Holly Strickland

1) Tell us a bit about the pieces you have in Motherly Musings. What was the inspiration for your work, and do you have any comments or thoughts about your featured work that you would like to share with readers?

I have a piece titled The Empty Nest in Motherly Musings. As the title indicates, all of my five children have been launched and are out the door. When the youngest, Caitlyn, left for college, I realized this was it. All of the children were on their own. It was a bittersweet moment. It made me realize that we only have children to raise for a fleeting moment and that we need to cherish the moments in time they are with you.

Another daughter, Crystal, also inspired an earlier piece in the first book Mother Muse. She is the oldest of the five and she left home for a new job thousands of miles away. I had to put those emotions on paper as she drove away. In the poem, “You Left Today,” I shared how proud I am of her as well as the sadness of seeing her drive away with her dad and a U-Haul of belongings.

2) How long have you been writing and how did you get started?

I remember writing stories as a little girl. The black and white composition notebooks were my best friends. I would write about day-to-day experiences with my siblings and parents. Then as I grew older, I discovered bound journals and would write in them as my “published” books. After I had children (and now grandchildren, Kennedy and Emerson), I would write stories for them about what was going on in their lives. My classic Bobo Goes to School is still a family favorite. I wrote it for my son Chris to ease his anxiety about going to kindergarten. Other family books have followed including A Blanket for Kennedy, which tells the story of a special family blanket, and whose story took me thirty years to finish. I started knitting it before my first child was born, and I did not complete it until her daughter Kennedy was born. The story tells about how increasing my family with Cicely, Clint, Chris, and Caitlyn slowed down the process. Each new baby added to the length of the blanket in hopes of giving it to him or her. When I learned I was going to be a grandmother, I took it everywhere until I finished it for a special grandmother / baby gift.

3) In general, the pieces that appear in Motherly Musings are about parenting, mothers, or children. Does this theme permeate your other writing? What other themes and ideas influence your work?

My role as a mother and parent definitely permeates my writing. Raising five children has created many opportunities to write. I also like to write about my bond with my sisters and other family relationships. I like to make special memories out of simple interactions and experiences and to capture the moment in words.

As an educator for over thirty years, I also find my writing involves sharing educational practices and resources for parents and teachers in a middle school setting. These roles can be difficult, and I work with many young, inexperienced parents and teachers. I like to provide practical and user-friendly articles to help support them and their challenges. I want to share with others the wisdom and experiences I have acquired over the years.

4) Are you working on any other writing projects at the moment?

Currently, I am working on a book about parenting that includes tips and stories about raising responsible, independent, and caring children. It is inspired by the blessings my five children have given me. I hope it will help others realize the joys and responsibilities of parenting and the love we receive in return. It is not always easy but it is worth it in the end.

5) What is your greatest challenge as writer?

My greatest challenge as a writer is narrowing the focus of my writing. I am involved in many things, and I want to write about it all. I feel there is a story to be told in just about everything around me – from family to work to community involvement. I especially like to write memoirs.

6) What are you reading right now?

Right now, I am reading a book that was given to me by a dear friend. It is entitled Living with Purpose (An Activist’s Guide to Listening, Learning, and Leading) by Dorothy I. Height. It is an inspiration as she shares the lessons she has learned from interacting with great teachers in history, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, Mary McLeod Bethune, and many others during her 98 years of life. It is a quick read with a lasting impression.

7) Any final thoughts, advice, or comments you'd like to leave our readers with?

I would like to encourage readers with the challenge of leaving a written legacy of what you have done to contribute to the betterment of the universe. You never know what level of impact your words can have on an individual, especially your children and your family. Share what you know and love, and your passion will shine through. Even if you never publish it, your circle of loved ones will appreciate and enjoy it.

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