Blog Entries tagged 'motherhood'
Nice interview with Tish Pearlman.
What Is Seized
In the wedding photos they wear white against the murky dark oftrees. They are thin and elegant. They have placid smiles. The mouth of the father of the bride remains in a short, straight line. I don't know who took these pictures. I suppose they are lies of sorts, revealing by omission, by indirection, by clues such as shoes and clouds. But they tell a truth, the only way lies can. The way only lies can.
Another morning, I heard my parents up early in the bathroom, my dad shaving, getting ready to leave for school.
"Look," he said in a loud whisper. "I really can't say that I'll never leave you and the kids or that I'll never make love to another woman--"
"Why not?" asked my mother. "Why can't you say that?" Even her anger was gentle, ingenuous.
"Because I don't feel that way."
"But ... can't you just say it anyway?"
At this I like to imagine that my parents met each other's gaze in the medicine cabinet mirror, suddenly grinning. But later in the hospital bed, holding my hand and touching each of my nails slowly with her index finger, my mother said to me, "Your father. He was in a dance. And he just couldn't dance." Earlier that year she had written me: "That is what is wrong with cold people. Not that they have ice in their souls - we all have a bit of that - but that they insist their every word and deed mirror that ice. They never learn the beauty or value of gesture. The emotional necessity. For them, it is all honesty before kindness, truth before art. Love is art, not truth. It's like painting scenery."
These are the things one takes from mothers. Once they die, of course, you get the strand of pearls, the blue quilt, some of the original wedding gifts - a tray shellacked with the invitation, an old rusted toaster - but the touches and the words and the moaning the night she dies, these are what you seize, save, carry around in little invisible envelopes, opening them up quickly, like a carnival huckster, giving the world a peek. They will not stay quiet. No matter how you try. No matter how you lick them. The envelopes will not stay glued.
Excerpted from Self-Help.
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.
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.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about what I'm eating, what I'm feeding my family, and how little I know about where our food is from, and who handles it as it moves from place to place.
When I see films like this or read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, I feel fortunate to have lived in Berkeley for several years and spent many delicious evenings at Alice Waters' restaurant, Chez Panisse.
The first time, I was taken for my 16th birthday by one of my fabulous gay "uncles" named Ivory, whom I lost to AIDS years later. I will always remember him as the person who introduced me to Lillet and the concept of the "prix fixe". It was incredible. We ate rabbit and drank Lillet and then had delicious flourless chocolate ganache.
I love you Ivory!
Now that Waters is advising the White House and transforming public school cafeterias by teaching kids to grow their own lunches, I feel I was there at the beginning-- a part of yet another movement: The Food Movement!
Waters has just joined the Advisory Board for this great film, produced and directed by a friend and fellow co-founder of Third Wave Foundation, Catherine Gund.
I'd love to hear your food stories. We don't have any CSA's here on Maui, or if we do, I need someone out there to tell me about them.
I have an essay in The Root today about Michelle Obama and feminism.
Yesterday afternoon, in tandem with the essay on Michelle Obama, I joined a group of exceptional women including Anna Perez, the former Press Secretary for Barbara Bush, Leslie Morgan Steiner, the editor of the best-selling anthology Mommy Wars, and Jolene Ivey, co-founder of Mocha Moms, on Michel Martin's NPR show Tell Me More to talk about:
It was a fascinating conversation, but five intense women talking about Michelle Obama for thirty-five minutes? We could have been there for hours. I left the studio thinking about all the things I wished there had been more time to say.
I wish the show had been called "What Michelle Obama is Gaining."
There was certainly more to say about the question of "power" vs "influence." It's my view that Michelle has the opportunity to have a tremendous amount of power--political, personal, ideological, symbolic, financial, social, maternal, emotional, psychological-- but Anna Perez opined Michelle will have influence, but because she can't write legislation and doesn't have a vote on key issues, she won't have power.
But there are different kinds of power. Laws change administration to administration, but transforming the consciousness of a generation is forever. Did Martin Luther King, Jr. have power or influence? Did Jackie Kennedy want more power and less influence? How about Eleanor Roosevelt? And what about our former First Lady, Hillary Clinton? She almost because POTUS in large part as a result of her "influence." What about the Nobel committee? Do they have power or influence? Freud and Jung? Moses?
I was taken aback by Anna Perez's view, her privileging one realm, the political, over what could be called the personal or communal, a view that has disempowered women for centuries. And I was struck by how difficult it seemed for many of the women in the conversation to see Michelle as anything but a victim. Incredibly, they seemed to think she was more powerful as a hospital administrator than First Lady.
We denigrate Michelle by denigrating her choices. Projecting an idea of her as a deer in the headlights rather than a lioness on the plain reflects a crisis of the imagination, and speaks volumes about what we think is possible for a woman, or any human being, to negotiate.
People working to create a better world dismiss their accomplishment at their own peril. They resign themselves to a lifetime of disappointment.
What do you think? Do you have power or influence, power and influence, or no power and no influence?
How do you define power?