Rachel Federman

NYC writer & nonprofit consultant

As mothers we are asked to authenticate our art, as artists, to justify our mothering. Current conversations suggests a chasm between maternity and creativity. Yet medical discourse on the maternal imagination that began as far back as Aristotle and continued through the 19th-century describe a maternal imagination not as faltering, but rather as the opposite, too strong. In disrupting categories that bar participation and finding sources of empowerment along fault lines, I hope to join voices seeking to release the maternal imagination from its long history of domestication. 


I embrace genre disobedience (I write songs, fiction, plays, personal essays, and papers for nonprofits) and attempt to map the points of overlap between seemingly disparate pursuits. In an evaluation of a teacher-training program, I explore whether the institute helps level the playing field for minority students. In a personal essay I’ll ask how art can serve the cause of social justice. In a middle grade fiction novel, I attempt to enact the practice, tackling climate change and screen addiction, balancing entertainment with a call for action. 


As I’ve patched together freelance jobs and "leaned out" to devote time to motherhood, I’ve often pursued projects that are at odds with “art” but necessary to support my art and mothering. This has left me with a list of published books that could disqualify me from the world of art- making. I aim to recuperate work that “doesn’t fit” by theorizing and asking readers to consider what we mean when we describe something that way. How does someone get exiled from one field because of participation in another? Why does getting paid for work make one more or less “real” as an artist? What are we asking from writers when we place authenticity at odds with marketability then demand that authors have platforms before we give them a chance to speak?

  

My heart soars to be included in this lovely anthology from Writers Resist and Running Wild Press, which is out now.


Speaking of #ResistanceWriting, I was grateful to get the chance to write these Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls postcards based on the brilliant book by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.  


Here's a micro-fiction piece called Dodging published in HOOT Review last fall.


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