Liminal Woman is the new title of the poetry collection I’d originally released as Artist in Recovery, and which I wrote here in May about publishing under its original title, Woman as Artist.
The word ‘liminal’ means, ‘of or pertaining to a threshold’.
That’s really what Liminal Woman is about. It’s the threshold between lives; the blind, grappling difficulty of moving from one type of life to another.
The threshold theme of this work is known now as ‘matrescence’, the period of transition from Maiden to Mother. But it’s always been known. It’s actually one of the world’s oldest stories, co-opted by neo-paganism as witchy and woo-woo: The movement of maiden to mother to crone. Wiccans know it as the triple goddess. Christians know it as Mother Mary. Other belief systems personified the movement in various ways, but they are often the same thing, too; like Tridevi.
Transitioning to motherhood is difficult, but it is sacred.
Learning to Mother is a skill, one that contemporary Western world denigrates, and thus fails to teach its young women. Rites of passage, too, in Western society, are all but gone. Rather than celebrating, supporting and mentoring our youngsters through becoming men, becoming women, becoming women, becoming fathers, we celebrate unimportant things like ending school, getting jobs. We celebrate ages 18 and 21 but they no longer have any meaning; they’re just excuses to get drunk. Thus, if you no longer have your village – perhaps you travelled, moved away from family – this transition becomes ever more difficult.
Liminal Woman was written during the first two years of my son’s life. I wrote it at night, after breastfeeding. One by one, piece by piece. It was an outpouring of love and sadness, regret and disbelief. On the one hand, grief for all the children I never had; on the other, grief for a life that I no longer lived and couldn’t access… and, weirdly, now wouldn’t live if I had the option. It’s the strangest period of time, and as women we (now) do it alone. I got mad at the Sisterhood for keeping so much of the beauty, joy, and glory of motherhood hidden. I still don’t understand why we don’t speak of the fact that becoming a mother is the most magnificent moment in life. It’s far more soulfully important than anything you can ever do.
This book is a collection of poems about the transition from Maiden to Mother, and it predictably rides the rollercoaster of that transition.
Official blurb about Liminal Woman:
This poetry collection explores the dark, scary, solitary journey from Maiden to Mother. That transformation is one you traverse blind, one whose process is known by every other mother, but one of which nothing is spoken. It is one that is filled with love, loneliness, and learning; one that can rip you raw and cuddle you close.
Women, all women, are divine creatures. They are portals to new lives and, thus, new worlds. They are all artists. Their default mode is “creator”. I realised that I could only know this now because of a specific rite of passage: Motherhood.
Liminal Woman shines a light on one of the most powerful moments in women’s lives: Hidden, private, and blessed.
This title is in production and will be available worldwide on 1 September 2023.
Make sure you subscribe to one of my channels (the best is The Letter) to get updates as they happen… though I’m sure I’ll post more about it here, too. 🙂
If you’re an arts journalist and you’re interested in covering this title, interviewing me, or running reviews, please contact me with your media outlet details and potential filing date.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for launch-week giveaways!
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