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"A Conduit to Community." A Chat with Marjorie Tesser, Editor of Mom Egg Review
Editor of motherhood-focused lit mag takes us behind the scenes
Aaaaand….another interview has wrapped, friends!
Today we kicked off our month of mama magazines by interviewing Marjorie Tesser, Editor of Mom Egg Review. This magazine, which has been around for nearly a whopping two decades, “is about being a mother, in its many varieties. It is also about being a daughter, worker, partner, artist, a member of cultures and communities, and explores how these identities can collide and coexist.”
The first edition of the magazine was a zine created in 2003 by women affiliated with the Mamapalooza music festival. Marjorie took over as Editor in 2006. Submitters to the journal need not be mothers themselves. Marjorie cited strong pieces they have published written by men about their mothers, as well as a recent poem by a seventeen-year-old girl about her own mother.
In our conversation today, we talked about why it’s important to have this space dedicated exclusively to the experience of motherhood. We also talked about the ways that so many people are discouraged from exploring this topic in their writing. Why might that be? I wondered. Why would motherhood-related writing be deemed less worthy than other topics? And has that changed over the past decade? If so, how?Marjorie had great answers to all these questions.
She also had a surprising answer to the question of what excites her in submissions. As she mentioned submissions that looked at breast-feeding, I thought of the great variety in experiences here, from the painful to the frustrating to the sublime. In light of this, I asked Marjorie whether what she looks for is a kind of gut-punch experience. Is she trying to find pieces that really get under her skin? That take her breath away?
Yes, but not only this. What Marjorie also appreciates are pieces that are intellectually provocative. Thought-provoking. Exciting on a linguistic and craft level. The ideal piece, she said, works on the levels of the emotional as well as the conceptual.
When I asked for examples of pieces she was most excited by, she said, “I really love every piece that we publish.”
Marjorie, in addition to being an editor and a mom (and a daughter-in-law whose mother-in-law was in attendance today!) is also a writer. I asked her how best people could write about mothers and children in ways that were fresh. How do we overcome mushy feelings and avoid cliches like “silky skin” and “pearly teeth”? How do we approach these topics in a way that is honest and authentic while really inviting the reader to feel all that we feel?
She had wonderful advice. And guess what! You’ll have to watch the video to hear it.
Mom Egg Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art. Their prose submissions are capped at 1,000 words for print issues and 3,000 words for online issues. They are open for submissions now until July 15th. All submissions go directly to the editors, and are read with care.
They are also actively seeking book reviewers. They have a list of books available for review, guidelines and contact instructions here.
To everyone who came out today, thank you for tuning in! Your faces bring the spring to my step and the sunlight to my cloudy day!
And, of course, thank you to Marjorie for taking the time to take us inside another important little magazine.
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