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Saturday, October 29, 2011

a new name, a new look

For almost five years, I have been blogging here under the name “Mother Words.” I have also taught classes, led retreats, coordinated an annual reading, and mentored other women writers under that name.

It’s time for a change.

It’s been a hellish year in which I lost ten pounds and gained ten pounds (inevitable, I guess). But it’s also been a year of clarification and, dare I say, empowerment.

I began teaching my class for mothers in June 2006 because I wanted to create a place when writing by women about motherhood would be taken seriously as art, where it would be critiqued and nurtured. I began blogging about writing and motherhood to extend the reach of my classes, to broaden the discussion around motherhood literature, and promote some of the wonderful motherhood literature that is currently being written and published.

Along the way, I discovered writing that changed me, that made me not only a better mother, but a better person. It takes courage to write the truth of our daily lives, and I’m grateful to all the mothers who are crafting their lives into art, who are making the path easier or perhaps less lonely for another mother down the line. 

When we encounter a challenge, we are forced to take stock and evaluate the importance of our work. And here it is: I believe in my work. I am committed to helping mothers find a way to the page, deepen their sense of craft, and touch the lives of others with their words. I am committed to promoting motherhood literature and advocating for writers whose work is continually marginalized and discarded. I am committed to helping develop a sense of community—virtual and in-person—where we can write the stories we need to write.

I am excited to announce my new brand: Motherhood & Words™.

I hope that this new name encompasses my renewed passion and my broader focus. Historically, I have spent most of my time promoting memoirs and essays that use motherhood as a lens through which to understand the world. I want to expand the discussion and encompass more poets and fiction writers whose subject may not be motherhood, but whose writing is, perhaps, informed by motherhood. And always I am fascinated by the joys and challenges of getting words on the page in the midst of motherhood.

Please join me at I’m grateful for your readership, your friendship, and your support. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

hitting a wall

I’ve hit a wall. The early mornings, the rushing, the gazillion things on my to do list that I never have time to get to are taking their toll. I said to Donny this morning, “Can’t we just move to Barcelona?” This has actually become a joke between us—I’ve asked it a hundred times over the last year when stress threatens to get the better of me.

I know that moving to Barcelona wouldn’t solve all our problems, but it would provide a distraction from them, no?

And really, I don’t want to move—not yet anyway. There is a lot going on, yes. But so much of it is really wonderful. The reading last week was fabulous. I’m so grateful to Jill Christman and Sonya Huber for flying into town for the event. And I’m grateful to all of you who made it down to Open Book. Sonya read a hilarious piece titled “Breast is Best” and Jill read her equally hilarious “Weaning Ella.” I was sandwiched in between with a more serious section from my memoir. (If you missed the reading you can listen online. It will be the 100th podcast on Mom Enough. I’ll post a link when it’s live in a couple of weeks.)

Another good thing: Teaching. I love Tuesday mornings, when I don’t have to rush straight to the office. Instead, I have an hour to sit and write before spending two delightful hours with a truly inspiring group of mother writers. What could be better?

But over the last month and a half as I tried to juggle full-time work with family and my writing career, I realized that it’s not motherhood and writing that are difficult to manage (as it sometimes seemed in the past); it is full-time work and writing that are at odds. Even if I get up at 5 am, as I’ve been doing most weekdays, I have so much other work do to during that hour that I never get to my own writing.

Wait. I’ve just looked at what I’ve written, and I’m shaking my head. WTH? “Stop complaining, Ms. Hopper. You’re lucky to have a job. Pull yourself together.”

Alright. Okay. I’m done. I promise. I’ll recalibrate and be back soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I love my class at the Loft, which started last week. What an amazing group of women! I love teaching online, but there is nothing like being in a physical space with a group of mother writers. I leave class elated and inspired. Thank you, ladies!

Also, I wanted to let you know that the Parenting Express 2012 short story (memoir) contest guidelines are posted. Submissions open November 30, and there are a ton of prizes for the winner and runners-up. Parenting Express is an online monthly journal based out of Australia. Submit. Submit. Submit.

I'm still getting up by 5 am, but so far these mornings have been full of class prep and grant writing. Still, I'm working on it.

Lastly, don't forget about the 5th Annual Mother Words reading at Open Book next week:

Thursday, October 13 - 7 p.m.

A reading and reception with the wonderful and talented Jill Christman and Sonya Huber! Join us!