Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

When trying to muster the courage to speak my truth as a mother, there are a few women who have come before and help me take heart. Beloved author, Annie Lamott, wrote a book called Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year (Ballantine 1994), which I believe should be required reading for all new mamas. Here are a few choice quotes that convey Lamott’s raw and honest prose:

Operating InstructionsOh, but my stomach, she is like a waterbed covered in flannel. When I lie on my side in bed, my stomach lies politely beside me, like a puppy.”

“…one of the worst things about being a parent, for me, is the self-discovery, the being face to face with one’s secret insanity and brokenness and rage.”

Lamott also came out with a new book this year, extending her wit and self-revelation to the next generation. Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son (Riverhead 2012) promises to be good read.

Another masterful memoir and truthful wondering about the experience of motherhood is Louise Erdrich’s The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Memoir of Early Motherhood (Harper 1996).

The Blue Jay's Dance

Please comment about any other books that can empower our authentic expression as mamas. Or, perhaps one of you will feel called to share your own writing. Please feel free to do so here or send us a guest blog piece about your personal dance with the depths of motherhood (see Bare Your Soul).