While a fellow at Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing’s annual conference earlier this year, I ended up hanging with the other parent-writer fellows and parent-writers (like in the Zooms and chats, because the conference was Pandemic-virtual). One of these people was the impressive Sarah Twombly. There was just something about her… she did give me a few compliments but somewhere along the line I felt it would prove interesting to look into her. (It could also have been some of the writing that she shared as we all shared impromptu stuff and did nightly readings.) Sure enough, online, I found that she has authored a number of articles, increasing in frequency and in impressiveness of publisher, over the past half-dozen years. I was interested enough I read a couple and then looked her up again when I got home, read the rest of what I could immediately find.
Pay attention to this one. Though perhaps her style doesn’t fit you exactly—she specializes (so far) in motherhood, aging, and other very vulnerable states of humanity. Most of her stuff (so far) is nonfiction with the exception of creative nonfiction (in one case). But her writing is brilliant. It’s beautiful, melodic, introspective, real, and interesting. Most of her stuff even includes some sort of unique gimmick. (Gimmick probably isn’t the word I want here.) Anyhow, it’s good stuff. (Her most famous article reminds me of one that a friend of mine—Theresa Blackinton—wrote for The Washington Post: “Thanks, Barbie for Making Me a Better Parent,” but with a different voice. Maybe that’s because all the hip writing for parents is blood-letting and antidote-to-social media.)
Here is the list of what I read:
- “What We Want Is Simple,” The Atticus Review, 2020
- “Juggling My Children, Their Alcoholic Sitter, and My Own Sobriety,” The New York Times, 2021
- “The Strongest Cookie,” Hippocampus Magazine, 2016
- “I Hate Those Moms,” Scary Mommy, 2020
- “Dear Parents, Know This,” Contrary, 2021
- “I Am Here and Here and Here and Here,” Complete Sentence, 2020
- “The Mass of Invisible Labors,” Waterwheel Review, 2021
There is more to come, and soon, which makes me think that Twombly is a star on the ascent. (I feel like I am a star on the ascent (or at least a writer on the ascent) but I’m like a year or three behind Twombly). I believe she has something forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. Until then, if you would like to read a handful of very well-written articles (but article isn’t the right word for it) about parenting, aging, and alcoholism, then head on over to her website (HERE) where there are links to the writing. Or you could just search for them and you should be able to find them on your own. I might even say Twombly and I have similar styles, but that seems presumptuous. If you like my stuff, or if you like the kind of stuff I like, or if you just recognize good writing when you see it… “The Strongest Cookie” and “I Am Here and Here and Here” really stood out to me.