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The making of Mapping Motherhood

Mapping Motherhood: A writing and mixed media exploration of the uncharted territory of women's lives.
Mapping Motherhood: A writing and mixed media exploration of the uncharted territory of women’s lives.

Good Friday afternoon.
There is a chill in the air on this rainy afternoon in Charlotte.
My preparations for my Mapping Motherhood workshop continue.
But, in a week of work, writing and planning, I have carved out some artful playtime with my host, Catherine Anderson. We visited The Hive in Gastonia, NC yesterday and were inspired by a line of greeting cards made from images of collages that were sewn and glued, and imbued with a message.

One of the many things Catherine and I share is a passion for sewing. Her machine is out and we have made a giant mess.

How about you? What giant mess are you making today?

I am sending you love today, love to your mess, love to your journey, your work, your planning, and love
for your spring afternoon, wherever it finds you.


“Write until the truth emerges” Mapping Motherhood in Charlotte, NC

Catherine's window Charlotte

“We have to hear the stories of women at all ages of their lives in order to really present a picture of what it felt like to be alive in our time. That’s what our job is as writers is to present that and create it.”
-Marsha Norman
playwright and screenwriter

I am sitting in a sublime location.
A pair of cardinals sits within ten feet of me, dipping down to the birdbath. Bluebirds bob through the yard. The fragrance of spring with a ten-pound weight of humidity, North Carolina style, meets me at the door.

I am doing something I have not done yet, in my career as a writer, maker and teacher. I am on the road, preparing to teach Mapping Motherhood this Saturday in Charlotte. The conditions of my travel are sweet and treasured. I spent a week with my daughter in Colorado. Then, I spent a week at Penland School of Crafts in a mindfulness and making workshop. (Yes, you are correct, this is an amazing turn of life events for me…. no lunches to make at home, laundry travels with me and my work is portable)

Now I am in residence with Catherine Anderson who urges me to play bigger, to teach further afield, to collaborate with vigor and to allow myself this time away. She offers me shelter and inspiration in her studio, to be in her home, with her family, sharing her table. We are both busy entrepreneurs, building our work in the world. Catherine has been studiously at her desk all day long. Listening to the fingers fly on the computer keys or catching her shuffling through images for a collage, I see a mirror of myself.


From where I sit I can see her back yard labyrinth.
From where I sit there is green grass.
From where I sit my Mapping Motherhood notes surround me.

Tonight I will go listen to poet Rebecca McClanahan speak as part of the Sensoria Arts Festival here in Charlotte. You can read some of her poems here.


Rebecca McClanahan dream catcher

This is my tidbit of inspiration for you today.
Please share news of Mapping Motherhood with your people in the Charlotte area. I have room for 4 more women and I’d love to fill this class.  Here is a flyer to share. Mapping Motherhood Hand Out NC Final

Tomorrow, Marisa Goudy will take center stage here in the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series. Marisa and I are working together in Jeffrey Davis’ Your Brave New Story. I look forward to your interaction with her post. Please do comment when it comes round.

In other Out of the Mouths of Babes news, Janet Reich Elsbach offers a-well, an indescribably beautiful post on love and loss here.

Til then, may the grass be remembering green under your feet.
With love,


Greetings from Penland School of Crafts

Fish in the trees at Penland
Fish in the trees at Penland

Do you have the patience
to wait until your mud settles
and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving
until the right action
arises by itself?

-Tao Te Ching

I am on retreat this week at Penland School of Crafts in a Mindfulness and Making workshop with my beloved Joy Seidler and mindfulness teacher Caverly Morgan. It is quite wonderful to be in the heart of spring’s arrival in these old mountains.

My mud is settling. There are peepers in this pond.

I will be teaching Mapping Motherhood in Charlotte, NC on April 18. But I can’t think of that yet.

Just thinking of this paper and these trees and the books I am making.
More news later.
Love and hugs to you,

Paste Paper all wet and juicy

April is National Poetry Month: Barbara Ungar on Laundry Line Divine


Barbara Ungar Illustration

Hortus Conclusus


after Madonna on a Crescent Moon in Hortus Conclusus

                        by unknown Master, German, 1450’s

    I. Rose

When my mother was but a bud
of five weeks inside her mother, Rose,
Mom’s millions of microscopic eggs

were already intact, long before she bloomed
into Shirley. So you, too, were carried
by your grandmother first,

cradled in your mama’s calyx.

Grandma Rose almost survived
the bloodiest century,
transplanted from the Old World

to the New, where she’s scattered
in a rose garden by a lake,
fertilizing the hybrids. And now

I move through rows and rows
of roses—Memoriam,
Comanche, Moonlight, Montezuma

bounded by a low stone wall.

II. Mobius

The egg is in the woman
as the woman in the garden
the garden in the world
world in the galaxy
galaxy in universe
universe in the Unnamable
as the Unnamable is in the egg.



Barbara Ungar
Barbara Ungar

Barbara Ungar has published four books of poetry, most recently Immortal Medusa and Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, both Hilary Tham selections from The Word Works. Her prior books are Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a silver Independent Publishers award, a Hoffer award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing poetry award. She is also the author of several chapbooks and Haiku in English. She has published poems in Salmagundi, Rattle, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other journals. A professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, she coordinates their new MFA program.

A native of Worcester, MA, she grew up in Minneapolis, MN, where she began writing poems at the age of six. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Stanford, an M.A. from City College, and a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of CUNY. She lived in Dublin, Ireland for a year, and on the Greek island of Symi for a summer. She spent several years traveling around the world, ending in Italy. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.

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