Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Support

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire

New Seeds and Writing Bridges


Kate Hopper’s Motherhood and Words online course bridged me to other mother-writers and ushered in fiercely encouraging, specific feedback. It was a powerful choice, helping me put my gleanings into words; I also gained relationships that may move forward many years.

What friendships may be forged from reading and typing personal essays, words of memoir? I hope to find out, chasing after the habits established in our 10 ½ weeks of coursework.

Two years of high school creative writing with an exceptional, looks-into-my-soul, challenges-me-for-word-choice kind of teacher radically changed me. I bounded towards writing as if by catapult. I could look inward, tug on something, scratch at some nagging thought, and spin it into something readable, something that felt better. This is the power of a teacher who says, “I know you. What you speak of is real and true. Look, see I highlighted these words.” Such a teacher propels us to read gorgeous work, think like a writer, and turn inward to what our own heart speaks.

That was high school. Almost twenty years later, I remember my own hopes for publishing work. My belly has grown round and defined with motherhood, deflating two times. I now carry stories of birth. My energy and nutrients are daily zapped and recharged with nursing and laughing. There is peace and exhaustion. I grow new limbs that carry small oaks and still, I desire delving into words, recording experience.

Writing, it seems, is a declaration. You plant a seed or you don’t. My writing covers the house in vines, connecting all the frenetic activity of family, all the old dreams and right-now recordings of not just me, but my fantastically hilarious, brilliant, own children and spouse. Now it is not just me; there is the sense of inscribing some sort of we-were-here, we-live-here, right now, as if in wet cement. I record speech and sound; I am the journal. I am the one tending the garden that gives back each season. I hold the measuring tape, the mirror, at our family experience. I am replenished.

Participating in Motherhood and Words was a grand seed of decision. The class experience showed me that I could indeed make wise decisions as a writer, from the very onset, starting with signing up for the course. I learned a great deal -- valuing my own voice, selecting the right tense, the care in painting characters through my descriptions that will make images last. I remember loss. I record gain. I write to answer, “How will you know my little son with his four gapped teeth and curling ringlets, all “bedhead”? What language shall I call upon to help you conceive the very sweetness and curiosity that is him? How will I record the tender moments between daughter and dad?” I call on the help of friends—the gifted teacher, the classmates who become trusted compatriots, all of us, writers.

I weed, water, and keep on building routines that get me writing. I trust that in sifting and digging, putting my words in the light, and sharing, something glorious will spring up; it might even be a published piece.


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 publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

Melissa Uchiyama lives in Tokyo with her wonderfully loving, precocious clan. Her writing appears in Kveller, Asian Jewish Life, Cargo Literary Blog, and within the HerStories anthology Mothering Through the Darkness.

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