APU's Marianne Thompson: Words and Superheroes Born in the Kitchen

November, we’ll be featuring weekly student bloggers from APU’s Creative Writing
Workshop. Mei Mei Evans tell us, “The students run the gamut of age and
background and are a lively group. We hope that 49Writers blog followers will
enjoy their posts!”

I was
homeschooled. Let’s just get that out in the open right now. Although my social
awkwardness may have lasted longer than I currently (or maybe ever will) care
to admit, I can claim
better than average penmanship skills and the singular distinction of having at
least 90 percent of my education take place in the homeyness of my mother’s
small kitchen. It was the birthplace of my desire to create.

My sisters and I
would sit at the worn kitchen table day
after day, resting our elbows on its fork-pocked surface, our minds working
vigorously as we chewed on #2 pencils. Once or twice during my twelve year
education I confess to taking a hulking big biology or English
textbook to the head of whichever sister was irritating me more at the time.
The favor was usually returned. Things like that happen when your siblings are also
your classmates.

Some days our
creativity and imaginations knew no upper limits. One sister and I fancied
ourselves poets, the other two as young adult novelists. Our thoughts would
turn over and over, our written words finally stumbling playfully onto paper
like freshly polished rocks from a tumbler. We would take turns reading
aloud our tall tales or weepy poems, looking more for commendation than

As we studied or
wrote, my mother would listen in as she bustled between the oven and the
pantry, conjuring up dishes of culinary magic, wearing the only apron I recall
her owning. It was a spotless white cotton apron that proclaimed in bold red
letters what she must have felt nearly every school day of our lives –
“Uff Dah!” Only as an adult can I fully appreciate the bravery of a
woman daring to own only one apron, and a white one at that. Wonder Woman had
nothing on her.

My high school
graduation came and went, and for the most part, my writing went as well.
I left it to my oldest sister who had the real literary talent of the
family. I went off chasing a more adrenaline filled lifestyle of piloting small
airplanes, missionary work in Las Vegas of all places, and random summer jobs
like sailboat deckhand or dissector of seabirds. I found a sense of invincibility,
accomplishment and sometimes even my own superhero-ish-ness in my exploits.

In the end, perhaps
driven by the fond memories of my mother’s warm kitchen, the yearning to make a
home of my own eventually became stronger than my hankering for adventure.
 So I tied the knot with my dream husband – a tall handsome daredevil I
sometimes like to call Superman. Reality found me quickly. Housewifery and
motherhood became a wee bit more challenging than I anticipated. As I searched
for a sense of accomplishment even while under siege from months of sleepless
nights and mounds of poopy diapers, I once again heard the clarion call of the
kitchen table drawing me back to the art of the written word. And so I write. This
time my writing gives a voice to these newfound experiences and a shred of
sanity to my mommy madness. Just like they did all those years ago, words tumble
around in my head again. Only this time it’s me bustling
around my own tiny kitchen, my six month old
son Bridger being the one observer of my foodie flair at work or my creative
thoughts spilling out aloud.

Thus, quite by
accident and much to my delight, I have rediscovered that old feeling of
invincibility. And I found it in the kitchen. Just yesterday as I donned one of
my three aprons and
began beating whole wheat flour and overripe bananas into humble submission
with my favorite spoon, the realization slowly dawned on me like the
rising of a loaf of bread in a warm oven: my dominion over my own kitchen,
however messy, makes me feel rather sensational. My new journey in life and in
words is a daily adventure worth the surrender of my former solo selfishness.

My hope is that my
kitchen too, can be the cradle of youthful lessons, fond dreams, and
significant achievements for my children. As I concoct dinner tonight, Bridger
relaxes in his little brown bouncer, kicking the air contentedly and mouthing
the sword-shaped silicone spatula that I’ve given him to play with. I imagine
him in a year or two, running circles through the house and perhaps wielding
that same spatula at some ferocious unseen villain. Maybe he will have a
superhero cape tied resplendently around his little neck. If he stops and asks
me to play, I’ll be ready. I’ll untie my yellow spattered apron and with a
theatrical supermom flourish, twirl it around to my back for a cape. And
with my own kitchen utensil weapon in hand, I’ll be ready to join the battle.

Marianne Thompson
is a full time mom and a part time staff member/student at Alaska Pacific
University. Her passions include flying, enjoying the great outdoors,
homemaking, and a host of other things too random to mention. She records her
mothering learning curve on a her blog (




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