False polarity …real pain

The first of many times I read Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich, this section jumped out at me:

“… the gulf between ‘mothers’ and ‘nonmothers’ (even the term is pure negation, like “widow,” meaning without) will be closed only as we come to understand how both childbearing and childlessness have been manipulated to make women into negative quantities, or bearers of evil.”

She goes on to write,

“The ‘childless woman’ and the ‘mother’ are a false polarity, which has served the institutions both of motherhood and heterosexuality. There are no such simple categories.”

It was an important moment, discovering that passage. I went on to explore this territory in many conversations and journal entries, and recently in writing, thanks to the brave and brilliant Kerry Clare, who turned one of her conversations into an anthology and invited me to participate.

Here’s her blog entry about the book, Truth, Dare, Double Dare: Stories of Motherhood, which is schedule for publication in spring, 2014. I’m delighted that my story, “Junior” will be included.

I have whinged — and will continue to whinge; it’s fun — about the pain and peril of writing non-fiction. I keep writing it because of the profound effect that works of non-fiction have had on me over the years. I like to imagine I can bring to others a new way of seeing or perhaps articulating their own experiences. A way to start a conversation or take it to a new level. And perhaps, in this case, bridge a gulf.

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