Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

Rebecca Walker Blog

Baby Love, Workshops, and my beautiful and challenging two and a half year old

Hey everybody,

Thanks so much for your posts and for your beautiful letters. I can't tell you --even though I tell you again and again--how much it means to me to know that the book means something to you. THANK YOU!

Upcoming writing workshops:

November: Amsterdam
December: Maui
June 2008: South of France
August 2008: Costa Rica

I think the South of France workshop is going to AMAZING. All of them will be amazing, but this one is in an out of this world location on the sea.

If you are interested in any of these, contact my assistant, Ej, at ekajati@rebeccawalker.com to sign up or get more information.

And now onto the trials and tribulations of my gorgeous two and a half year old: He's driving me crazy at the moment! Needs a nap, won't go down. Is potty trained, but now using "I've got to go bathroom," to avoid having to go to sleep. He's got a cold, which is making him a little wilder than usual, but now that I've been giving him a bit of medicine, he asks for it all the time!

Then there is the eating. I give him a huge bowl of food, then when it is time for him to take a nap, he says, or rather screams, "I'm hungry, Mommy" --knowing that it will be almost impossible for me to deny him food (even though I must resist his attention-seeking, nap-refusing behavior).

As I write I see these are pretty minimal complaints for a two and a half year old, but whew! Mommy needs a break.

Okay. Keep the posts coming, and maybe I'll see you France next year, or Maui this year. That would be great.

Much aloha to all.
Rebecca

PS I also do manuscript consultations if you already have a manuscript and are looking for advice on where to go with it. Go to the STORE link on the site and check out the Manuscript Consult page.
August 19th, 2007

Back at it...

Hey everyone,

Since the last comment on the blog was, "Why have you stopped blogging?"I figure I better get to it, even in the midst of motherhood, writing, travel, and teaching in far flung places.

I'm just back from teaching a wonderful writing workshop in Chiang Mai, Thailand that inspired me to inaugurate a yearly workshop in Hawaii. I've found the perfect space, the perfect masseuse (Thai massage was a big help in the writing process, lol) and I'm looking forward to letting you all know more about it soon. I'm debating between holding it in December or July. Let me know what you think.

After visiting Cambodia, I've been thinking about the war in the Middle East. When America pulled out of Cambodia, millions had no protection against being slaughtered in a vicious civil war. Of course I am against war, but we also have to consider how many lives would be lost if we pull out without a plan to protect the people made so vulnerable by our initiation of the war in the first place. We have to plan for stopping war and protecting those who face unspeakable devastation once it is in motion. That's my thinking at the moment anyway, very different from how I felt about war before I went to Cambodia.

On another front, letters about Baby Love continue to be AMAZING and make me very, very proud. Lots of moms and dads writing about similar experiences, and tackling the subject of ambivalence. Others urge me to reconcile with my mother, and many admire my ability to take healthy distance. I understand both views, and continue to defy the notion that suffering is inherently redemptive and that freedom from injurious circumstances is ill-advised.

Of course, I'm always open to anything that makes the world a better place.

Much aloha from here,

Rebecca
August 9th, 2007

Huffington Post et al

Hey everyone,

I've spent the whole day trying to fix my laptop, but I've been LOVING all the beautiful letters from readers of Baby Love. Really, they make it all worthwhile. If you feel the urge, post some of those great thoughts on the Amazon.com review page for the book. Those short reviews really have a lot of impact, and sometimes the not so nice people get there first!

Also thought you all might be interested in a blog entry I wrote for the Mothers and Daughters feature on the Huffington Post site. Let me know what you think. I'm happy to be in great company, including and especially that of asha bandele, author of The Prisoner's Wife, one of my favorite memoirs.

So, more to come. I've got a review of another great book, When She Was White, coming up in the Washington Post Book Review, and a few other pieces in the hopper. Stay tuned.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
May 16th, 2007

Mother's Day

Hi everyone,

Here's a beautiful manifest(a) from the founder of Mother's Day, Julia Ward Howe.

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

Peace and love always from the slopes of Haleakala,
Rebecca
May 12th, 2007

Living With Music: A Playlist by Rebecca Walker, The New York Times

May 6th, 2008

On Wednesdays, this blog is the delivery vehicle for “Living With Music,” a playlist of songs from a writer or some other kind of book-world personage.

This week: Rebecca Walker, whose most recent book, “Baby Love,” is available in paperback.

Check it.

May 6th, 2007

Best Day Ever

Hey everybody:

After travel and jet lag, I had the best day ever. One of those days that makes me love my job.

First I found one of my favorite people and singer songwriters, Imani Uzuri, on MySpace. I downloaded her album and spent the next hour dancing around my hotel room to her song Sun Moon Child.

Then I did a little shopping at my favorite on-line kids shop, nonchalantmom.com. I'm such a sucker for all those cute baby clothes and toys, and besides, Carina, the owner, is just the nicest person.

Then I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by the very wonderful Santita Jackson on her show on WVON in Chicago. Baby Love, Baby Love, and more Baby Love. I really loved the callers.

Hanging out with 1600 powerful, inspiring women at the 30th anniversary of Women's Way was definitely the highlight. Governor Ed Rendell, Ellie Smeal and I had an armchair discussion about the history and future of women's movement toward equality. It was fun, stimulating, and enlightening. Many thanks to all involved, especially Adrienne, who took care of me at the event. I hope to see you all again soon.

I missed the Republican debate, but I like David Gergen's take: Why are all the candidates talking about abortion, gay rights and the war when they need to be talking about global warming, overhauling the school system to compete with China and India, and a health care system in a state of collapse. I would add family leave, excellent and affordable childcare, and accessible, functional mental health support for every American.

Leave women alone, let people love who they want, and stop killing people. Sounds good to me.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
May 4th, 2007

Women's Way

Hey everyone,

I'm back out on the road after a few wonderful days with the family in the sun.

Today I'm in Philly, doing European interviews and speaking at the 30th Anniversary Gala for Women's Way. The event will be an armchair discussion with myself, Governor Ed Rendell, and Ellie Smeal. I think it will be an interesting discussion about Third Wave, intergenerational feminism, the political process, and the future of women's participation in social change.

I'm looking forward to it.

If you're in Philly, stop by!

Peace and love.
Rebecca
May 2nd, 2007

Virginia Tech, U Penn and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Hey everyone,

What a week. I was sitting in a hotel room a few hours before giving a talk at Penn when I heard the news about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I was immediately concerned about the students around the world who would have to go to classes suddenly unsure of their safety. For the first time in fifteen years of speaking at colleges, I felt fear myself and tried to think of ways to discuss the incident in a way that was helpful.

Amazingly, the students were not nearly as shaken as I was. Many had not even heard about the incident. Hard not to reflect on this generation. They have been through so much, and have had to keep going. Of course it is futile to generalize, and they don't seem numb, but a bit more pragmatic perhaps? Shocked by little? Not sure what the effect 9/11 would have had on me at 19 or 20, how that would have changed my view of the world.

I finally made it home, and was immediately brought into the whirlwind of welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the island for a teaching called World Peace: The Human Approach. Took the baby and listened to HHDL talk about building on natural human affection --which he discussed as biologically based and seen between most mothers and their children-- as a road to peace. Tomorrow he will speak on the Eight Verses for Training the Mind.

As I left the teaching sunburned but happy, I thought about how easy it is to dismiss points of view for any number of reasons. As a child of deconstruction there is always at least one thing I find problematic in any piece of art or culture I experience. But where does it end? When can we still appreciate something even though there are things about it we may not agree with? Don't we cheat ourselves of potentially transformative information by being so reactive and judgmental? Does that kind of response really help to solve the problems of discord between human beings?

Of course there is the Alec Baldwin tape and the Don Imus controversy...so much to say there.
Anyway. More on this later.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
April 25th, 2007

Pensacola and LA

Hey everybody! I've just done two talks, a reading and four interviews down here in Pensacola, and it has been a fascinating, moving, inspiring experience. I've made new friends, Kimberly and Denise, and met some truly amazing individuals who came out to hear me and share time together at the Women's Expo.

I don't know if I can sum this one up in a few words.

Many of the people here are quite religious and deeply committed to Jesus Christ and his teachings; that they were open enough to come and hear me and to, some of them, come to me in tears from my talk, with hugs and invitations to dinner, was really a miracle. And I learned so much about the Pentecostal and Charismatic faiths!

One of the other groups that sponsored me was the Coalition of 100 Black Women- Pensacola chapter, and the beautiful women who came from that group embraced me and also diversified the whole event, another miracle. On top of all those miracles and all that love, they put me up in a gorgeous place overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday the water was the most amazing blue-green, today is stormy and gray but beautiful just the same.

I miss the baby, but every day I get more letters from readers of Baby Love and they remind me of why I'm out here. Thank you!

I realize I haven't given you the LA update: It was great. I had a great time doing the KTLA morning show. We kibbitzed and one of the hosts had read Black, White and Jewish many years ago and talked during the segment about how much the book meant to her...I had a great escort, Lisa Becker, who had just been with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and said she was just wonderful, which I'm sure is true as her work and book are both so powerful and important. The booksellers in LA were amazing, too. At the Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica, I was showered with baby books for the baby, and at Vroman's I couldn't stop myself from buying a little Elmo and this incredible 3-D Frog book!

Okay so I'm pretty up to date, no? Tomorrow I go to Philadelpia again to speak at University of Pennsylvania. If you are around, come say hello.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
April 15th, 2007

Women's Expo

Pensacola, here I come! I'm still working on blog entries from Baby Love LA and Kahului, but in the meantime I'm hitting the road again to open and close the Gulf Coast Women's Expo. This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss the important topics facing women (and men) today. The title of the opening talk I'm giving at the conference is "Today is the Tomorrow You Were Promised Yesterday." It's all about how to have hope for the future and what we can do to bring about positive change, both within ourselves and our communities.

The expo should be a really energizing experience and I'm looking forward to connecting with all the women "down south" working on the great balancing act of friends, family, self, and career. If you are in the Pensacola area this Friday or Saturday, please stop by and see me! I'll be looking for you. Peace and love. Rebecca
April 12th, 2007

Book Tour Finale

Hey everyone! I'm finally home home home. So happy to see the baby and the rest of the tribe. It seems an eternity since I left for Portland, but it has only been two weeks. Incredible.

As I mentioned, Phoenix was great. The bookstore Changing Hands was an inspiration. An independent that is thriving, and full of books I want to read and beautiful objects I want to buy. Lots of wonderful people at the reading, asking great questions as usual. I met an architect from the South, a couple that had been at my reading in Portland five years ago for Black, White and Jewish, a precious mother-daughter team, two pregnant moms, a student of Chogyam Trungpa who studied at Naropa, and at least ten women who are on the fence about the whole pregnancy journey. I did some great TV in Phoenix, but my favorite was Pat McMahon, who had me on after a man with Concerned Citizens for Christ who, along with his wife, has made a personal crusade of challenging the Mormon church. It was a very dynamic segment! Phoenix was also notable for the totally swanky hotel I stayed at, the Mondrian Scottsdale, which had the best beauty products by Korres a natural product company in Greece. The small perks of being on the road: a tiny bottle of lemon basil shower gel and cold peanut M and M's in the mini-bar. Also: reading on the plane. I'm set to review When She Was White by Judith Stone for the Washington Post, so I started reading it on the way to LA, in between peanuts and a disco nap.

I will post about LA and Hawaii as soon as I catch my breath. Until then, thanks so much for all of the beautiful emails. I love hearing about you all reading the book on the subway, on the plane, in bed, on vacation, in the middle of the night, while nursing, during naptime, and on the way to work. Keep em coming! You give me hope.
April 9th, 2007

Chicago Book Stop

This picture, from the reading at the wonderful bookstore Women and Children First, was sent in by Yanique--thanks! It was a great event. I got lots of questions about Buddhism (check my site for the article of Buddhism in the Black community with Lama Choyin Rangdrol) and balancing family and career. More on that to come, but in the meantime check out equallysharedparenting.com for a look at how some progressive parents are doing it. Other amazing sites for moms: mothersoughttohaveequalrights.org and singlemothers.org.

In Phoenix I had great fun with TV host Pat McMahon and a super groovy time with the host of Arizona Midday, four months pregnant herself.

More from LA soon...

peace and love,
Rebecca
April 3rd, 2007

Baby Love on the Road

Philadelphia and Washington DC are a blur. I did lots of interviews: a popular morning TV show in DC on Fox, a bunch for NPR, a segment for PBS, and a very special one on one with Literary Mama, one of my favorite on-line mags. But the highlight was the readings. In Philly, my old friend and now lawyer Dacque Tirado from Freedom Summer made an appearance, a wonderfully well adjusted mother and daughter duo sat in the front row and asked very good questions,and a sister who had been very upset about the biological/non-biological discussion (and who wouldn't have come to see me if her friend hadn't dragged her), said she was so happy she came and heard my thoughts firsthand.

In DC my reading was in Tyson's corner, where an old friend from fourth grade magically appeared, along with a family of long lost relatives from my stepmother's family, one of whom was doing a skit for her class based on Black, White and Jewish the next day! I was very well taken care of by a super cool regional marketing director who had come to Border's from thirteen years at Tower Records. She fed me apple pie and some kind of cheese sandwich and just generally rocked!

I'm still amazed by all the stories I'm hearing. About miscarriages, ambivalent couples, adoption, infertility, loss, love, triplets, insemination, IVF...it really is amazing how many of us are grappling in different ways with birth and parenthood. Very inspiring.

I've just wrapped Chicago, but that will have to come in another post.

Keep spreading the word about Baby Love, in all of its many forms! Thanks for all the positive energy. Now on day 10, I REALLY appreciate it.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
April 2nd, 2007

New York City

It was such an honor to appear on Good Morning America. The interview gave me a chance to reach a large audience to discuss some of the more relevant themes in the book, and to clarify my position regarding the more controversial aspects. It was also a lot of fun, and the hair and makeup team (thanks April and Kathleen!) taught me many new tricks. After the interview at ABC, I made my way down to Barnes & Noble in the heart of Chelsea. It was a wonderful crowd. My dad was there, and several dear friends, one of whom brought her beautiful little girl. There were many excellent questions from the audience and we discussed several important issues that the book raises. One was the mother-daughter relationship. Why is it that so many mother-daughter relationships are broken? I know very few women who have healthy relationships with their mothers.

I responded with what I've been thinking a lot about lately: this idea of sisterhood, and mothers and daughters being more like sisters or friends. Being "sisters" throws off the archetypal mother-daughter relationship. Daughters need mothers to be mothers: unconditionally loving, not competitive, etc. The role of a sister is more closely linked with friendship, which can sometimes turn into jealousy and rivalry. I think being more aware of these different models and paradigms may help mothers to form healthier relationships with their daughters. Finally, I am so appreciative of the people sharing their stories on this blog and elsewhere. We are engaging in an important dialogue. The participation, passion, and varied viewpoints are all important and add to the conversation.

Peace and Love, Rebecca.
March 28th, 2007

Book Tour Update

Hey everybody! Just finished up with Seattle and San Francisco and head out to New York in the morning. Seattle was super fantastico. I saw my old friends from Elliott Bay Books, Rick and Karen, and Warren Read, with whom I consulted on a manuscript that just sold (!!). The event was co-sponsored by Mavin, a resource group for multi-racial people, and though I thought it was going to be held at the groovy new Koolhaas library downtown, it was actually held an equally gorgeous newly renovated branch of the library called the Douglas Truth branch, named after Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth. I was happy to hear that when Seattle decided to spend millions on the new library, they committed to renovate libraries all over the city. Way to be civically responsible! Anyhoo, I read to the standing room only crowd and took lots of questions. Heard from at least one pregnant mom. It was really a lot of fun, and I want to thank everyone who came and made it possible, including my great media escort and playright, Rosalind.

San Francisco was also good. Spent the whole day yesterday at KPFA doing community radio. I was interviewed by at least four different people, including my dear friend Weyland, producer of Hard Knock Radio. We got lots of great calls from listeners, one of whom wanted to give love and thanks for spreading the word about ambivalence and motherhood and all the rest of it. Another who wanted to set up a reading in the East Bay because all of my readings were a little far out of town (thanks to the good booksellers at Keplers who gave me some Richard Scarry books for the baby, and the good people at Book Passage in Corte Madera, who gave me some great note cards with my name engraved on them. Perfect for thank you notes to all of you sending me such positive energy.) Lots of good dialogue happening because of the book, and I'm so proud it seems to be touching a nerve. I also had a much needed massage, which got me re-centered for the next leg, which includes Good Morning America! Stay tuned.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
March 25th, 2007