Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: Under the Skin

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In Under the Skin: Lessons in Transformation, Kim Todd writes about researching a 17th century artist’s illustrations of metamorphosis while pregnant herself:

"She captured all the caterpillar gains by its different guises: its mouth is shaped to eat leaves when leaves are plentiful; its mouth disappears when it tucks itself away in a chrysalis; its mouth turns to a long proboscis to suck nectar when it lives the flitting life of a butterfly. The ability to alter, to move from singular to plural and back, is the insect’s greatest strength. It has the flexibility to creep and hide at certain times; to become liquid and immobile; then eventually, like the one that launched itself off the balcony into a gray, Netherlands sky, to soar off on gaudy wings."

Consider the caterpillar changing into a butterfly, the pregnant woman growing a baby, the multitasking mom trying to get her kids out the door. If you could grow a new part of your body to help you write or mother, describe what would it be.


Caroline M. Grant served on the editorial board of Literary Mama for over ten years, including five as Editor-in-Chief. She is currently Associate Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, which provides grants to writers and artists with children.

She is the co-editor of two anthologies: The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost Books, 2013) and Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008). Her column, Mama at the Movies, ran on Literary Mama for six years; she has published essays in a number of other journals and anthologies.

She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons; she writes about food and family on her blog and at Learning to Eat. Visit her website for more information, including clips from her radio and television events.

Caroline is former editor-in-chief for Literary Mama.


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