Rudri Bhatt Patel
Gender is indeed a social construct; women and nonbinary people are its ultimate scapegoat. All our lives, we have to run against a shadow larger than ours, a shadow of perfection against which we are expected to measure ourselves, in order to be perfect as a woman or a daughter or a mother or a partner or a wife or a coworker.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I searched high and low for a place online that served my community in a way that didn’t leave us as the exception. I couldn’t find that place. I also didn’t want to blog about my own child, so I started thinking bigger than myself. As I grew in motherhood, my views became much more inclusive to the extent that I wanted to make space for other marginalized people. I wanted to celebrate each person but also allow for the mundane.
I think it’s important for writers, especially new writers, to understand that everyone’s first novel was written under impossible circumstances. Most people are writing their first novel around the edges of a job; they’re writing on the train; they’re writing with kids at home. My students think, “This is impossible. I can’t do this,” and we’ll talk about how most first novels have been written that way.
Both parents have to be willing to start over, to treat co-parenting as a new, separate relationship—not a new battleground to keep rehashing the past or punishing the other parent. Treat it like a business arrangement, if you have to; you don’t have to be friends, or even like each other; just be civil. It helps immensely if you can trust and respect your co-parent.
Then, when my sons were in the NICU, I had a lightning-bolt moment. Life was short and unpredictable. I couldn’t just sit around and think about how someday I’d write a bunch of books. I realized that I didn’t really know that much about writing, but I knew that it was an art, and I knew how to be a working artist.
The twenties are abundant with fascinating social, political, and economic issues and upheavals! So often, the first images that come to mind with “The Roaring Twenties” are glitzy flapper girls in cities, with jazz playing in the background. There’s nothing wrong with exploring that part of the era, but as I studied the decade, I was struck by how different life was in rural areas.
We publish profiles of writers who are mothers, writers who write about motherhood, and writers who have something to say to mothers. This includes well-known, living mama writers, of course, but also off-beat, lesser-known, not-so-obvious mama writers. Read more here.