WHEN BABIES AND WRITING DON'T MIX.Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard
A year ago last fall, New York-based Web site producer Maia Rossini took an excited phone call from Bee Lavender, her Seattle collaborator on a new anthology: "Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts" ($14.95, Soft Skull Press Soft Skull Press is an independent publisher founded by Sander Hicks in 1992. It has published an array of fiction and non-fiction by authors such as Wanda Phipps, Mark Ames, Paul Berman, Lisa Crystal Carver, Dennis Cooper, Douglas A. ).
"We had received more than 400 submissions, and the hard copies went first to Bee in Seattle," recounted Rossini, a 1991 South Eugene High graduate. `She said, `There's one, especially, by a woman who's about our parents' age that I know you're going to love.'
When the thick envelope arrived the next week, Rossini looked first for the essay in question, "Noodles noo·dle 1
A narrow, ribbonlike strip of dried dough, usually made of flour, eggs, and water.
[German Nudel. and Sauce."
``Lo and behold be·hold
v. be·held , be·hold·ing, be·holds
a. To perceive by the visual faculty; see: beheld a tiny figure in the distance.
b. , it was by Ingrid Wendt,'' said Rossini of the prize-winning Eugene poet. ``When I was in third grade at Magnet Arts School, she was a poet in residence there. It was probably only for a few weeks, but she made such an impression on me. In seventh grade, I even wrote a poem, `Because of Ingrid Wendt,' about why I'd decided to become a writer.''
Wendt's essay, selected to lead off the 30 chosen for "Mamaphonic," seemed both a good omen and an excellent way to provide perspective on the challenges of artist mothers.
For Wendt, who submitted it with no knowledge that one of the book's editors was a Eugene native, the anthology provided a venue for extending encouragement to young poets - and other creative types - juggling parenthood and art.
She'd written the essay in response to a young mother's posting on an online poet's forum. The frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: young poet had lamented la·ment·ed
Mourned for: our late lamented president.
la·mented·ly adv. that the tedious demands of caring for two preschool boys was consuming all of her energy: "Sometimes I'm not sure ... poetry or anything even really exists or that I will ever be able to look at noodles and sauce without feeling a desperate, bitter anger."
Wendt begins her essay with her own poem, ``Portrait of the Poet as a Young Bitch,'' written nearly 30 years ago, when she was in similar straights with her now 31-year-old daughter. An excerpt ex·cerpt
A passage or segment taken from a longer work, such as a literary or musical composition, a document, or a film.
tr.v. ex·cerpt·ed, ex·cerpt·ing, ex·cerpts
Always in debt, she's writing from hand to mouth
stealing moments for lines like bread
from her husband, daughter, herself. Whole days
she isn't there at all.
Days when she is she pays for it
with sleep. The interest piles up
over her head, poems like dreams
alarm clocks won't let her remember.
Yet such days will give way to less demanding ones, her essay promises. The exhausting, fragmented years of parenting preschoolers will end, providing more time for poetry - which will not be gone.
` `If we are poets, real poets, we write every day, no matter what.' Right? Wrong,'' Wendt answers, seven books and dozens of prestigious awards later.
``I've gone days, even months without writing anything or feeling like writing anything, each time fearing I'm forever washed up as a writer, that I'm never going to write again, and finding each time, that I can return to my work (when impulse and circumstance are aligned) as one returns to a true friendship after long absence and picks up where we left off!''
For Rossini, Wendt's essay provides priceless price·less
1. Of inestimable worth; invaluable.
2. Highly amusing, absurd, or odd: a priceless remark. encouragement for today's young artists - most of whom are blindsided by the dual demands of creative work and parenting.
``I'd just gotten my MFA See multifactor authentication. in writing when I had my son in early December of 1999, and I thought I'd just combine the two things," she recalled in a phone interview. ``I had this very idealized i·de·al·ize
v. i·de·al·ized, i·de·al·iz·ing, i·de·al·iz·es
1. To regard as ideal.
2. To make or envision as ideal.
1. picture of my child sleeping and cooing in the bassinet behind me as I wrote the Great American Novel This article is about The Great American Novel (as a concept). For other uses, see Great American Novel (disambiguation).
The "Great American Novel" is the concept of a novel that most perfectly represents the spirit of life in the United States at the time of its . It was sort of a shock how much work a baby is.''
She hopes Wendt's essay will help others facing that shock.
``When we're feeling like `When am I ever going to work again?' we have this woman who's been a successful poet her whole life telling us, `Look: you can go weeks, even months, without writing, but that doesn't mean you're not a writer anymore.' '
What: Authors read their essays from ``Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts''
Who: New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of editor and Eugene native Maia Rossini and award-winning Eugene poet Ingrid Wendt. Rossini's father, LCC (Leadless Chip Carrier, Leaded Chip Carrier) See leadless chip carrier, CLCC and PLCC.
1. LCC - Language for Conversational Computing. Written at CMU in the 1960's. instructor and poet Frank Rossini, also will read from his work, as will his mentor - and Wendt's husband - UO professor and author Ralph Salisbury
When: 3 p.m. Feb. 27
Where: Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St.
Eugene poet Ingrid Wendt is one of the writers who has contributed to the book ``Mamaphonic.''