Motherhood & Words

I’m sitting in a small café in Winnetka, Illinois, with an hour to spare before my Motherhood & Words workshop at StoryStudio. It’s chilly outside, on this first day of fall, and I’m grateful for the hot coffee and steaming eggs in front of me.

It’s been a quick, but full trip. Yesterday I was a guest on WGN Midday News (which you can watch here.) And as always, I met such interesting people while I was waiting in the green room. There was a group there promoting a weekend fashion show, the proceeds of which will go to The Chicago Lighthouse. A really inspiring group of people. You can watch their segment here.)

After leaving the WGN studios, I drove to the StoryStudio Chicago location in Ravenswood, and reconnected with their fabulous director and staff before my first Motherhood & Words workshop. I can’t think of a more satisfying and fulfilling way to spend an afternoon. What an amazing group of mother writers (and one fabulous dad writer)!

After the workshop, I drove back to Elmhurst where I had a quick dinner with my nieces and nephew and then headed with my sister-in-law to Barnes & Noble in Oakbrook Center. It goes without saying that I love being out in the community, connecting with readers. But last night was particularly interesting. There were a number of people who just happened to be at B&N and ended up sitting down with me. And it was fascinating. Each of them was trying to find their way into words, into a way to express their incredible and sometimes heartbreaking stories. But they hadn’t planned to go to the reading. They hadn’t planned to sit down with me. (Heck, they had no idea who I was.) But there we were, sharing our stories and talking about craft and the best way to get started writing.

This morning, my step-brother, Kyle, said, “That’s what we say is a ‘God moment.’” I’ve heard that term—“it was a God thing”—but it’s not a phrase I use. The few times I have heard it, I have wondered, “Isn’t that just a coincidence? Or serendipity?” But last night seemed different. Too serendipitous? Too coincidental? How did these disparate people come together without meaning to? How did I end up being able to sit with them and listen to a little of their lives?

At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, it seemed that the universe was at work.

This morning I drove up to Winnetka feeling full of life’s possibilities. I plugged in my iPod and turned up the music, smiling when Zoë’s and Stella’s favorite song, “Call Me Maybe,” came on.

I feel ready for the next thing, ready to embrace the possibilities before me. I’m ready.

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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. Beth Nyland on September 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Another great word for that is one Julia Cameron uses: synchronicity. Wherever those moments come from, it sure feels good when we notice them, doesn’t it?!

    It was great to meet you at StoryStudio this week. The workshop inspired me and that fabulous dad, too!

    • Kate on September 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      I love that, as well, Beth!

      It was so lovely to meet you and Jim. What a wonderful couple you are!!

  2. Galit Breen on September 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Sounds like a beautiful moment where the universe definitely at work! Love!

    • Kate on October 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you, Galit! It really was!

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