Thursday, February 09, 2006

Literary Mama

My very first book review! I can’t believe this deal, I get a new book, and all I have to do is read it and tell you about it. W00t! I’m qualified because a) I’m a mother, b) I have a blog, and c) I can read. So I received Literary Mama in the mail and started reading. There are photos to prove it.

Its a compilation of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other thoughtful works of varying length from writers who are also mothers. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, although the introduction explains how it may appear to be, considering the dearth of maternally-minded literature. The state of motherhood gives a whole new dimension to writing, because it gives a whole new dimension to emotions. Motherhood doesn’t snuff out the ability to write, only the available time. And for a born writer, the time will be found. You’ll find out all about the impetus for this book at the Literary Mama site and the Literary Mama blog.

Quite a variety of topics here, which is refreshing. I could read a short story, or a long article, and not worry about losing my place, since I couldn’t put it down anyway. The only thing these authors have in common is that they are mothers and writers. Not all of the experiences related here are universal, but they all touch a place in our hearts. For example, I don’t have any sons, but I laughed out loud til my sides split at “Analyzing Ben”, a story that I referenced in my Little Boys post. Jennifer Eyre White is the author/engineer who calculated that her son was 15.3 times as likely to do something dangerous as her daughter.

The section on Sex, Fertility, and the Body turned the temperature up in whatever room I was reading in. Just what this lonely widder needs! The stories are not designed to be titillating, but to be real. And they are. Both.

I had put off reading the section entitled Surviving Illness and Loss until the last minute. I finally read it Tuesday, the absolute worst day I could have selected. February 7th was my late husband’s birthday. It was also my second day of cigarette withdrawal, so I was already primed to either blow up or fall apart. The stories of loss are devastating, but also cathartic. After reading “Johnny” by Heidi Raykeil, I was ready to go out and get a tattoo, which I’d never considered before. Maybe a bass guitar on my butt.

You’ll relate to some of the stories, and the ones you don’t relate to, you’ll learn from. I understood the writers who dealt with infertility, with people who question your motherhood, with death in the family, and who love a child with a serious problem. I understand the universal mother-guilt. I don’t have experience with labor pains, sons, or the Empty Nest Syndrome, but I enjoyed those stories as well. I can easily put myself in these writers’ places. The stories are that vivid.

You don’t have to be a mother to enjoy Literary Mama. If you are, you’ll love it! If you aren’t, it will help you understand the mothers you know. AND you’ll enjoy it.

Literary Mama is subtitled Reading for the Maternally Inclined. Edited by Andrea J. Buchanan (not this one) and Amy Hudock. You can see the introduction here. Available at Amazon and at a bookstore near you. Pick up a copy, and let people think you really do read more than the TV Guide.

You'll find much better reviews here and here.

Thought for today: ...these are writers who do not deserve to be forgotten. -Literary Mama introduction.

Update for the regulars: Three days not smoking. Outside of the homicidal fantasies and the out-of-body experiences, I'm doing OK. This better be worth it.


Carl said...

From the second picture, I'm presuming my nude photo somehow got printed in the book...

Joel said...

Miss C, I didn't know you had lost your husband, and so recently. I'm sorry if what I said last week about you being single was a foot-in-the-mouth. It was meant to be nice, I promise you.

As for getting shut of Old Man Nicotine, I've been that route too. I keep remembering what Twain said: "It's not difficult to stop smoking. I've done it a hundred times."

BTW, I thought it was illegal to quit smoking in Kentucky. Doesn't that mess with the economy there?

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Sure it will be worth it. Trust me. You'll not miss that hacking cough, the spitting, the smell, the umbrage other people take. And best of all, it will help you gain weight! (Hee. Hoss 1, Missy 0)

k o w said...

I'm always up for a good book no matter the title, I'll check this one out.

Best of luck with quitting smoking. If you feel the need for a cigarette just get on the net and start typing something. It'll keep your hands busy and your mind off of it. Hell type something about what your feeling when you want one.

Anonymous said...

You can do it! Do it for your girls. Watching my dad die of lung cancer was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up! A year from now, just imagine... you'll have been smoke free for a year! I agree with what Stacy said, only subsitute Emphesema on my part, a close family friend died of it. :(
Loved the site! best of luck to you. :)

Miss Cellania said...

Hey Joel, no offense taken. It's been a year and a half now. I don't recall what you said last week, but I wasn't offended then either!

Carl, would that be SO frightening? Or amazing?

Thanks to all for the encouraging words. Today seems to be better than yesterday.

Ed Bremson, MFA said...

When I quit, I had to take walks to keep from smoking, go to sleep to keep from smoking, anything. It will get easier. I remember when I had been quit for about a week, I got ticked off at something, and I started across the street to buy a pack of cigarettes. I stopped in the middle of the street, turned around and went home, and it never bothered me again. Isn't there something about the two minute urge, or something like that, that if you can resist the urge to smoke, then the urge will get less? I'm not sure about the details, but I know it exists. For me it was realizing that smoking was harming my body. And all those smokers who I admired were really not doing anything so admirable after all. One thing I found when I quit smoking is that I had so much more time, just in a practical sense.

Since we're talking about books, I just got through reading Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Great book. Every woman should read it, and every man should too. It is about getting in touch with your true self, and also about relationships.

Incidentally, my wife died almost two years ago now.

LZ Blogger said...

Ms. C. ~ Great deal this book review stuff. By the way, did you know that Wulfweard The White is on a 9 day training gig. And he referred anyone needing a laugh (while he was gone) to YOUR BLOG? That's where I go anyway, so he was NO HELP to ME! ~ jb///
P.S. Another 4 days and 39 years, and you'll be caught up with me! Everyday IS a challenge! Keep it UP!

Mary Tsao said...

Raykeil's "Johnny" just about killed me. You must be made of strong stuff if you didn't light up an entire pack at once after reading that essay. Good for you!

I wish I could get my sister to stop... :(

Carl said...


A little of both, or so I've been told...

Joel said...

I fouund it a lot easier when my sense of smell returned, I realized how strong my smokinng co-workers smelled after they came in fromm break, and it hit me that I must have smelled that way too.

Susan said...

Those photos are great! And I liked your review, too.