Blog Entries tagged 'one big happy family'
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.
It's always strange reading what people write about me. To see myself through their eyes. Sometimes it's heartbreaking. Sometimes it's enlightening. Sometimes it makes me think about how I said something or what I really want people to understand.
This is an interesting piece by Zettler Clay on One Big Happy Family on Clutch today. I'm pondering how I feel about this profile. I don't think of myself as an "inveterate zealot," but I feel I should at least consider the possibility.
I also don't think I've spent thirty-nine years seeking my mother's attention, but perhaps that's what it looks like to others. Alas--this profile is thought provoking. Quixotic, natch.
What do you think?
"But who, pray tell, is Rebecca Walker?
She is a woman who has spent a good part of her 39 years on earth seeking her mother’s elusive approval. She’s the Jewish-Nubian who spent considerable parts of her childhood being shuffled from coast-to-coast, enduring ridicule from classmates because of her lineage and looks, while imbibing the rich customs of Jews and African-Americans alike. She is a woman who attended Yale University, graduated cum laude, wrote several treatises, books and articles, all while haunted by the memory of a lost baby and the fear of not being able to have another one.
She is, in essence, a woman of omnivorous tastes; a counterculture spokesperson and literary commuter who is still ultimately seeking her halcyon environment, if not understanding, of how to make the world a better place. A quixotic being, but certainly not apathetic."
I share this hour-long interview (which I did from the Costco parking lot!) with Louie Gong, President of Maven. I come in after first half-hour--and have a lot of fun with the chicks.
We talk Buddhism, coming to the end of identity, and much more--all while trucks and cars and huge shopping carts careen past. I love these chicks. We met when they invited me to give the inaugural opening keynote at their baby, the Mixed Roots Film and Literature Festival in Los Angeles.
Today my guy told me about a bit Jon Stewart did on why Jews argue. Apparently, a "reporter" goes and asks a bunch of Jews why they argue all the time, and they start arguing about who should answer the question and whether Jews argue any more than anyone else.
We both cracked up because, well, I
like to tend to
argue and my son's father doesn't. I've been trying to stop and it's
the hardest thing ever. Way harder than probability and statistics
class in high school, and a quibillion times harder than the LSAT I
took a few years months ago when I was thinking about
going to law school. It's so hard that I've often wondered if I have a
neurological tic that turns even the simplest request into a
passionate, two-hour debate.
In the beginning of our relationship, I explained it was cultural. It's a Jewish thing, I told my mate-to-be. We have strong opinions about everything. You should see us at the dinner table, I said. No one agrees on anything--where we should sit, whether the lighting is too bright or too dim, if the food is overpriced or genius, if my sister should cut her hair. Our willingness to dig deep over trivial matters is a sign of commitment, I told him. It shows we care enough to engage at a deep level.
Arguing, I said. It's how we love.
To which he replied, I'm not Jewish and I don't like to argue because it raises my blood pressure and I want to have a calm, peaceful life. You can go out into the world and argue your a** off, but for God's sake, when you come home, can't we just get along?
Which, in my argumentative state of mind (tangentially related to Billy Joel's New York Jewish state of mind, btw) sounded like: Jews are crazy, can't you just be normal and not Jewish when you're at home? Which made me mumble something about him not liking Jews, which was awful, inaccurate, and the furthest thing from the truth.
But I was arguing. Who said I had to be rational? Terrible logic, I know. A heinous lapse. I'm still apologizing.
But back to Jon Stewart and laughing together about the pop cultural confirmation of what I've been saying all along. No, I wasn't bat mitzvahed. No I don't speak Yiddish or Hebrew. But yes, yes, I love a good back and forth. So sue me.
Ironically, it was a great moment. A love moment. A moment of acceptance. A cross-cultural moment. A moment of peace. A, dare I say it, family moment.
Chrissi Coppa, writer of the blog Storked, and author of the soon to be published memoir Rattled, excerpted asha bandele's piece on choosing to divorce her incarcerated husband and become a single mom, from the new book. The comments are wonderful. Please visit and add your voice.
Chrissi on asha's essay:
"This essay is dynamic and piercing and I relate to the bones and guts of it. It is scary knowing that if I fall no one is there to catch me--that I have to break my own fall and catch JD in the process. My mind races, races, races at night. I have no one to talk to or ask questions to. I witness miraculous things daily--JD taking his pajamas off, for one, but I have no one to squeal, "Look, look!" while I point to JD with my camera in hand--I share these milestones with my son. It is enough and more...but I like Asha feel the unpredictable twinges of solitude and quiet and pressure to be on top all of the time because I have to be. It's enough to drive me to tears and sometimes it really does, but then I recover all over again--because I love my son. I love him tremendously and behind the occasional tear is 100 x in smiles and joy--an easy joy with no reason or force, just a peaceful full circle coming to all ends. It's seamless.
Do, do discuss.
So happy to share this starred review of the new book in today's KIRKUS:
A moving, wildly diverse collection showing how radically different familial configurations can work.
Prompted by her experiences growing up in a family "fragmented and haunted by unfulfilled longings," Walker (Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence, 2007, etc.) looks beyond her well-publicized estrangement from her mother, novelist Alice Walker, to the lives of other writers "searching for authenticity through experimentation" in their domestic situations. The essays she assembles smash class, race and gender stereotypes to collectively demonstrate the fluidity of the contemporary family unit. Resisting the traditional boundaries of coupledom, Jenny Block, on the one hand, celebrates the openness of what she calls a "polyamorous marriage" with her husband and her girlfriend. On the other hand, Judith Levine and her boyfriend, together for 17 years, never married for a number of practical and philosophic reasons. Writes Levine: "A marriage may or may not be a union of love. It is always a union of property...I'd like the state to get out of the sexual-licensing business altogether, actually, for couples gay, straight, bi, or none of the above." Essays by Dan Savage and Dawn Friedman lay bare the highs and lows of open adoption. Savage details the difficulty he and his partner have in deciding what to say to their adoptive son when his homeless, substance-abusing biological mother drops out of touch for more than a year: "Which two-by-four to hit him with? That his mother was in all likelihood dead? Or that she was out there somewhere but didn't care enough to come by or call?" Friedman, while admitting to occasional twinges of jealousy and guilt evoked by having her daughter's birth mother integrated into their lives, trumpets openness for her daughter's sake: "She will never have to wonder why her first mother chose adoption; she can ask her." Rebecca Barry closes the anthology with a frank, humorous exploration of how she and her sister ended up in couples therapy.
Eye-opening and sometimes shocking, as it brilliantly explodes traditional notions about the nuclear family.
(A star is assigned to books of unusual merit, determined by the editors of Kirkus Reviews.)
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