar bill in my outstretched hand. Finally, he took the money and raised the gate, and I went home to pick up twenty packages of clothes to ship to Chicago. A few weeks later, I took up mountain biking.
Spinning by Jennifer McGaha

Literary Reflections
This June, when I packed our family's suitcase for a week at the beach, the question of which paperback to bring floated over me: an invitation to which I hadn't yet had time to respond. The beach (cabin, lake, camping, river, mountain) read is sacred, after all. As a mom on vacation, I might actually have time to read for concentrated stretches of time rather than in fleeting minutes stolen behind a locked bathroom door.
Now Reading July by Rhena Tatisunthorn

After the nine-hour drive home, with a few tears along the way, I anticipated a relaxing Labor Day weekend on my own -- my younger son and husband were out of town. But when I opened my eyes the next morning, the atmosphere felt heavy. I missed Edmund.
Infinite Connections by Mary Carpenter and the coordinating Writing Prompt by Karna Converse

Poetry
Come out here. So I dried my hands.
The air is perfect. He lay
on his back on the path, hands
on his belly, limbs soft
as if concrete were feathers. ...
Interlude by Carolyn Williams-Noren

Late afternoon shadows lay like hands
over the pebbled-gray driveways.
Black crows sit against the jagged edges of sky and peeling white bark.
The streets intersect like lovers. ...
Intersection by Carrie Goulding

It raps on the gates
of mine, a rust-
pocked hinge
opening
onto the place where
she waits...
Daughter Heart by Andrea Potos

This spring, things become seen, the invisibles: insensible and
unperceived. While perceiving sensibly, I found him with a daffodil in his mouth. Not the bulb; the green, leafy part, and that was easy. It's the unseen that terrifies me...
Boy's First March by Kristin Engen

in bursts of static song over a short-wave radio
in the coldest winter tucked into your blue wool socks
through the red, muddy water in the gutter after rain
in the cornerstone of the ground floor of your dormitory...
And My Love Goes With You by Donna Vorreyer

Profiles
Emily Barton is the author of two novels, Testament of Yves Gundron and Brookland, and has published numerous essays and reviews. She also teaches at the MFA programs at Columbia University and New York University. A recent winner of a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Barton talked with Literary Mama's Editor-in-Chief Caroline Grant about getting dusty while teaching, writing a novel on request, and why -- although she loves writing about new technologies -- she might like to un-invent the Internet.
A Conversation with Emily Barton by Caroline M. Grant


The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editors are Laura Roberts and Rudri Patel; read their bios here and here.


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