Motherhood & Words

It’s been a melancholic week, even with the serious basement cleaning that D and I accomplished last weekend. (I’m still on my mission to de-clutter.) Stella started back to school on Monday, and she is thrilled to be a second-grader. Thrilled. She comes home full of stories about her day and her new classmates, and I love this. But I can’t help that tug of emotion: She’s growing up too fast! There is nothing we can do to slow the onward march of time! I have also been missing my grandpa a lot this week. At the beginning of each school year, we would figure out which day would be my grandpa day, the day I would take him for errands, get groceries for him, or later, just visit him and make him lunch. This year, Wednesday is the day I have alone with Zoë, and it would have been my new grandpa day, and all day I felt heavy and disoriented knowing that those days are no longer a part of my life.
It doesn’t help, perhaps, that I’m reading Virginia Woolf’s The Death of the Moth and Other Essays. As I make my way through the collection of essays, I keep thinking of my need to make connections, to share experience. But it seems so futile sometimes. Or maybe it’s just that it’s so much work—it takes so much effort—to continue to move forward, stay open to new experiences in the face of the challenges that life provides. Does it sound like a need some kind of renewal? I do.
My goal for the weekend is to sneak away a few times and sit outside, reading Woolf. Her prose. Oh her prose. I love this:

The rooks too were keeping one of their annual festivities; soaring round the tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots in it had been cast up into the air; which, after a few moments sank slowly down upon the trees until every twig seemed to have a knot at the end of it.

What’s not to love about that?
I’m wishing you all a lovely, relaxing long holiday weekend. 

Posted in


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. Elizabeth on September 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I've always been mad for Virginia Woold — her prose is truly astounding. Thank you for reminding me of her and for including that wonderful passage.

  2. Anonymous on September 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I hope this gets to Kate Hopper. My niece just gave birth to triplet preemies and I am desperate to find out if you have a book written which I could send to her. I found something in the NYT and forwarded it to my sister. Do you have a book out there Ready for Air? Unfortunately I am 4 states away from her and because of not wanting everything posted on facebook or the internet my sister and I rely on phone and texting (you now talking in a hospital setting is not exactly the best way to communicate) I have a facebook page if you have anything in print I would be eternally grateful if you could send the title in a message to me. I know its risky posting my email on a blog but my facebook messaging is more private. She has gone home but babies are still hospitalized.Lets just say the NYT article hits very close to home. Thats all I can say publically. My facebook is:

  3. Anonymous on September 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    also I am so sorry about your father, I know that must be more than difficult. My mom-in-law who I ADORE is in the last stages of Cancer and that too has been difficult so far away. I dread the time I really have to deal with it. For now my little niece and the babies occupies most of my waking AND dreaming moments except for those moments I share with my little grandson who is autistic and yet seems so far the one person that makes me hope, dream and not be afraid to love. Quite an achievement for a 5 yr old…lol I am so glad I discovered your NYT article. When my grandson's mother was born she had to be hospitalized after a few days home and it was found she was allergic to my breast milk…can you imagine…finding out you were making your baby sick…it was terrible I wish you had been a writer back then it certainly would have made me feel not so alone. take care…sure everything is busy with school just starting my grandson started kindergarten and says soon he will be in "big" school. Children can certainly thrive even when the world thinks they can't. 🙂

  4. kate hopper on September 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Anonymous, I'm so sorry that your niece is having to live through the roller coaster that is the NICU. Please e-mail me at katehopper [at] msn [dot] com. My book isn't out yet, but I'm happy to provide what resources I can.

  5. Sarah on September 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Thinking of you, Kate!