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

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


Dear Clarence

Dear Clarence, my creative genius,

Mothering cracks me open and spreads me out and the few words I’ve been able to retain on this journey are the most precious of my existence. It may not be my most impactful work, but it is the only work that no one else can do. This is what I want to savor. You have peered at me through unfocused, newborn eyes. You have smothered me in six-month arm rolls. You have tormented me in teething and fevers and head bumps.  I have recorded just enough of those moments to tempt you to stick with me. Just enough memories kept to know that if I summon and you decide to visit we can work something out. You weren’t the one threatening to leave, though, I can see that now.

Photo by Amanda Morris

Photo by Amanda Morris

In reclaiming my creative genius, I thought it helpful to name you. The only other Clarence truly familiar to me is George Bailey’s guardian angel in It’s A Wonderful Life. I have curled up on my parents’ couch each holiday season for decades to watch George slowly come to his senses, and have slowly come to my senses about the truth in that movie as well. Clarence the wingless angel did more than just keep George Bailey from jumping off a bridge. He demonstrated in a dozen different ways how George Bailey’s story mattered. That no one can replace George Bailey to his wife, children, employer, brother, and town. George was under the impression that there were a thousand other people living their lives better than him and that silence was acceptable or even best. Then Clarence arrived. Pointing out to George—and to me—that there is a world that needs our stories. George needed to live and I need to write.

You have been a patient genius, biding your time in another area of my being until I was able to commit.

Every Tuesday in a round, wooden sanctuary a thousand angels get their wings. Bells peel throughout the church and amidst the cringe inspiring wrong notes, a spark carries on. Music is how the creative me has been sustained through the blanket of motherhood. You aren’t just a writing genius, after all. When my rhythm of self was off, I could escape into the music and feel confident in that syncopation. There is syncopation to wordsmithing as well, but instead of coordinating with twelve other musicians I have to coordinate with my twelve selves. That coordination of music, and words, requires practice.

I’d like to take a cue from you and bridge that gap. Every week after rehearsal I drive by the café in town that stays open late. The lights there stay on later than my mama body can handle, but we can meet until 9pm. We'll order a decaf chai latte and settle into the padded corner booth to rediscover one another after years of poor maintenance. I’ll stare at the exposed brick wall more often than I should and attempt to lip read the second date conversation across the room instead of doing the work, but eventually we’ll write some words, and then a sentence, and then a story.

I do hope you’ll come.

Your recommitted vessel,



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 Ressler is a writer, full-time social worker, and mother who loves little city living with her husband and two-year-old daughter. Her writing has been featured most prominently on her home computer in a folder titled “Drafts,” but has recently appeared on and can also be found at

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