6 Things With... Jemma Chawla author of "No Walk in the Park: Stumbling through Motherhood"
No Walk In The Park: Stumbling Through Motherhood is a must-read for parents everywhere, No Walk In The Park is an honest and moving collection of poems about the highs and lows of motherhood. Jemma Chawla's words vividly capture the breadth and depth of emotion that come with raising young children (plus the added challenge of surviving a global pandemic). Her debut anthology is a reassuring and ultimately uplifting companion to anyone who finds themselves stumbling through motherhood.
Jemma Chawla is a writer of poetry and prose, originally from the north-east coast of England but now lives in Greater London with her partner and two young children. She often writes to capture memories and process varying emotions. As well as it being a great creative outlet, she also finds it a form of therapy. Jemma enjoys writing pieces that are relatable, with the aim to create a safe space for readers to talk, and hopefully contribute to normalising some stigmatised topics. Her work has also been featured in various zines, anthologies and websites, Jemma can be found online at @new_stanza on Instagram.
So Jemma, tell us a bit more about your debut collection. What six things went into the writing of this book?
Reliving painful moments; from post natal anxiety, depression, self-doubt, rage, loneliness and loss of identity. Remaining open and honest about my motherhood journey throughout ‘No Walk In The Park’.
Reliving joyous moments; many firsts and milestones, heart-warming moments of nostalgia and memories of deep joy came flooding back.
Hours on facetime with my Editor; she's also a best friend so we chatted way past book editing stages.
Amazing illustrations from talented artists, some have become dear friends; Rebecca Green, Rachel Dickens, Patricia Galligan and Debbie Brown.
Tears of both desperate frustration and also proud tears of accomplishment. Sips of cold coffee.
Five things you need to get some decent writing done?
Scented oils at home, when I get moments of downtime to read and write I really find they add and enhance my sensory intake. My notes app, as things often come to me at unexpected times, I quickly jot them down and return to them when I have time later. Journaling, I write private journals to offload a variety of emotions and experiences, these cathartic moments often lead me to new pieces of writing. Sometimes I enjoy writing to music, and at other times I long for silence. Finally writing prompts, I love the unexpected direction they take me on.
Four types of readers who will enjoy this book?
Hopefully other Parents, Grandparents, those who contribute to raising children or anyone who feels they are also ‘Stumbling Through Motherhood’.
Three challenges you faced in the writing of this book?
Writing No Walk In The Park during a pandemic was very therapeutic but on occasion finding the time (and the headspace) during the intensity of lockdown (especially the homeschooling period) was a huge challenge.
Self Doubt and Imposter Syndrome came in waves. I think putting such honest and personal writing out to the world naturally fed this, but I also found that it's a common theme amongst many other poets and writers I speak with. We comfort and try to pull each other out of these moments with constructive criticism, support and encouragement. (It's been one of the most supportive communities I’ve been in)
Two writers/poets that have influenced your work?
Karen McMillan and Holly Ruskin, they both write so honestly and beautifully about motherhood, and have on many occasions encouraged me to keep doing so.
One word to describe this collection?
Relatable – I hope readers feel heard and less alone in motherhood.
Jemma's debut poetry collection, "No Walk In The Park: Stumbling Through Motherhood" is out now!
Disclaimer: "EMC's 6 things" interview series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.