Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Editor’s Letter, December 2014

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"Pink Rose" by Maria Scala

"Pink Rose" by Maria Scala

It's the last week of school before the winter break, and I find myself clearing out closets, squishing my kids' outgrown clothing into bins for giveaway. Maybe I toss out the odd toy or game with missing pieces. Ultimately, I'm making room for what's to come. This is a common mindset for many of us this time of year—"Out with the old, in with the new."

But I can't seem to get rid of that pale pink dress (size 5) with the delicate rose and that my daughter never wore. It was a gift from her nonna—my mom. So I push it to the back of the closet, to its rightful place next to the penguin Halloween costume that saw a lot more wear. Then, I close the door.

This month at Literary Mama, many of our contributors are anticipating new experiences, while others hope to dwell a little longer in the moment. As always, we are offering up a diverse range of voices and perspectives.

In Columns, Ona Gritz is happy about her new living arrangement, but her college-age son seems keen that they "Don't Mention It"; Cassie Premo Steele shares the reader responses of three women who've dug deep in order to claim themselves as mother poets; Beth Malone, on a recent trip to the zoo, likens the "Smack and Snap" of a chameleon catching its prey to the lightning speed of her children growing up. Two of our longtime friends, Marjorie Osterhout and Avery Fischer Udagawa, are moving on, and both have written beautiful final installments of their columns. Marjorie signs off with "The Perfect Birth Plan" and Avery with "Mind the Gaps."

In Creative Nonfiction, "The Neighbor" by Marci G. Schur, is a lovely piece on maternal, as well as romantic, intimacy, from the point of view of a single mother.

In Fiction, there's "Plenty of Air" by Shawn Nocher—a wonderfully nuanced story about a mother's hopes for her daughter, and that also explores some unexpected territory, including God, and the changing relationship between a husband and wife.

Literary Reflections brings us an Essential Reading List on "Traditions," in which our editors provide some seasonal inspiration, including how to create your own Literary Advent Calendar or Christmas Book Countdown.

Poetry captures moments we can't easily forget, with: "Memoir of Another World" by Holly Day; "Baby Loves Trucks" by Margaret Young; "I put down everything" by Adrienne Mayse; "Two poems by Melissa Sewell"; "Don't Forget" by Mistee St. Clair; and "East River Courtship" by Stephanie Laterza.

We have a lively Profile of Kelly Light, the author and illustrator of the delightful children's book Louise Loves Art with "My Imagination on the Outside" by Gina Consolino-Barsotti. Once you see the gorgeous two-page spread of the interior art, you'll know why I use the word "delightful."

There are two excellent Reviews: Julie Swarstad Johnson discusses one woman's remarkable story of transracial adoption, addiction, and recovery, with "Imprisoned Mothers, Imprisoned Babies: A Review of Deborah Jiang-Stein's Prison Baby"; and Alyse Bensel finds the common thread of empathy and understanding with "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning: A Review of Know the Night and Precipice Fruit."

And please visit our Blog for up-to-date information on Calls for Submissions, guest posts for our After Page One, For Your Journal, and Announcements.

During this busy holiday season, we hope you can take the time to enjoy the great mix of writing available on these pages. We are always grateful when you comment on our site, and when you share all this good writing with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

All the best,


Maria Scala lives with her family in Toronto, where she works as a freelance writer and editor. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Sweet Lemons 2: International Writings with a Sicilian Accent, Descant, The Mom Egg, Literary Mama, PoetryReviews, and Exploring Voice: Italian Canadian Female Writers. Maria holds an MPub from Simon Fraser University. She is a former columns editor, senior editor, and editor-in-chief for Literary Mama.

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