This month is the first in almost nine years that I haven’t helped to prepare the September issue of Literary Mama. This summer, I handed the Poetry Editor reins to my talented colleague and poetic co-conspirator Juli Anna Herndon so I could pursue a writing career. The Poetry department, and the overall site, is in excellent hands, yet I feel bittersweet about closing this chapter of my literary life.
When I first became a mother in 2005, I was finishing my MFA in poetry, surrounded by writers and literature as well as by diapers and burp cloths. But when I graduated, full-time motherhood left me isolated. My days and nights slowed to the baby’s rhythms, while my former classmates and colleagues sped toward their literary ambitions (or so it felt to me).
Then I discovered Literary Mama. A trove of writing by and about writer-mamas, sharing the good, bad, and the weird. I dug in during naps, while nursing, in the middle of the night while the baby played, and I found myself recharged. I didn’t need to choose between motherhood and writing; here were parents able to blend the two. I decided I could do it, too.
I gathered my nerve and submitted a few book reviews, which were warmly welcomed. I found working with the editors so pleasant that I decided to offer my editorial expertise. Could they use some proofreading, light editing, cyber-floor sweeping? To my delight, the poetry editor, Sharon Kraus, was looking for an associate to help dig her out from under the mountain of submissions. I became a part of the Literary Mama community from the inside, and though I have never met any of my “coworkers” in person, I’ve found them to be lovely, supportive, caring, and encouraging, a true creative community.
As Associate Poetry Editor, and then Poetry Editor, I was delighted to develop professionally in an ideal, supportive environment while supporting other mother-writers. I collaborated with wonderful minds, shared triumphs and griefs, and learned from a network of writers and editors that spans the globe.
I’m proud of the diverse viewpoints about motherhood that Literary Mama supports, the strong commitment to quality writing and editing, and the mutual support for our fellow editors and writers. This work has always felt so important, so valuable, and so special to me. It’s been an honor to watch Literary Mama evolve through the years to become the powerful, independent journal it is today. I can’t wait to see where it will go in the future. I’ll always be one of Literary Mama’s biggest champions, once again as a devoted reader.
Best of luck to all of the editors of Literary Mama, and my gratitude for honoring the voices and work of mother-writers.