With tenderness and much regret, as my family perches to relocate from the Sonoma County redwoods to the sunny shores of San Diego, I need to write this “goodbye” post…which, due to my absolute love for this site, and our sister site, Mother Writer, Mentor, would better be titled, my “see you shortly around the bend” post. Under the strain of relocating and the need to focus on my family, I am stepping back from blogging and participating on both sites. I will still teach Poetry of Motherhood and Poetry of Fatherhood as well as Transformative Blogging for Women in 2013 and hope to work with you then. I leave our poetry selection in the beautifully capable hands of our guest poetry editor, Kate Bolton Bonnici.
When Jessica invited me to be her poetry editor exactly three years ago this December, I had a three year old son swirling around my ankles, his two siblings barely anchored in school. While I flourished privately by exchanging poetry with a steady writing confidante, I missed the outer world of the literary community. Jessica kindly brought that world back to me via The Fertile Source.
From my quiet acre of redwoods, cornbread baking in the oven, with one child napping and two others coloring, I read through poetry submissions from around the states and occasionally from overseas, thrilling in a surge of genuine connection as each contributor photo appeared in my inbox. I’m undeniably partial, but I believe our interviews with both our mother and father writers go for the jugular, rich with intimate revelations about how to stay connected to one’s children while writing. (I’ve since discovered another poet doing similar work—check her out–this week poet /novelist Jennifer Givhan interviews married team (and editors of Rattle) Tim and Megan Green on their relationship to writing and parenting.)
Jessica and I shared a good laugh over my phone call to her announcing my need to step back for now. Within moments, we found ourselves busy brainstorming the next evolution of how we could work together, discussing workshops we might lead and anthology e-books we could compile based on our work here at The Fertile Source. Jess pulled out her mentor side and did her best to get me to honor the reason I’d called her, which was to create a pocket of time and space to focus on nurturing my own family (instead of dreaming up new commitments).
The impulse to keep playing with Jessica is a testament to how much I not only love her, but the work we do. And what to do when all of the projects in your life give you joy and call and pull equally but have outnumbered your ability to feed and care properly for them?
For now, I admit temporary defeat, succumbing to the need to disassemble to reassemble. After three years of living in two cities (my husband commuting, home on weekends), I’m eager to reunite our family under one roof, to take the kind of advice I’d give to any other mother writer: to stop, breathe, and put the family first, so that out of that bedrock of peace and renewed togetherness can rise the confidence to complete the poetry and blogging projects in my heart also vying for my for time and care.
Here’s to writing and parenting and the spectrum in-between where we all triumph or flounder once in awhile, lost or trying on various hats, in the few hours of writing time alone. I’ve seen many of those selves mirrored in the words and art of Fertile Source contributors and have thus found comfort and solace. Thank you. I’ve so enjoyed this passage with all of you.