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Wow!!! What a wonderful analogy. I love this: "Where did that sentence come from? Why did my character touch her own face so gently?......What are you doing, novel-baby? Why are you moving in those ways? Do you mind if I witness you for a while?"

I am only just learning to ask those questions, to take the questions and the answers seriously.

I think Jami has hit a home run with these last four days.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

Oh my gosh, Katy Simpson Smith’s letter! “I’m making the novel out of my cells, but the novel is also making itself, and will one day leave my brain and enter the world with its own cells. It’s my job to make a home for it while it’s forming; to nourish it by nourishing myself first (always nourish yourself first); and to remain curious about it.” ❤️🔥🌟

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

Reading "They are my cells, but they are destined to leave me..." knocked the wind out of me in the most beautiful way. Thank you, Katy and Jami, for today's gorgeous and motivating letter. 💖

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Very powerful advice Jami, it's buoying me up: "...prove to yourself that you are capable and focused and disciplined and that these 1000 words are possible. And once you know they’re possible, anything can happen after that." Love it.

And such a great letter from Katy, with a wonderful and lyrical perspective. I had to read this line 3 times, just because it is so beautiful: "All I can do is cross this sea one day at a time, saltine by saltine"

Thank you both!

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Fantastic! Read in the gloaming, eyes blurry, before even one sip of coffee. Onward!

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1000 Words on being a woman of leisure today. What does that life look like?

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I write often about pregnancy loss, pregnancy and parenting my living child here, spurred on by the winter version of this challenge earlier this year. This all resonates. I also read your WaPo piece and agree: it is all a state of having enormous power, but also being suspended in a state of surrender. I also find there is some of that same conflict with external forces that want to either hold you responsible for things you can’t possibly control (mainly, the outcome) or to strip you of your agency or voice entirely (to exercise choice in how and when and whether you show up to this or that creative work at all).

I will push back on the gender piece about women and writing vs men and writing for as long as I live, though, because of that.

It is true and unavoidable that the early months of motherhood are unique and un-delegate-able. (Perhaps like an author tour: no one but you can stand up and say, yes, this is mine. Yes, I will hold and feed this little thing still, as no one else can, until it’s ready to be out in the world on it’s own.) But as my living child has grown and I heal from the loss of his sibling, my struggles with biological creativity have strengthened my resolve to fight for my right to keep creating writing on my own terms. Yes, I made this sweet boy for all of us to love. Now help me keep him alive, while I write. Because we can’t say we are “pro-choice” if we honor women’s right to choose or not choose motherhood, but if they do choose motherhood, their bodies and time and souls cease to matter on the other side of that. We have to actively tack against that even after a “wanted” and “successful” pregnancy, and it’s hard, but its worth it. And if we have partners that are worth a damn, they’ll do that work with us.

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So true what she's saying about the watery middle limbo-muck state, and also so true about women writers with kids living in that swamp and finding new ways to create (yes, it's in small bursts, at least for me) versus male writers with kids (yes, periphery and able to still have blocks of time). Thanks for this post and the images it brought back for today's writing session (already begun).

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Awwwww! Love this. Thank you, Jami and Katy!!

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