Turning Experience into Story
Written by
Sarah Marxer
March 2012
Written by
Sarah Marxer
March 2012

A few years ago, when I was mired in the dailiness of raising an elementary schooler, I read Anne Lamott's Plan B. I remember  marveling at the way she turned the ordinary dreck of her life -- falling off a ski lift, being bored to tears by her son's chatter, petty competitiveness with another mother at school -- into stories that made me feel hopeful, larger, less alone. Holding her book in my hand, I longed to be able to do that. I was knee deep in dreck myself, between school meetings, endless meals to prepare and clean up, struggles at bedtime and bath time, and eternal games of Uno and Go Fish, and I longed to be able to locate meaning in there somewhere.

With the help of Cori Howard and the other women in the online writing class for mothers I took, I'm beginning to learn to write my own stories. Little by little, I'm starting to see how writing about my daughter's first day of middle school, or what it's like to go for a long run on a muddy trail, can help me sift through the minutia of my life to find meaning. Writing helps me make sense of one of the contradictions of motherhood: the way it feels at once profound and full of dull, irritating drudgery.

Or maybe that's one of the contradictions of being human.

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