I started The Mudroom six years ago because there wasn’t enough space for everyone. The collaborative blogs at the time were filled up with “featured” writers who already had a name and a platform and a following. That meant that there were fewer places people, especially women, could submit their writing.
I felt like there was no place at the “table.” I joked over the phone with my friend Bethany Suckrow that since I was a nobody I belonged under the table. Then I laughed and told her that I didn’t even want a space at the table because it was all too formal and contrived, based solely on how many people knew who you were. Then I had an epiphany of sorts and told her that I wasn’t even near the table. I was in the mudroom with the field hockey sticks, cicada shells, animal bones, and really cool rocks my daughter brought home.
I pictured friends together in the mudroom commiserating about their troubles, one sitting on a bench and the other sliding to the floor in defeat. The mudroom is where you can be totally and completely your holy mess of a self— seen, heard, and loved. It is where you can confess that struggle you couldn’t share with anyone else. It’s where you can admit that your lostness was tempting you to despair. Where you can hold another’s story in your hands like a delicate thing with wings, keeping still and quiet to behold its loveliness and protect it from strong winds and forceful storms.
The mudroom is where you can be totally and completely your holy mess of a self.
I created The Mudroom because I needed the company. As of today, this will be our 961st post! There was no way I could do this myself so I want to acknowledge those that helped launch this community. In 2013 our URL was paid for by The Influence Network, a group of women who believed in this project. Thank you, Jess Connolly and Haley Morgan. Your vision lives on here.
I gathered strong, opinionated women around me to help introduce The Mudroom to the world. Thank you for saying yes, Brenna D’Ambrosio, Abby Norman, Caris Adel, Esther Emery*, Heather Caliri, Tanya Marlow, Velynn Brown, Ashley Hales, and Emily McFarlan Miller. You will always be our foundation.
The words I wrote in my inaugural post still stand:
It’s an honor to be blessed with the entrusting of these secrets, to be the caretaker of these stories. They made me smile with familiarity, get weepy from the deep wounds these words unearth, they made me laugh with their clever wordsmithing and ability to extract humor from their own flaws and foibles.
I want you to see yourself here. I want you to give yourself the same grace you will give these authors when you hear their hearts and find yourself next to them. I want you to claim your narrative as a wealth of richness worthy of bestowing on your fellow sojourners. I want you to picture each other, as Flannery O’Connor writes, “stalking joy—fully armed too as it’s a highly dangerous quest.”So dangerous, in fact, that we shouldn’t embark upon it alone. That’s where you and I, and the writers and the readers come in, we’re stalking this joy together. What are we armed with? Each other.
“I want you to claim your narrative as a wealth of richness worthy of bestowing on your fellow sojourners.” We are still calling women to claim their stories. Your story matters.
Thank you, precious readers and writers, for your loyalty and love. Thank you for believing in us and becoming part of this community. We are the richer for it.
It takes a lot to keep a blog going for this long and I have my crack team to thank for it: Nichole Woo, Amanda Tingle Taylor, Nicole Walters, Dorothy Greco, Elrena Evans, Heather Walker Peterson, Chelle Wilson, Anita Scott, Sarah Guerrero, Velynn Brown, and Heather Caliri.
And soon we will be adding 3 more people to our monthly contributor team! Be on the lookout for the announcement!
*Esther went completely off-grid two years ago. If anyone knows how to contact her, please let me know!!