Katherine Leyton’s Motherlike explores life with a first child

Katherine Leyton’s Motherlike explores life with a first child. Photo Clayton Fisher.
Katherine Leyton’s Motherlike explores life with a first child. Photo Clayton Fisher.

As a preschooler growing up in Leaside, Katherine Leyton longed to read. “Books inspired me to write,” she said. “Starting in Grade 2, I was always reading and writing. My commitment never wavered, even when reminded by adults that I’d need a back-up job to support my passion for writing.”

Fortunately, Katherine has had ample opportunity to indulge her passion. Her latest book, Motherlike, was scheduled to be released in late March.

The author had prestigious encouragement to pursue a writing career. In 2014, she was the inaugural poet-in-residence at the revitalized Al Purdy cottage, known locally as the Al Purdy A-Frame, a nod to a cottage design inspired by early Japanese and Polynesian housing.

She has fond memories of her experience there. “I swam, I ran, I walked in the fields nearby. The allowance meant I didn’t need to work for those two months. I had the immense luxury of writing in the writer’s room at all times of the day and night, unlike trying to write in Toronto between 12-hour work shifts. For my literary contribution to the local community – a residency requirement – I videotaped cottage visitors and locals reading Al’s poetry and screened the footage at a local event.”

Now living in a two-career household with three children under seven, Katherine says her work-life balance requires creativity. “At one point my husband and I rented a therapist’s office, just down the block, for two evenings every week. We each got one night in the office to work and enjoy the calm quiet. Work-life balance is still a work-in-progress.”

Motherlike is “... creative non-fiction, a memoir of life with a first child.”
Motherlike is “… creative non-fiction, a memoir of life with a first child.”

In 2016, a book of poetry All the Gold Hurts My Mouth, was Katherine’s first published work. Asked to describe her latest, Motherlike, she replied that it’s “… creative non-fiction, a memoir of life with a first child.”

The book, she added, is infused with historical research and “my thoughts and feelings compared with the very acute public discourse about pregnancy versus what I feel. The physical, psychological, and social risk that pregnancy and childcare represent, even the process of getting pregnant. My grandmother told me how she was required to quit a job that she loved because pregnant women were not permitted in the workplace. We’ve made some progress, but much still needs to change.”

Katherine offered some advice for aspiring writers. “Keep writing for your chosen audience. Be prepared to work many different jobs to support yourself. Get skilled at public speaking. Writing is solitary work yet once your work is published, you’ll be doing lots of readings, book fairs, and interviews.”

If shopping locally for Motherlike, the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore on Millwood Road, a Leaside business for over four decades, will happily order it for you.

About Suzanne Park 63 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.