I Hate Decisions: I Need Help Picking an Author Headshot

I am trying to decide on my new profile picture for my book jacket.  I am seriously thinking about self-publishing and I need to move forward from the whole mine field of thinking an agent is going to be the most important thing for me to get published.  The whole thought of I. Need. An. Agent. To. Validate. My Skills. As. A. Writer.  I am a writer, aren’t I?  This is where you can validate me.  Ha Ha.

Truth be told, I have contacted the agent that is reading my motherhood memoir and I have not heard back from he/she.   Granted, a hurricane is headed towards NYC and my polite check-in via email is the least of his/her concerns, but I would like to know where I stand.  Is it great? Is it bad? Is it marketable? Better yet, is it sell-able?  Does he/she love it ? Does he/she hate it?

I am a curious creature.  I will admit I crave validation.  I was a stand-out athlete in high school and I played soccer in college (Division I — do you hear the horns tooting?)  It strikes me as funny and a little pathetic now how I love validation.  But nothing holds a candle to how I feel when I just do it and write.  It feels good to get all those feelings and thoughts down on paper –or rather squeezed out in a sentence which turns into a paragraph which turns into a page and then it is like skating on a frozen lake you know every corner of…just magic. Let the blade slice into the ice and off you go.

One of my favorite quotes is from guess wh0 — yes, Anne Lamott.

“The great writers keep writing about the cold dark place within, the water under a frozen lake or the secluded, camouflaged hole. The light they shine on this hole, this pit, helps us cut away or step around the brush and brambles; then we can dance around the rim of the abyss, holler into it, measure it, throw rocks in it, and still not fall in. It can no longer swallow us up. And we can get on with things.”

Well, that is what my book is about — the water under the frozen lake of motherhood.  There are some deep cold pockets in that water, just as there are some beautiful snowy, sugar white sparkly — stop you dead in your tracks kind of awe and wonder.  Motherhood, she is one complex braided rope –somedays there are rope burns and somedays this very rope saves me.

I have had time to process how I feel about this over the weekend, as I have not had a response.  The truth is I have to be prepared to put my book out there with or without an agent. I am apprehensive about publishing this book because it is a creative nonfiction account of my personal feelings about motherhood.  There are no quirky characters to hide behind –just this quirky character and my beautiful son (whom I do worry about reading this book later). I did not have an easy go with motherhood.  I have my own issues (which will be discussed in another memoir which I am working on) but I also had to contend with infertility, postpartum depression, intrusive thoughts, nipple scabs, bleeding nipples, anxiety and among other things — the inability to stop farting.  What the heck is up with that? (It should be noted this is under control now)

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anyway, I detailed my journey as I was taking an independent study course I designed in graduate school, in which my primary focus was to intellectually study my emotions and feelings and write about it.  As most of you know, I don’t like to sugar coat things. So this memoir is one big diaper bag full of angst, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, wonder, depression, internal judgement, self-doubt, confidence, miracles,  happiness, joy, amazement, and a whole bunch of diapers, stuffed animals, other mothers, and just about anything that happened to pop up in my feeling mom jack-in-the-box that day.  One thing I discovered as I was writing this memoir was that I was practicing attachment parenting and I didn’t even realize it.  The theme of this memoir is how attachment parenting helped me find my way and the security that I was doing it right.

Here is a piece I recently wrote for APtly Said — Attachment Parenting International’s blog, which I am a regular contributor to.  This piece also talks about my independent study course, Motherhood: The New Frontier.

So, without further ado — can you help me pick a photo to slap on the back of my book?  I’d like to at least look my best as I prepare to get slaughtered by the judgmental moms out there.  It’s brutal in Momville somedays.  I do find that most moms when you have them cornered and there is good coffee on hand, will freely admit to how difficult it is to be a mom.  The juxtaposition of feelings.  The loss of identity.  The loneliness. The boredom. The joy. The stress. The calm. The pain. The smiles. The backbreaking daily labor.  The lulls in-between. The long braided rope, complex and multi-layered.

So I will label the photos I had taken by a professional photographer and if you are willing, write a quick comment on your favorite.  I hate decisions. I will admit the best decision I ever made was to be a mother.

Photo #1

I really like #1.

“Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.” -Erich Fromm

Photo #2

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.” -James Joyce

I like this photo because my antique typewriters are showing.  I love those babies of mine.  If they weren’t so heavy, I would put them in a sling and baby-wear them around town.  Just kidding, but kind of serious.

Photo #3

“With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood.” -Isadora Duncan

Photo #4

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  -Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

Photo #5

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

So Much Depends…

Ben in Basinette (C) Sarah Turner - All Rights Reserved

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


Poem written 2011

Sleeping Baby

Megan Oteri (memomuse)

So much depends


A sleeping, happy


Covered with

baby drool

Laying in

a basinette


“Blue Wheel Barrow” (c) Megan Oteri – All Rights Reserved

Light Sparkle

Megan Oteri (memomuse)

A circle of light pierced the room,

as if a sparkly star, pinned like a bull’s eye in Ben’s room,

has chosen his room to shine

Both of us lying down for nap time, my son twisted and continued to play

while my eyes

danced like merry-go-round

The intensity of this small luminary

on the periwinkle blue of his room wall

moved me

I stayed still though

engaged in this tiny fractured moment

this light still shines in memory

Poem (Light Sparkle) written 4/3/12

"Light" (c) Sarah Turner - All Rights Reserved

This is a photo of my son at ten days old. A good friend and wonderful photographer took these photos. Her website is http://www.sturnerphotos.com.  She is very reasonable and great to work with.  This photo appeared in Natural Living magazine with an article about home birth written by my good friend, Debi Elramey.  You can read all her wonderful writing at her blog, Pure and Simple.  You can also read the article, The Gentle Art of Birthing at Home and see my son’s magazine debut.

My friend, Debi is a writer and poet.  I just adore her.  She lifts my spirit and gives me comfort.  Some people are just walking poems.  She not only walks, she dances as a poem.  Who is your writer comfort friend?  Who in your life is your walking, breathing, dancing poem?


What image has struck your fancy today?  That could be the kernel of a poem.  Write about it and post it in the comments (if you’d like to share).

Or fill in the blank  — “So much depends…”

I will fill in mine:  So much depends upon a happy toddler engaged in an activity!

Happy National Poetry Month.

If you live in Wilson or near by, come on down to the Teen Poetry Slam at the Wilson Public Library today, April 3.  It starts at 7 pm and snacks and refreshments will be served.  Food and poetry — what more do you need!  I am a judge for the slam.  I think poetry is a great way to give teenagers a voice for expression.  They have so much to say.  Come on down and listen tonight! Here is the website for the Wilson Public Library.

Red Belly Slide


My little beautiful boy! He is adorable. He was so cute -- he gave Teddy a special hug after Teddy fell off Ben's "motorcycle" and he ran him over. I was witness to toddler magic. Some days it really is that simple and pure.

Red Belly Slide

After looking over some motivated to do lists in my notebook, it has dawned on me I still have not looked at being a stay-at-home mom as a full-time job.  I long for a day of emails, phone calls, and people asking me for my expertise.  I’m still trying to fit in so many other tasks to fill in as a freelance writer and photographer, as if 40 hours of a workweek exist.  I get frustrated when I can’t get it all done or even find time to concentrate for more than ten minute stretches.  Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job.  Why does it feel like I should fit more in?

Am I missing the Big Picture?  Am I missing that my son and I have this unique opportunity to bond?  (As I write this I’m cheering him on as he goes down the spring pollen dusty red slide at the park near our house.)

For just as I wish be recognized for my creative talents, he wishes to be recognized for his.  And for him, it’s going down the red slide on his belly making sure I watch him the whole way.  He sneaks a look back at me to make sure I watched until the very end.

Sometimes I’d rather watch paint dry than watch my son play, but heck, these days go by so very quick – I should savor the quiet.  I should savor no emails, phone calls or interaction with adults because I’ve got the most interesting boy in the world sliding down a red slide on his belly and he really cares if I participate.

A slideshow of our adventure walking to the park, with the scent and sights of spring in the warm North Carolina air.  My favorite spring bloom is the Dogwood tree.  A fleeting moment as spring blows her sweet kisses, welcoming rebirth and renewal. 

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