By MADOLINE MARKHAM
Finley Bullard Evans is the kind of person who is still fascinated by old-fashioned letters and the economy of a page, who turns to books of artwork and poetry for inspiration. She’s a poet who loves to discuss ideas. But even more importantly, she is a mother who delights in making the ordinary extraordinary—and that is just as much part of her writing as anything.
Evans has recently published a memoir, Two of ‘Em in There, about her pregnancy with twins Max and Harry and their first year.
“The sequence of events called for me to write it,” she said. “That first year was magical in a lot of ways. (My husband and I) couldn’t let it go by without talking about it—for us and for the boys.”
Evans’ writing is honest and laced with her dry wit, chronicling how she reoriented her life around her sons, who are now third graders at Brookwood Forest Elementary. Her casual voice makes you feel as if you are sitting around a living room with friends listening to her stories, hearing about the craziness of renovating a house and preparing to bring not one but two babies into the world.
“It was like living in someone else’s movie,” she said.
When Evans, who has her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama, found out she was pregnant with twins, the only books she found talked about the dangers of multiple births; plus, most books on babies were always instructional but never positive, she said.
“Mothers are so scared from people telling them what to do,” she said. “They just need some encouragement. I would rather have had encouragement and someone to tell me to trust myself.”
That’s what Evans hopes her book will do. She wrote about her experience with candor, laughed about it with candor and hopes others will laugh about it too.
“Being a parent is funny,” she said.
When the twins were born, she wanted to document the time she saw as so precious, so she began to write while they slept. Getting her thoughts out on paper had always helped her understand things, and being a parent was no different.
“I looked forward to that time,” she said. “Living moment-to-moment as a parent, there was no time to think. I wrote it all down to help me make sense of things.”
The product of that naptime writing evolved into a collection of essays that became the book. Evans edited it for years and worked on revisions with an agent in New York in 2008, but when the book market changed with the downward turn in the economy, she and her husband, Neal, a software designer, decided to self-publish it. The book was released digitally in May and in print in September.
Evans got local artist Bethanne Hill, whom Evans had admired for her flair and Southern feel, to create the cover art.
Next on the plate for Evans is a second book of poetry, Caravaggio’s Bones, inspired by hearing about the dark and mysterious Italian artist’s bones being found. “It made me think about how we value artists, even their bones,” she said.
Evans’ poetry has been published in literary magazines, and her first book, The Third Girl, was published by Plan B Press last year.
Many of the poems in that book attest to how her writing is so intrinsically tied to her role as mother. Hers is a solitary profession, she said, but parenting is not. She relishes her time talking with the boys while she makes pancakes and admiring their writing and artwork. “I am lucky to be a part of their world,” she said.
Two of ‘Em in There is available on Amazon.com.
Two of ‘Em in There Book Signing
With Finley Evans and Bethanne Hill
October 28, 2011, 6-8 p.m.
Little Professor Book Center,
2717 18th St. S.