Motherhood & Words

Thank you all for your thoughts and good wishes for my grandpa. He has done the seemingly impossible and bounced back at 102 years old. On Friday afternoon he had a pacemaker put in, and he felt so good after the surgery that he wanted a plate of BBQ ribs. “I know I’m talking too much,” he said, “but I just feel so damn good.”

On Saturday he was transferred to a nursing home where he’ll do physical therapy and grow stronger before he goes home. (And then he’ll get regular blood transfusions to keep him from becoming anemic again. There is some internal bleeding, but he didn’t want to have any invasive procedures to discover the source of bleeding. A wise choice.)

Yesterday he said that the difference between some of the people at the home and him was that they were there waiting to die, and he was there to get stronger so he could live. He’s truly remarkable, and has already charmed the whole staff.

So, there’s that. And I’m grateful for the extra time with him.

But truthfully, most of my time (and my emotional energy) these last days has been focused on the book and getting permissions for the excerpts and essays I use as examples. What a process—a huge process—but one that will make the book what I want it to be.

I probably won’t be writing long posts here for the next few weeks, but I’ll pop in and let you know how the looming deadline is affecting my mental health.

Today, instead of any more of my own words, I want to leave you with this wonderful new Literary Mama essay by Lisa Catherine Harper. Her wonderful new memoir, A Double Life: Discovering Motherhood, is just out from University of Nebraska Press. My review of it will appear in Literary Mama this summer, and I also hope to have Lisa as a guest here at Mother Words in the coming months (after June 1st). Enjoy her wonderful piece!

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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. Elizabeth on May 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    That is such good news, Kate! I wish you luck and perseverance as you work onward!

  2. Mary on May 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I love reading about your Grandpa. I swear his attitude and perseverance give me strength. And good luck to you Kate as you jam through these next few weeks. It's completely obvious to me that you have your Grandpa's genes!! xoxo