Motherhood & Words

Well, it’s the last day of school. Summer vacation is upon us. I’m grateful for the longer days and the sunshine and I look forward to less-rushed mornings at home. But, boy am I going to be busy this summer. I shifted into “GO!” mode last week, as I prepped for the River Teeth conference, which was last weekend in Ashland, Ohio. Once again, it was fantastic. Philip Gerard and Brenda Miller with the featured speakers, and they were outstanding, as were all of the panels. Honestly friends, if you write nonfiction, you have to try to get to this conference at some point. (Videos of the presentations will be available soon, and I’ll make sure to link to them when they’re live.)

So that trip was stellar (with the exception of Sunday night, which I spent uncomfortably curled up on a bench at O’Hare.) Understandably, I was not my best self Monday morning at the kick off session of my June Motherhood & Words class at the JCC. Luckily it’s a great group and they were very forgiving of my wrinkled clothes and lack of mental acuity.

Now I’m juggling a couple of editing jobs and planning (or thinking about planning) for my women’s memoir retreat at Madeline Island School of the Arts (there’s still space!) and my classes at Ashland’s MFA residency in July.  Summer is always a little tricky because the rest of my family is on vacation, but I, clearly, am not. So I have to abandon my home office and camp out at the coffee shop for most of the day, which can be a little tiresome. But somehow everything gets done and I get to play a little.

What are your summer plans? How are you going to fit in your writing?

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. Nina on June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I enjoyed following the tweets from people attending the Riverteeth conference. Sounds like it went really well!

    And I so hear you on summer and the different schedule. I MUCH prefer the school year and the predictability of our days. Even with the snow.

    • Kate on June 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Nina, you would LOVE that conference. You have to go at some point!

      And yes, part of me agrees. (I would totally agree if Donny didn’t have the summer off and take the lead on child care!) But I love the break from making lunches and get up at the crack of dawn! (Though you do that anyway…)

  2. Sara on June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Let’s see, I’ll be dreaming of your retreat—sounds so good and I was extra tempted when Sue said she was coming again, but not this year.

    Summer plans—two camping trips, swimming lessons for the kids, a week at the beach (aka visiting my parents), gardening, canning, canning, canning, run a 10K

    My big editing projects are winding up, which opens up some time my tentative schedule is to focus one morning a week on memoir, one on articles, and one on general business stuff. That leaves me a couple of mornings or afternoons of work time to play with and plenty of time to just be outside in the garden or with the kids.

    • Kate on June 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Sara, that sounds lovely! It sounds like you have a great mix of work/creative and play time! Brava! Of course I would have loved to have you at Madeline Island! You AND Sue in the same retreat. Some day it will happen. Enjoy! (And I know I’ve benefited from the canning, so I love that you’re planning lots this summer!) 🙂

  3. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer) on June 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    You are a very busy woman but it sounds like you have a good plan to tackle the work ahead. Just don’t forget to enjoy the summer before it’s gone! xo

    • Kate on June 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      I know, Hallie! Especially since it was such a long winter. But I’ll also be co-coaching Zoe’s rec soccer team until Donny’s coaching schedule clears up, so that will be fun, and there will be some time at my mom’s cabin mixed in, too, so I’m hoping for some relaxing in addition to the work!

  4. Barb Buckner Suarez on June 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Kate: We still have a week left to go (with extra days added on for snow this year!) and I have mixed feelings about it all. I’m never sure who’s more ready for school to end when June begins – me, or my kids! We have two bookend trips this Summer – a family reunion cruise in Alaska (!) and my personal favorite, 10 days of camping on the Oregon Coast. In between, dance, soccer, theater and fashion design camps, swim lessons and the oldest heading off to High School in the Fall while the youngest heads into Kindergarten! I am still trying to figure out exactly how I will get writing in this Summer. But I am determined to make it happen! Good luck to you and all your endeavors as well. I’d love to make it to that conference some year! It sounds fabulous!

    • Kate on June 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Oh Barb, the Alaska cruise downs fabulous! (The camping, too, of course, but we did an Alaska trip with my dad when I was in middle school, and I’ll never forget it.) I’m hoping for a few quiet mornings in there for you, and with your youngest heading to kindergarten in the fall, there certainly will be more time for your writing, no? Enjoy it all!

  5. Sue on June 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Kicking off my summer with your MISA retreat. Two weeks east to visit family as summer winds down. First summer working FT in ages so trying to figure out how to get writing time in and play time with my teens. I was in Eden Prairie on Thursday night for work. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Yes Sara, hope you will join us one day.

    • Kate on June 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      What? You were here in MN? I would cry at not getting to see you but for the retreat coming up!

  6. Andrea on June 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Sounds like all good stuff, Kate! But I hope you get a teensy bit of fun time in the summer too. And my kids would be soooo jealous. They still have most of two weeks of school to go!

    • Kate on June 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

      I know, Andrea! I will get a little cabin time, so that’s good, but even when we’re up north, I’ll have to head to the coffee shop just about every day to log in a couple of hours of work. But somehow it’s not as bad when I’m up there!

  7. jenn on June 10, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Oh, I wish I could spend a week at Madeline Island with you! But I’ll be here, trying to rise with the sun to write and train. I’m looking forward to the videos from River Teeth, someday I’ll get there.

    • Kate on June 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Writing and training sounds fabulous, too, Jenn! I wish I could do the tri this year. Maybe next year!!