My plays are colored by motherhood. My poetry, a fairly recent undertaking, comes back to themes of mothering again and again. My two girls were with me throughout the entirety of my PhD (which I regularly referred to as my third child). And my dissertation, like most things I produce, has an underlying current of not being precisely one thing or another.
Rather than force a return to the poems I was working on, I needed to write differently. I needed to intentionally mark the rupture between past and present, before becoming a mother, and after. I needed to explore another genre altogether.
The travelers were much younger than I am now, from different countries, and different time periods, but they had all arrived at a turning point in their lives and needed to answer the perennial question of what to do next.
I used to be precious about my writing time. Everything needed to be just so before I could start laying one word after another. My sacred place had to be perfect: my office, espresso, a little Miles Davis, and no interruptions. What a crock of shit.
That pretentious girl, who rolled her eyes at her mom’s Danielle Steele novels, would have scoffed at the mom I’ve become, engaged in a heated debate with my kids about whether the Captain Underpants movie was better than the book series.
I felt like I couldn’t be the writer I wanted to be. And I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be. So what was I? Nothing of any value. A package of shattered tile.
What does it mean when a female writer cannot share and describe what could very likely have been one of the most transformative experiences of her life?
Maria Odessky Rosen
A writer needs a writing nook. A space that is the perfect combination of inspiration and (dis)comfort. My nook started out in a perfectly nook-appropriate place in our home: the little study by the front door.
Arthur said, “You shouldn’t use that word.” I had had no idea that he was looking over my shoulder at the computer screen. I confronted the word “ass” plainly in front of us. I was kind of relieved. There were worse things going on in that story, much worse things that he could pick up on.
Moving away from writing had been part of growing up for me. I had established a fulfilling yet practical career and worked as hard and as fast and as much as I could until I looked up and hardly recognized myself.
I was engaging in a tradition perhaps hundreds of thousands of years old—transmitting moral and cultural wisdom to the next generation through spontaneous storytelling.
Literary Reflections Archives