The words.

Dear friends,


It’s not very often that I am unable to find adequate words to express my feelings. But the last two days have been overwhelming, so let’s just say that the experience of sharing my story on Momastery is beyond words I can string together at this moment.

I’ve been out of town for two days, more than a little sidetracked by a packed schedule of business meetings. Wednesday night when I got to my hotel room after a late dinner and I finally had a moment to read the comments — here on my blog, on Glennon’s blog, and on the Momastery Facebook page — all I could do is cry. I sat in my hotel room and cried and cried, and then I turned out the lights and cried some more. Not for me, because I’ve sat with my story for a good long time.

I cried for all the readers and all their brutiful stories and all the love and wisdom and pain they poured into their comments.

One of the readers asked what happened between my daughter and sister on their lunch date. Another wondered what’s happening now between P and me. The quick answer to both is that I’ll try to tell you as soon as I have the words.

What I do have the words to tell you about today is just this one tiny thing that was so . . . enormous . . . I still can’t quite believe it.

I was sitting in my office on Tuesday when my phone rang. It was “Amy from Momastery” who said she’d been trying to track me down to ask if they could publish my essay. My first thought was “There’s people at Momastery?”

I know. It’s not like I expected Glennon to call me from her cloffice. I never expected anyone to call, ever, so my ears were ringing and my face was turning red and I was a little bit dizzy and I was trying desperately to listen to the woman talking to me.

It was a very quick call. She asked me to email her a bio and my social media links and I said okay. The call was ending and I was trying not to be an idiot but it was hard, you know, because I was talking to “Amy from Momastery” who clearly knows Glennon, so holding the phone while I realized there was only two degrees of separation between me and Glennon at that moment made me — if not an idiot — at least a boob. I think I actually asked Amy if she knows Glennon and without waiting for her to answer said something like “Please tell her I’m delighted she chose my essay.”

And then, right after I said that, I was momentarily blinded when the world exploded into a sparkly, shiny, swirling Disco Ball of Jubilation because Amy said “I liked your essay and gave it to Glennon to read. Forgive me . . . it’s a little crude . . . but Glennon read it and all she said was ‘She writes like a mother-fu%&er.'”

That, my friends, was a sacred moment. It was a gift. One I will never forget.

If you are at all tempted to be put off by the language: don’t even go there.

My closest friends know I love a choice expletive. I watch what I say in polite company and certainly what I put in writing because I’m sensitive to the tastes of others, but in my safe place, I let ‘er rip. It would be totally like me, when talking to a close friend, to say something like “Sure, I like Anne Lamot and Joan Didion and Elizabeth Gilbert but Glennon Melton? Glennon is a mother-fu%&ing writer.”

So in six words, I instantly understood the intention of the message. And I instantly understood Glennon was my kind of gal. And — more importantly — I instantly understood I had been given the gift of being allowed inside the circle. And when women let other women inside their circle, they are doing the Lord’s work, no matter what words they use.

I hung up and immediately sent Amy the requested email with my bio and links. And this PS: “Please tell Glennon that as of today, I will instruct my husband and children to etch on my headstone ‘She writes like a mother-fu%&er.’ I will wear that badge of honor the rest of my life.”

And my husband and children know I am serious. Okay, maybe not on my headstone, because I plan to be cremated. But in my mother-fu%&ing eulogy somebody better say it.

It’s all I ask for.

With gratitude {for words, words, words, profound, profane, glorious, wondrous, plain and simple words that teach us and heal us and bring us into each others circles},

Joan ,who writes, well, you know



  1. Now you have me crying! This is ANOTHER beautiful post. And you do write like a mofo (I was tempted to cut and paste the exact symbols you used, but the cut and paste function on my computer doesn’t work very well). I hope to hear more from you – soon, soon, and sooner. I don’t even believe in God (anymore), and the very next thought in my head was “God bless.”

  2. God, I just love ya, Joan. I have been known to say to my children that expletives are just words. What matters isn’t the words themselves but the way you string them together to express yourself and how they are received by the world. Your essay touched others and it is only right that you felt its impact last night. You do, indeed, write like a mother-f*!er.

  3. Glennon spoke truth to you, a truth those of us who are regulars to your “town square” (Mdel’s phrase which I shamelessly steal because, so good!) already knew. I suppose on some level you knew it too, but now? You KNOW. All the way deep inside, you know. And now so many others know it too.

    Even though part of me wants to tell those others to Go away! We found her first! I understand it is only in keeping with your own gracious hospitality to rather say, Come on in, y’all! Welcome to the circle of reading Joan Marie. Joan Marie, the woman who will run several miles, sew her own placemats, set a mean table from her phantasmagorical dish pantry, pluck a centerpiece from her garden, cook you up a fabulous scratch dinner, serve you a killer dessert, and then leave you absolutely helpless with her words.

    Try not to be intimidated. She’d want you to at least try….

    PS: This might be one of the first times your words are published rather than posted, but betting it won’t be the last.

    PPS: If I somehow outlive you (shaky premise – too much older than you are) and the folks in your family are too polite to eulogize you properly have them call me. I will so do that for you.

  4. I can’t say it better than texasdeb (damn) but that was SOME TUESDAY. Sorta feels like a Malcolm Gladwell tipping point. Or the arrival of the Night Circus. Or a hairline crack in the plate tectonics of the universe.

  5. Awesome, all of it. Hooray for you, Joan.

  6. I was just recently connected to the Momastery blog. That recent connection connected me to your blog. Feeling overwhelmingly happy to be able to read both. ❤

  7. Dude. No words. Awesome.

  8. Erica Snipes says:

    Oh my gosh, I am officially stalking you, I mean in a nice and not creepy way, please don’t send the authorities. 🙂 I’ve started following you on pinterest, I’m leaving a comment here, and I’m wondering if you have a facebook following that I can join too. Seriously, I LOVE your writing, I completely identified with your essay on Momastery. Not because I am have a sister who is an addict, but because I think I know what it is to feel like I’m going one direction with my good choices, and some loved ones are going a completely different direction with their bad choices. Sometimes I wish I could be part of the “cool” kids who aren’t going my way, but then I realize that as long as I can learn something from them, and they can learn something from me, that there is enough love and beauty in that, to keep my world balanced. I am beyond thrilled that Glennon introduced us to you, and I am praying in my heart of hearts that you meet her and Amanda (Sister) someday very very soon. They are both amazing, and you absolutely should be in their circles…’cause you do write like a…you know. Big hugs…and when you do meet Glennon and Amanda, I’ll be stoked because then it’ll be like two degrees of separation between me and you! 🙂

    • Hi Erica — every little-known writer loves stalkers. And I’ve met nothing but the nice kind in the blogosphere. If I ever meet Glennon or Amanda (never knew her name!) I’ll let you know and we can both be star-struck together!

  9. Love this. So much.

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