Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Why I Write

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire

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Why I Write

 

It is early in the morning. My dogs are lazing by my feet. My husband and daughter are still asleep upstairs. The fish will have to wait for breakfast until Ev gets up. I write before the day seeps in, before all of the chatter from work, mommyhood, wifehood, and humanness pulls me.

I have always written. But the urgency of it increased after my second miscarriage. I had been trying to get and stay pregnant for years. I looked for books that would tell my story, offer me comfort, but other than the guidebook for miscarriage, A Silent Sorrow, I didn’t find any.

I never thought people would want to hear what I had to write. I approached each scene as an island, a free-floating piece that didn’t need to connect to another one. A piece I never imagined anyone else would see. A way for me to heal and write the story that I wanted—needed—to read. I woke up in the morning and wrote an island. Before Ev came, nothing forced me to rush my writing. Now that Ev is here, I write on a timer, her first rustlings from upstairs my signal to close my computer. Practically, writing without her around was easier. Emotionally, it was almost impossible.

Then the islands started to find homes in collections and online. First, I had to fight the narrative in my head: “Infertility and miscarriage aren’t really a problem. Other people have it so much worse” or “What will my friends, my colleagues, my family, my husband think? Am I oversharing?” But I reminded myself of what I tell my students: that everyone has a story. EVERYONE. I was terrified.

People read them. More people than I could imagine would. They sent me messages telling me their stories. Often I was the first person they told of their miscarriages. That they felt ashamed telling others, as if it were their fault. When I ran into people on the street, they took the time to tell me how much they appreciated my essays. They recounted details they remembered from my writing. They told me they felt less alone.

So now I write this morning and sometime soon Ev’s little voice will begin to call “Momma, momma.” I will close my computer and trot up the steps so I can take my baby girl in my arms. I will stop typing, but I will not stop composing, for Ev is my story now, and I write of her and, more importantly, for her, so she will live in a world in which we all feel less alone.

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Join our After Page One series.  We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.   The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll also publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.


Colleen Lutz Clemens, assistant professor of Non-Western Literatures at Kutztown University, is the editor of several books of non-fiction including Philadelphia Reflections:  Stories from the Delaware to the Schuylkill and has published short essays in various collections.  When she finds some writing time, she works on a memoir about her journey to have her daughter.  She lives in Bucks County, PA, with her partner, two dogs, and daughter.  She can be reached via her blog  or her editing website.


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