We're Moving!

Friends, the time has come for us to say goodbye to SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com...

Because I have a brand-new blog : BethanySuckrow.com

It's been really hard to keep this a secret from you for the last few months while Darrell and I worked on this, but it's finally up and running and ready for you to explore. It's newer and cleaner and much more functional, but it will still be what you've come to expect from me - reflective writing on all things literary, bookish, poetic, and creative. 

So head on over and read my latest post on the concept of "She Writes and Rights."


Of Life, Brief and Beautiful.

First Mother's Day, and I had to choose to stand at the grave of the gone or celebrate the here and now, who we are today and how am I blessed in this moment. So I chose to eat brunch with my mother-in-law and later wander the art institute with my best friend, where we explored beauty, ancient and new and twisted and refined and it was there that I felt all the longings of our mortality. 

This is the story we are asked to tell : of life, brief and beautiful. 

To find it carved in marble, stroked in oil and acrylic, woven in the fabric of our collective creative conscious over centuries, seems the only true comfort, the only way to celebrate our legacy of love and loss. 

[Photos : 1, 2.]


Poem : What the Living Do

Marie Howe is another one of those poets whose words and tone cling to me for days after reading her work. I first discovered her when I found this poem awhile back, but then I heard her interview with Terry Gross last October, driving home to Michigan to visit my mother. It felt divine, purposeful, that I happened to be in the car and listening to my radio right then, because it was exactly what I needed to hear. Reading poetry is one thing, but hearing the author read the poem as it was meant to be read, hearing them talk about where the poem came from, takes you so much deeper into the moment that they're describing. Read this poem, but if you're really wanting to be moved, listen to her interview on Fresh Air

What the Living Do
by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there. 
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of. 
It's winter again: the sky's a deep headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living room windows because the heat's on too high in here, and I can't turn it off. 
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those 
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it. 
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want 
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss -- we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass, 
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:

I am living, I remember you.

book·ish : Curtner's Textual Collages.

There are many different ways to create art from words, and writing is only one form. But Richard Curtner takes word art to a new level with as a talented Textual Collage artist in Palm Springs, Calif.

Collages can look messy, but Curtner's pieces are as vivid and emotional as paintings. A particularly bookish one I loved : "Better than Fiction."



1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they arefound on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.


Inspired By.

If I really think about it, I was never blessed with just one mother. I think that when we celebrate Mother’s Day, we’re not just celebrating flesh and blood, but the role that mothers play in our lives - to nurture and guide and encourage us, to create space for us to grow into the people we were meant to be. 

And so, yes, my mother knew me better than any other person on the planet, in a deep and intimate way that could only have happened because I grew out of her very being, an honest to goodness miracle. But this Mother’s Day, I’m learning to see beyond the label of mother and think in terms of the abstract, the larger sense of motherhood, the legacy that spans generations whether you came from her womb or not. 

And so I dedicate this post to my Mother, the one that grew me and birthed me and raised me and knew me for 25 years, and also to the women that will be with me in the years to come, helping me navigate the next 25(+). You know who you are, and I feel more gratitude for each of you than I have words for. 

Happy Mother’s Day, with all my love. These sweet links are for you : 

Give her a name.

Like mother like daughter.

"We pray for sleep, for poop, for patience, for energy, for forgiveness." The real story of motherhood.

Mama for a Moment.

Tina Fey's "A Mother's Prayer for Her Daughter."

Every Mother Matters.

A healthy diet of bread and words.

"For every house you enter, you must offer healing..." A favorite poem for anyone who has ever loved their mother.

[Photo : coming soon to my Etsy shop.]

Guest Post | What's My Middle Step?

You guys, I'm on a roll this week. Today I share a third guest post over on Tim Snyder's blog, This Blank Page, where I ask the question, "What's My Middle Step?" He graciously asked me to share a bit of my story, about what it was like for me after college when I was struggling to find my professional footing as a writer. I needed to figure out my middle step, to go from just working a job to having a career path. And I'm sure that no matter what job you work, you've probably asked yourself that same question.

I'm happy to share this story, but I do so with caution. I want everyone who reads this to know that I still work the job I mention, and that while I wanted more for artistic flexibility as a writer than what this job can give me, I do love my job and I am thankful everyday not just to work as a full-time writer, but to do so for an organization that I believe in.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and be sure to explore Tim's site and give him a little comment love.


More than a Memory.

It's not always sad. There is a deep joy when I remember you, when I think about your arms around me, the words we shared, the things we loved together - coffee, dessert, hairspray, Gilmore Girls, The Sound of Music

I am not always afraid. When K told us she was pregnant last month and that this time the baby is healthy, my heart leapt with joy and I heard you say, This is possible; it will all be okay

It isn't always about loss. My heart is full with you - your affirmations, your laughter, your gentle words, even your tough love. You loved me for me, and maybe this is why I don't hate my body : you taught me that life was too short to starve myself of it. 

I am not always alone. When I talk with my hands or choose what to wear in the morning or glance at a passing reflection, it's that same conversation we always had, only quieter. 

It isn't always past tense. We are more than memories, more than dust and bones and the dirt we return to. You are faith and hope and love present tense, a glimmer of joy in every living moment. 

It’s true. I look at my life every day and think, I’m lucky. I am blessed. Our short lives - lived well - are better than the long lives we might have wasted in different circumstances. Fifty years of Grace is better than a hundred years of mere existence.


Prodigal : When I Become a Mother.

In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, Prodigal Mag is hosting a series honoring our mothers. Today I contribute with "When I Become a Mother," reflecting on my close relationship to my mom and how my  desire to be a mom has changed since she passed away in January.

P.S. My Prodigal archives, and other posts remembering my mother.  


Guest Post | "When You Can't Unbreak the Plate."

Today I'm guest posting over on Lore Furgeson's blog Sayable. Have you gotten to know Lore yet?  She's a great writer, designer, and all around wonderful and generous soul. She's doing a brave thing and taking the entire month of May as a vacation away from the internet. Could you, could any of us, go a whole month without it?! I think the only way I could follow through with that is if I were stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Anyway, in her absence she has enlisted a group of her favorite bloggers to share their writing to keep her blog alive, and I am honored to be counted among them. So here's my brief story on grace, "When You Can't Unbreak the Plate."

P.S. My guest post archives, if you're interested. 


book·ish : Poetic Spines.

Here's a fun and bookish project to try out : make poetry from book spines! I stumbled across the idea the other day, and knew I just had to go home and make my own attempt. The hardest part? Finding verbs to make it read more like a poem than a list of titles. 

Speak bittersweet, good poems -
a great and terrible beauty - 
traveling with pomegranates 
a million miles in a thousand years. 



1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they arefound on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement. 


Inspired By.

Yesterday was the perfect kind of rain. The sky was split between sunshine and storm clouds, and while neighborhood children still played on bicycles and swing sets, those clouds broke open in a downpour and everyone got drenched and no one cared. They screamed with delight and I couldn't help but stand on my porch and get drenched with them and watch the rain and sun collide and make everything glisten. It was a happy, warm rain, the kind that you can dance in, the kind that feels like a relieved exhale. And I exhaled with it. 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and happy reading : 

"And I tilt my head and re-read my life." The realism behind optimism.

"What's in a year, you say? An eternity on one hand, and a single moment in another. That, and the worlds between." 

"What the fine art market shows us, though, is that real value isn't created by this volatile fame. Consistently showing up on the radar of the right audience is more highly prized than reaching the masses, once then done. This works for every career, even if you've never touched a brush." - Volatility and Value. See also : A talisman for our times.

"But take solace in what unites us… all of which quietly collide one word at a time." - Life of a Writer.

"Sometimes they ask how I continue, and I reply, glibly, 'Because of contractual obligation.'" - The Agony of Writing.

A fascinating look at life alone



Early Evening Hours.

My early evenings after work and before dinner are usually spent alone, waiting for my husband to get home from his shift as a security officer. It's the perfect time of day to be alone, I think. The day's tensions slowly release their grasp around my shoulders, and I can cleanse myself of it all with a book and a glass of wine, or with my writing, or in doing the thing I've been meaning to do - tidy my side of the bedroom, change our sheets, clean the kitchen. 

In the quiet, I resist the twinge of loneliness, the urge to turn on the radio or watch television. If I wait long enough, let my ears adjust, I can hear the world unwinding with me. Our apartment sits near an industrial park, just past a busy highway and on the edge of a forest preserve. The trees muffle the sound of trains and planes and cars so that I can hear birds going wild with the sunset, calling to each other at the end of the day as the sun slips below the horizon. 

That sound, of birds, of rustling leaves, and that light, the long shadows of a day at its end, always reminds me that I am never alone, and the words of Mary Oliver and Walt Whitman meet me in that place of brief and whole contentedness...  

by Walt Whitman

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me — he complains of my gab and my loitering.  
I too am not a bit tamed — I too am untranslatable;  
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me;  
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d wilds;  
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.  
I depart as air — I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;  
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;  
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.  
You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;  
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,  
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;  
Missing me one place, search another;  
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.



Poem : Wild Geese

Do you have a favorite poet? Like my favorite novelists or favorite musicians, I can never narrow it down to just one, but Mary Oliver ranks high among them. Her words always spur me to live generously, to love more radically, to delight in the simple moments of every day. And isn't that the best kind of writing? 

This poem blessed me with solace last week, when I was feeling apologetic and spent and desperate. Which poets and poems do that for you?

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.