Write on, mama
“WHEN YOU BECOME a mom, you become
observational,” Dawn Yun, the mother of two,
tells The Connection. “You have these feelings
of love that you hadn’t had before. A good
thing to do is write about those feelings.”
Yun, a Costco member, remembers taking her young daughter to the playground
and chatting with the other mothers. Often
the question of pre-motherhood employment would pop up. Yun, who has a degree in
journalism and has written for The Arizona
Republic and San Francisco Chronicle, says
that when she’d say, “I’m a writer,” many of
the other mothers would reply, “I always
wanted to do that.” Yun’s reply: “You can.”
In response to those moms’ interest in
writing, Yun asked the staff at Book Passages,
a bookstore in Corte Madera, California, if
she could teach writing classes there. She
began by teaching four-week classes. Soon
participants said they wanted to do something more regularly, and The Writing Mamas
Salon was born.
The group, which now numbers 75 and
ranges in age from 20- to 70-something, meets
the second Sunday of each month. They begin
by talking about what’s going on in their lives.
Then they talk about writing, and finally the
group breaks into clusters of six to eight people to do readings and get critiques of essays or
other pieces they’re working on.
Because the majority of the women are
new to writing, Yun’s goal is to edit and offer
critiques in a gentle and encouraging manner.
The pleasant surprise for Yun is that the
moms are really good writers.
“The writing is very touching and very
funny,” she says. “We tend to be more honest
about the more challenging things about
motherhood—trouble with play dates, or my
child won’t eat. We tend to write about our
Each month, Writing Mamas hosts speakers, such as agents, publishers and authors.
And they have since branched out into spoken-word events. Nearly 16 mothers spoke,
none of whom had experience speaking in
front of a group. “Everyone rocked,” says Yun
from her home in San Rafael, California. “I
was the proud mother just watching them.”
The next Writing Mamas’ spoken-word
event is February 23. Yun plans to hold these
events four times a year, each time donating
the proceeds to someone in need. She is look-
JASON BENNET T OF JCB PHOTOS
Dawn Yun began the Writing Mamas Salon
as a means for providing mothers—of
any age—a creative-writing outlet.
ing to start more branches in her area and has
been contacted by interested women in other
cities throughout the United States. She is also
working on launching Writing Mamas for
groups of Spanish-speaking women.
“When you become a mother you’ve got
a lot to write about,” she says. “It’s endless
material.”—Stephanie E. Ponder
More information about the spoken-word
events and about starting a chapter of Writing
Mamas is available at www.writingmamas.com.
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