Motherhood & Words

Do you know those students? The ones who say things and you think, oh yes, that’s what I meant to say, but they actually said it better than you could have? Andrea Lani is one of those people.

I met Andrea in one of my early online Motherhood & Words classes, and then she took an advanced version of the class, and each time I read her work, I was wowed by her. (She’s now finishing up her MFA in fiction, so watch out people.) But she’s not just a talented writer, she’s also a mom to three boys, has a day job, publishes a zine, takes fabulous photographs, and can craft just about anything into anything. Honestly, whenever I visit her blog I feel so terribly lazy. (That’s not to say, of course, that she’s bragging about her skills–she’s not that way at all.)

There is always a part of me that’s nervous when I know my students are reading my work. Because what if they hate it? (On a bad day I imagine copies of my books flying over shoulders and mutterings that sound a lot like “I knew she was full of shit.”) Which is why I’m so happy if instead they say nice things.

Today, my blog tour stop is over at Andrea’s Remains of the Day. Andrea writes:

In her essay “Talking About Mothers” Sara Ruddick writes, “In writing as in living, it is difficult to describe the pleasures of motherhood without sentimentality, to discuss the inevitable pain without false pathos, to balance the grim and the satisfying aspects and to speak of each honestly.” Kate Hopper has hit that sweet spot in Ready for Air. As I read, Kate’s love for Stella, her fear, her exhaustion, her frustration, all radiated off the page, and always felt completely genuine and not sentimental. Now I’m going to go back and read Ready for Air again, much more slowly this time, to try and see how she pulled it off.

Thank you, Andrea, for your powerful writing, your envy-inducing crafting, and for being part of the Ready for Air blog tour. I’m grateful! Please go check out Andrea’s blog, friends. And from there you can click on links to her published writing.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Andrea on October 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Kate, you really are the sweetest person I’ve ever met (even if we only met for a few minutes in real life!!)! Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for sending me your book to read. Thank you for continuing to be a wonderful teacher!

    • Kate on October 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Oh Andrea, thank YOU! And next time we’re in the same place, we’re going to have drinks and dinner!

  2. Sue on October 31, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I am excited to go and read Andrea’s blog. And there is an advanced version of Motherhood & Words?????? Can I have missed that? Is it still an option?

    • Kate on October 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Oh Sue! I did it once, but it was so much work for me that I haven’t tried it again. But it was fabulous! Each participant got to turn in 50 pages–one person per week. Then I created the next week’s lecture based on issues that came up in those 50 pages. It was so much fun, but I had to churn out a thoughtful lecture with links to appropriate readings, etc. in less than a day, and that was overwhelming. But maybe if I rethink the logistics a bit, and give myself more time to plan, I can do it again. I’ll definitely keep you posted!