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Mothers, Poets

April 15, 2013


Written by Marykate O”Malley, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne PA


I am going to try and describe a women’s writing workshop, that is almost indescribable. I think because it is more of an experience than an event. To try and describe it however, you should know these workshops are held by the spectacular Drew Lamm at her charming house in Rowayton CT. And it helps to know that when you climb up the wooden steps to her lavender front door there is a sign that reads, “until further notice, celebrate everything”. And then I should explain that at these workshops tea is served. There is a tea cart, with dark chocolates, and plates of cookies. The tea is always hot, and freshly brewed.

And the cabinet, you should know about that. There is a cabinet with shelf after shelf of dainty tea cups, and you can choose every week – do I want the rose chintz pattern or am I in the mood for an ivory one with gold trim. And the bathroom, the heavenly, inspirational bathroom. You must know that it is floor to ceiling, quotes, all framed. I could spend hours in there just reading the walls.

And then the camaraderie, how can I describe what that feels like. You write with women you know on the fringes of your life, but whom you share the most vulnerable pieces of yourself. I thought I was going to these workshops so I could write my own work. And I found that I loved even more the connection to other writers and how deeply moved I was by their pieces. And although we were varying ages, and living very different lives, we all had the same experiences, as mothers, and women.

Drew, sweet sweet Drew can breathe life into a poem. She can lift a poem from a page and resurrect it for you. She gives it meaning and depth that you would never grasp if you read it alone.

I live to far for her classes but do call in for some poetry CPR when I can. I set on my tea kettle, light some candles, take out my favorite journal and sink into the couch, ready to be simmered in poems. And then I write, we discuss and laugh. And I think about what a gift it is to be able to do what she does. I don’t know where poetry comes from. I don’t know how a line rises to the surface from seemingly nowhere. Or how a memory, can emerge and you think, where was that all these years. Sometimes, it takes the right teacher to bring you there.

And so in honor of National Poetry Month, this one is for you Drew!


Moon Girl

I was nine. School had let out, and I remained, a lone student in a quiet corridor. A teacher stirred in the classroom next me as I walked down the empty hall, my saddle shoes the only sound, footsteps answering each to each. I pushed through the large grey metal doors, out into the early spring air.

The coarse erasures felt cool as I clapped, and I watched the chalky dust form milky clouds, that appeared, hovered for moment, and then faded like the puffs of smoke from a steam engine train.

I set down the erasures and looked up to see the moon suspended in the center of the blue March sky. Startling and strange, my hand reached for it. I reached, and felt something reaching back.

Like a dancer suspended, my arm remained, my palm extended, open.


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  1. Cathy Baker

      on April 15, 2013 9:52 am

    That sounds like an amazing class!! I wish I could find something like that around here!! I bet you sure do miss it! And I so love the “until further notice, celebrate everything” idea! I might just have to ‘borrow’ it for my own front door! :)


  2. Marykate

      on April 15, 2013 8:16 pm

    Cathy she does classes by skype and phone! So you can see the living room. It really is fantastic!


  3. Heidi Farmer

      on April 29, 2013 10:29 am

    This is just beautiful Marykate! Love this idea of writing class as a chance to share and work towards that art of writing. And I love “Moon Girl”. Should be published, girl!


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