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Openness is our greatest human resource.

Rebecca Walker Blog

What Obama Spent His Day Doing

Releasing torture memos, reforming credit card companies, and expanding Americorp.
April 21st, 2009

Auntie

Today at the pool, about ten kids I didn't know called me "Auntie." Here in Hawaii it happens every day.

"Auntie! Watch me put my head underwater!"

"Auntie! My sister can jump, you want to see her?"

"Auntie! Will you help me get my towel?"

 "Auntie! Can you show me how to kick my legs while I hold onto the edge of the pool?"

I'm always taken aback by the fearlessness of the kids. They trust me immediately. I'm an Auntie--an elder-- and their sense is that I will take care of them. 

It reminds of something very old. And something very new. Something many of us have lost and are looking to regain. 

Innocence. Trust. Ease.

In Hawai'i it's called O'hana-- Family. 

Now each time a child calls me "Auntie" I feel so proud. That they've chosen me, that they trust me. They ask. I give. It's so easy. I haven't forgotten. 

 

April 16th, 2009

Still human after all these years.

April 15th, 2009

The One Thing

I just read a blog post about the importance of specifity on one's blog. You should focus on the one thing you do, the one message you have, the one idea you want your readers to take away.

Which made me think, and look down at all my blog posts to try to find the one thing, the big idea, the one message. 

What is it, exactly, I'm saying over here? Why do people visit? What are you looking for? How do I provide it? 

And it came down to a basic credo:

Clarity. Courage. Faith. Freedom. 

That's my message, told a million different ways. 

See your truth. Tell your truth. Believe in the power of your truth. And then, fly, fly away.

Be free.

April 13th, 2009

Little Bee: Killing me softly with her song.

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is no new road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

 - D.H. Lawrence (taken from Chris Cleave's site.)

Trust me. Buy it. 

April 11th, 2009

Write Now.

Hey beauties,

I'm doing manuscript consults for the next two months, and planning the next Maui Memoir Writing Workshop.

Now's the time to get feedback on the manuscript you need to sell, and/or come to Maui to learn the Art of Memoir amidst pineapple fields, avocado trees, and of course, the big, blue ocean. 

Consults are ongoing and the Workshop will be June 14-20

No time to waste. Write now.

Catch a wave.

April 9th, 2009

Baby Wars

April 9th, 2009

The Headscarf--Revisioned

I really love the way this discussion about the hijab is continuing to evolve in the midst of The Obama Transition.

From Huff Post:

As always, the nexus of the clash between the West and Islam is the role of women. The Turkish sociologist Nilufer Golë has put her finger somewhat provocatively on precisely what secularists fear might be taken away, but also on what Muslim women are gaining.

"In contrast with the West," she has written, "where the public sphere was first formed by the bourgeoisie and excluded the working class and women, in the Muslim context of modernity women have been the makers of public space. In the Muslim context, the existence of democratic public space depends on the social encounter between the sexes and on the eroticization of the public sphere."

The wearing of the headscarf in universities -- which the AKP sought to allow -- is the flash point of the conflict. To be sure, the headscarf issue signals changing private and public distinctions through the re-entry of religion into the public arena of modern Turkey. But since headscarf proponents argue that it will enhance the opportunities of women in higher education, it also serves as a critique of the idea that only secularism equals modernity.

"Women proponents of the headscarf distance themselves from secular models of feminist emancipation," Gole argues, "but they also seek autonomy from male interpretations of Islamic precepts. They want access to secular education so they can follow new paths in life that don't conform to traditional gender roles, yet they also seek to fashion a new pious self. They are searching for ways to become Muslim and modern at the same time, transforming both."

In short, the established meaning of Islamic veiling is undergoing a radical transformation -- from a symbol of Muslim female submission and seclusion in the private sphere to a badge of public, assertive Muslim womanhood. For Gole, this sign of stigma and inferiority is in the process of being inverted into a sign of empowerment and prestige.

More

April 7th, 2009

Soul Sister Number One: Danielle Laporte

Inspiring.

April 5th, 2009

OBHF #1 Top Shelf Pick in SF Chronicle

One Big Happy Family #1Top Shelf Non-fiction pic in San Fancisco Chronicle. Such a huge blessing. Thanks everyone. For supporting families--and me.

Nonfiction

One Big Happy Family, by Rebecca Walker: A fascinating collection of essays on the varieties of the American family.

Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: A Collection of Kids' Letters to President Obama, edited by Jory John: We can always depend on children to be both funny and truthful. In paperback.

Shakespeare Wrote for Money, by Nick Hornby: The author chronicles his battle between "books bought" versus "books read." Brilliant. In paperback.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson: Johnson illustrates how science, art and beauty can occasionally be the same thing. In paperback.

Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, by Alice Waters: A chronicle of the transformation of one abandoned plot of land at a Berkeley public school into the Edible Schoolyard - a model for institutions everywhere.

This article appeared on page J - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle

April 4th, 2009

Today

April 1st, 2009

One Big Happy Family chosen a Cool Mom Pick. Cool.

Nice, nice, nice from our friends over at Cool Mom Picks:

"I may have a family that looks like we come from a 1950s-era sitcom, complete with curly-haired children and a husband who carries a briefcase, but ours isn't the only recipe for domestic bliss.

Acclaimed writer and activist Rebecca Walker delves into the details of modern family units in her new anthology, One Big Happy Family. These eye-opening essays helped me more fully appreciate the commitment that every family makes to staying together.  In fact, I'd say that I've got it pretty easy by comparison.


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Buy One Big Happy Family at Amazon.com

March 30th, 2009

What Makes an Artist

Stamina. Audacity. Courage. 

March 26th, 2009

Die Mommy Die: Women talking about babies in workplace, from ELLE

Interesting piece about women waxing rhapsodic about motherhood at the office and how it affects non-moms and moms who don't necessarily think motherhood is the beginning and end of the world. My two cents on second page and nice mention of OBHF:

By Nancy Hass

Arranging the interview took months of patient pleading with the CEO’s staff, and now that I’ve been waiting for almost an hour in the chief’s vast beige and teak inner office, one thought keeps running through my head: She better be as brilliant as everyone says.

Ten minutes later, the CEO walks through the door, smoothing her pantsuit and flashing a purposefully desperate smile. “I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting,” she says, plopping down in the sleek armchair next to me as I reach out to shake her hand, “but my nine-year-old had a bad night because of a test today—throwing up and everything—and she just called in to say she thinks she aced it. Everything is so dramatic with that one; all her stress goes right to her stomach.”

I try to cut her off with a tight grin, barely enough to pass as polite. I don’t like where this is going.

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March 25th, 2009

One Big Happy Family on the Marc Steiner show

Best part of this interview with the wonderfully sensitive and smart Marc Steiner are the call-ins. Always my favorite, but this time especially good: a woman called in about her stay at home husband/dad and facing family ridicule. Another caller wanted to know how I advocated choice within family configurations when God clearly states His wish for nuclear families in the Bible.
 

Buy the book

March 23rd, 2009