Nichole Bernier

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Posted 7.3.13

“When the well is dry, for me, it’s usually more about attitude than inspiration or lack of inspiration. It seems to me so much of writing is about courage, writing something so raw you don’t want to say it aloud. That’s how I felt writing unmotherly thoughts in my first novel, and feel now writing about desperation in my second. The key to moving forward is breaking through whatever is holding me back, which is usually being a Good Girl, lined up in a multigenerational kick line with Good Daughter and Good Mother. I need to remind myself that being the mother of five in the suburbs might mean being responsible and routinized in a million small ways, but it doesn’t have to define me to the core. The antidote is being a badass in some small way, like sitting up on our pitched roof at night, or listening to “Jane Says” in the elementary-school car line. I have three leather bracelets, black and grey bands that wind around my right forearm, and when I put them on it feels like channeling superpowers. It’s important to find a small way to go off the reservation, even in the car line. Especially in the car line.”
—Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. (Crown, 2012)


silkfx2004 says...

I didn't know the P&W site had this feature until today...obviously I wasn't meant to discover it and land on this very post until I really needed to see it!

Thank you for posting this. I have struggled with the Good Girl thing literally my entire life and have steered away from conventional choices (specifically marriage and children) partially because I knew how easy it would be for me to become yet another in a VERY long family line of Good Girls turned Good Wives, Good Mothers, etc. Even now I find myself struggling to put my own needs in front of others', but at nearly 50 I'm finally getting the hang of it, and not coincidentally I'm finally seeing real progress on my novel. Thanks again!

karenruthr says...

Thank you for your insight into my " bad girl". There is a dividing line at times cautioning me to not think that, say that or draw it into poetry. Being aware is like opening the jar of "me pickles"

Touchstone says...

Thank you for sharing - you remind me of a comic strip I used to love to read in the newspaper (unfortunately since both my husband and I lost our jobs two years ago - although still clawing our way uphill, we have not been able to get the newspaper delievered again).  It was about a small family, husband, wife, son - occassionaly you saw a mother in law.  But the mom is who I remember as having an "alter ego". Rose was a great mom, did all the things that were expected of her - yet Rose also had a rose tattoo on her thigh, rode a motorcycle instead of a mini-van.  She allowed herself to enjoy that side of herself.  I admired her(and You!) for having the courage to be that bad girl and still be a great mom :)  Hmmm a tattoo........??

PoeticNimbus says...

I enjoyed your response about deviating from the norm. We all love our families very much and with all our soul and that is cool.

I notice though that my stories are a part of a different side of me. I feel I can unleash something-Anything that is unrestricted and not labeled by anyone(maybe publishing companies).

Thanks for your words.

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