“I am not alone! It is possible! Yes, it is very hard! Just acknowledging the struggle in a public forum was a great comfort and inspiration…”  - Arlaina Tibensky, on Writing as a Parent

Pen Parentis, Ltd, is delighted to have added three new Board members at our last annual meeting. Laura Larsen, Arlaina Tibensky and Jamie Clarke will serve a minimum of two years on our executive board. Click here to read more about them — or read on to hear Arlaina’s response when invited to serve:

As a writer and a parent working hard every day to follow my writerly ambition and simultaneously be a good parent, Pen Parentis and its mission to support writers who are parents has been extremely important to me. When M. M. DeVoe and I co-founded Pen Parentis Salons over six years ago, I had one toddler, a handful of short stories – some published, most not – an expensive MFA from Columbia University and more frustration, anxiety, and alienation than I knew what to do with. Having heart to heart conversations with writers who had managed to pursue their writing careers and raise a family was a godsend. I am not alone! It is possible! Yes, it is very hard! Just acknowledging the struggle in a public forum was a great comfort and inspiration. My darkest fears, guilt, and exhaustion had been outed, and I found the courage to grapple with those career killers, mano a mano.

The new and notable writers we featured at the Pen Parentis Salons those first years were surprisingly generous with the intimate details of their personal lives as writers with children. The warmth and camaraderie of the monthly second Tuesday night Pen Parentis Salons helped sustain me through moments of despair that might have otherwise smothered my muse to death. Since then I have had a second child, published a novel, received a NYFA grant, and written more than I thought I could with two young kids. Seeing the wonderful work M. M. DeVoe is doing to expand and deepen the impact of Pen Parentis Ltd. on the writing community on a local and national level has been nothing short of inspirational. I am honored and delighted to serve on Pen Parentis Ltd.’s executive board. Pen Parentis is an organization whose mission I hold close to my heart and I welcome the opportunity to contribute in any way I can to its continued success. — Arlaina Tibensky