Motherhood & Words

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day! My day started like this:



Breakfast in bed with fresh berries, a decaf latte, homemade cards and gifts, and a new–gorgeous–orchid for my collection. It was a lazy day, with a trip to the park, lounging on a picnic blanket, reading, chatting with friends, and hugs for the girls (when they weren’t bickering with each other–an irritating new development). But even with the bickering, it was a lovely day, full of things and people I love.

Other things I love:


* Last week’s Motherhood & Words reading. What a wonderful evening (if I do say so). Every year the line-up is different and every year it just works. This year was no exception. Susanne Antonetta, Tami Mohamed Brown and Marcelle Soviero were all fabulous. If you missed it, don’t worry, it’s going to be another podcast thanks to Mom Enough. I’ll post the link when it’s live so you can listen. (And don’t forget to leave a comment here for your chance to win a copy of Susanne’s Make Me a Mother.)

* Road trips and radio shows: Tune in tomorrow morning at 8:15 am CST if you can. I’ll be a guest on Duluth Public Radio, discussing Ready for Air. My mom and I are driving up there together, and I’ll be reading tomorrow night, 5/15, at The Bookstore at Fitger’s, 7 p.m.

[I was a fiscal year 2014 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. My participation in this event was made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.]



* These great pieces on writing/the writing life (thanks to my dear students who send me links).

  • “How to Write” by Heather Havrilesky made me laugh so hard that I almost peed my pants. Lots of f-bombs, so if you’re scared of those, you might decide to pass (though if you’re reading my blog, you’re probably not scared them, so go for it).
  • This essay in VIDA’s Her Kind by Kelli Russell Agodon made me realize that I need my own writing retreat. It will be a goal for 2015. In the meantime, why not come on one my retreats and remind yourself that “writing is not a luxury, but a necessity.” There is still room in my Women’s Memoir retreat July 7-11 at Madeline Island School of the Arts. Come on, you know you need it.

How did you spend your day on Sunday? What are some of the things you’re loving right now?

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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 May 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Sounds perfect! I think my boys need to start reading blogs so they know what mother’s day is supposed to look like. But I can’t complain…I spent the weekend in Western Mass. at a friend’s 40th birthday dance party and drove home Sunday quite refreshed (excepting the very long drive). My husband made dinner and cleaned it up and I watched Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfrige…not a bad day, even if handmade cards and flowers aren’t exactly up the alley of my menfolk.

    • Kate on May 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      So funny, Andrea! I had to drop hints back in the day (or maybe they weren’t even hints). But my people have gotten the hang of it. But your day sounds lovely, as well. Even the drive! Happy Spring, friend!

  2. Sue LeBreton on May 15, 2014 at 7:53 am

    John says I had a Mothers Day hour. Kids made me breakfast in bed- in shifts cause the teen needs more sleep. I had my latte in bed & read Goldfinch. Then it was up and taking kids to climbing. However that gave me two hours at a Starbucks to write and essay- about the hospital cafeteria of all places. Those two stolen hours were my true gift.

  3. Jessica Halepis on May 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Sounds like a lovely Mother’s Day! Thank you for sharing these essays. I look forward to checking them out.

    • Kate on May 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      I think you’ll like them, Jessica!

  4. Barb Buckner Suarez on May 21, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Kate – that piece by Heather Havrilesky was HYSTERICAL. Thanks for sharing that – just what I needed this week as I have not been able to get to my writing since LAST Monday… Don’t ask! Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you! Mine was similar, breakfast in bed from two younger kiddos, new MacBook Air from my husband that the kids are NOT allowed to touch (hah!) to help me write my book, and a fantastic hike in Forest Park in downtown Portland, OR. A margarita to end the day – all around lovely.

    I have a question for you about a friend of mine who has written this intensely personal, beautiful and reflective piece about a date rape that took her virginity when she was a senior in high school at the prom – I think it needs to be shared with a much larger audience, but I have no idea how or where to send her to share this.

    Do you have any thoughts on blogs or websites that might have an interest in this sort of essay? The subject matter is challenging, but her writing is absolutely gorgeous. And no, it’s not me – I really am talking about a friend of mine in case you were wondering! :O) No worries if you have no ideas about this, but I thought I’d ask. Thanks!

    • Kate on May 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Barb, that sounds like a lovely day! And a MacBook Air for Mother’s Day! Fabulous!

      I’m going to email you a list of possible journals–there are so many that would take on that subject matter! But this came to mind, as well. I think this piece is amazing and hard: