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

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A guest post to motivate, encourage and inspire...

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The Power of Words

This spring I completed my first year as a (low-residency) graduate student working towards an MFA in creative nonfiction writing. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve undertaken and one of the most intense years of my life. Top off the reading, the writing, and the discussion groups with parenting and family responsibilities and it’s a wonder I made it out alive. But, yes, it was worth it for all I learned.

I studied writers who are masters at descriptive language. I dug deep into analyzing the writing of classic and modern nature writers. I spent hours discussing books and authors and craft topics online. I was lucky to have the guidance of two different skilled and wise mentors. And I discovered methods of writing unknown to me before.

But the greatest thing I learned became clear to me only last week. My son’s school district superintendent is implementing a radical technology initiative, and decided to do so without consulting parents and caregivers, or asking for feedback and input. As word of the initiative slowly spreads, some parents are asking questions and challenging the district’s choices. I am one of those parents. Though the administration is attempting to answer questions, their plan is moving forward despite our resistance.

I was recently invited to a small meeting with my son’s school principal and the superintendent. There, they aimed to convince me, and a handful of other parents, that dramatically increasing our children’s screen time was educationally beneficial. As I explained my disagreement, they nodded politely and noted that everyone has a voice; I was there speaking to them, and I will be heard at upcoming Board of Education meetings as well. What crossed my mind as these men sat across the table humoring me, patronizing me, was that yes, indeed, I have a voice. And my voice is best heard by the words I write and adeptly send into the world.

A year ago I might have hemmed and hawed, not felt bold enough or skilled enough to write a convincing op-ed for the newspaper, or draft a competent petition for parents to sign. Now, thanks to a year of writing growth, support and achievement, my words are blooming with clarity and depth. I feel able to craft thoughtful, informed and impassioned writing and shout those words from every rooftop. I may not be able to change one superintendent’s mind about one particular issue, but my voice is loud and strong. Words are a powerful weapon. And today, my aim is truer than ever.

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

 


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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