Motherhood & Words

I’ve been quiet here these last weeks. Part of the reason is that I’ve been busy. In early June we road-tripped to Winnipeg for a couple of days to see the first U.S. Women’s World Cup game, which was incredible and inspiring. The rest of the month was swallowed up with editing and teaching prep, doctor’s appointments, and the girls’ soccer games. Then we were up north with my family for a week before the 4th, after which I headed straight to Madeline Island to teach my women’s memoir retreat. Busy, yes. But part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while is that I’m not sure what I want to say here right now. I’ve been feeling a need to pull back and take stock.

I’ve been blogging since early 2007. I’ve reviewed dozens of books and interviewed dozens of authors. I’ve blogged about teaching and writing and family. I’ve connected with so many all-around fabulous people. I’m so grateful for that. But this last year with all of my health ups and downs—and it’s still up and down—I’ve realized I have to change something. Slow down. Refocus on my own work. Savor the time I have with my family. Read.

Summer is ordinarily a very busy time of year for me, but this year things have opened up, and I’ve come to realize that this is exactly what I need. I need to sit on the back patio in the morning with Donny, cups of coffee in our hands as we chat, admiring the garden and the life we’ve built together. I need to spend long afternoons with the girls at a city lake or a local pool. Maybe I need to scream my way down the zip line, dropping into the pool with a great splash, thoroughly embarrassing those girls. Maybe.

In my tiny pantry office, I have stacks of books I’ve been sent over the years, books to review. For years my to-do list has always included the name of at least one author to interview. I’ve read incredible books and had the opportunity to chat and email with so many talented and gracious authors. But I think I’m done now. (Yikes. I feel simultaneously thrilled and sick to my stomach writing those words—a sign that, for now at least, they are the right words, the right decision.)

I’m not sure what I do want to do in this space, but my gut tells me that I’d like to bring this blog closer to home, figure out how I can use this space to once again feed my creative process, enhance it. A need to turn inward, to listen to my own pulse.

I don’t know what that will look like, but I hope you’ll stick around and see what happens. I appreciate your patience as I fumble along, testing out what feels right.

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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. Sara on July 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Kate, all of those things—the coffee and the lake and the zipline—sound like what summer should be. I can’t wait to see where you go next. Good job listening to your gut.

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:21 am

      And those slow mornings you wrote about recently, Sara!

  2. Sue on July 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Echoing Sara’s comment about listening to your gut. I am trying to enjoy my unemployed summer and embrace what comes. Will watch with interest what comes next.

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:22 am

      It’s so hard to enjoy that unemployed time without worrying about what’s next, but I hope you can make it happen, Sue! You deserve it!

  3. Laura Nicole Diamond on July 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Sometimes what feels like the hardest decisions are obvious to us only in hindsight. Congratulations on taking a big, and smart, step. Everything will still be where you left it if you decide that returning to it makes sense for you. I look forward to reading what comes next.

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Thanks, Laura!

  4. Joy on July 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Yes, yes, yes! This sounds like exactly what you need to do, Kate. I am happy and excited for you.

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Joy!

  5. Lindsey on July 15, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Whatever you decide, I’ll be reading. xox

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Lindsey! xox

  6. Joanne on July 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I also echo the above, proud of you for listening and honoring that inner wisdom that is so easily overridden by the mind and ego. Taking stock of what’s best and most important to you is wise and courageous, Kate. I wish you the best, and I’ll also keep reading. If you are not at Ashland, which it appears you may not be, I will miss you. Most of all, enjoy!

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Thank you, Joanne! I won’t be at Ashland this summer, but hopefully next summer. I look forward to being in touch!

  7. Sarah on July 15, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I will always stick around. I’m happy for you choosing to focus on what’s most important to you, and glad we friends/readers will still be able to hear what you’re thinking about, which is always a pleasure. xo

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Thank you, dear Sarah! xox

  8. Gloria Howard on July 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Motherhood is about mothering ourselves too, right? I think it is. Perhaps you can think of this time as a gestation of sorts, bringing something else to life? I have been grateful for all of your words that you’ve shared on this blog. Your book Ready for Air inspired me to get back into a writing group and write about the short life of my daughter Julia. Thank you.
    Enjoy every minute of thisbeautiful summer.

    • Kate on July 15, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Oh Gloria, thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter. I’m so grateful that Ready for Air helped lead you back to writing. I look forward to being in touch and hearing how the writing progresses. Warmly, Kate

  9. Karna on July 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    You’re wise to recognize the need to adjust and refocus. Each day with our children and our own muse is precious.

    • Kate on July 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Thank you, Karna. That’s so true, isn’t it?

  10. Nina on July 15, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    I feel this so much for different reasons, but same conclusion. As for reading, yes, there are so many books I want to read, yet, I feel this obligation to help writer friends. I miss wandering into a bookstore and just picking a book that looks good and not something that is a favor, etc. It’s a real challenge.

    As for what to do with my blog, I have those questions, too. The internet feels so over-saturated–every genre. And not just with blogs. There are many collaborative sites, online literary journals, etc. There is SO MUCH. Plenty of it is excellent, but there is only so much time. I feel like I’ve spent the past few years amassing credits for short stories and essays. And I’ve had some success. But to what end? I’m not sure. I’m using this summer to refocus though it may take much longer than that.

    • Kate on July 17, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Yes, exactly, Nina! I look forward to hearing what the fall might bring for you, as well!

  11. Kara on July 16, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Right there with you sister!

    • Kate on July 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

      And we need to get together, my friend!

  12. alma on July 16, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I’m a writing mama as well. Hi, I’ve enjoyed browsing through your blog. I clicked on some of the links to your interviews on TV as well and I liked how you told one of the anchors on AM Northwest that you didn’t like the term “mommy blog” because it makes people “discard” the work we are doing. You go girl. Right on.

    You also speak with such eloquence. I will be checking out some of your other links 🙂


    • alma on July 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Oh and I will be looking for you on Twitter 🙂

    • Kate on July 17, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words, Alma! I look forward to being in touch and hearing more about your work!

  13. Suzi Banks Baum on July 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Kate. Oh, I’d like to slide in to one of the chairs on your porch for a long afternoon of wondering together. You have constructed such a vibrant platform here. I am really impressed by your commitment to continue to make sure it truly reflects who you are and what you are about. This is key. Otherwise, it becomes someone else’s platform. I ebb and flow on my site. I run the blog series then I really have to slow down to a stop. Take stock. See what makes my flags wave. I wish we could meet up in person soon. I will be in Upper Michigan, teaching during mid-August. I will wave to you from Superior. All my best, S

    • Kate on July 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Suzi, some day we WILL sit across from each other in person and wonder and delve and laugh. I know it. And I love the way you put it: “See what makes my flags wave.” Exactly! Have a wonderful time in the UP!

  14. Andrea on July 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Kate, I’m excited to see what direction you take your blog in…and so glad to know you’re sticking around (I had my breath held through that whole post…awaiting the ax!!). Enjoy the pool and the zip line and summer!

    • Kate on July 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Oh Andrea, thank you! I can’t imagine not being here, I just have to figure out what “here” look like. xoxo

  15. Angie Mizzell on July 25, 2015 at 6:52 am

    “I think I’m done now.” Yes. I felt my own stomach flip flop when I read that because I know how freeing those words can be. Love you, my friend! xo

    • Kate on August 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you, dear Angie! I know you know!! xoxox

  16. Hallie Sawyer on August 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Eagerly awaiting what comes next! Whatever it is, I know it will be 100% Kate and I will love it. xoxo

    • Kate on August 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you, my dear! xox Looks like I can’t stop writing about books I love.