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IMOW - Trailblazing: The Women of Nepal's Trekking Industry (24 min)

Hey everybody!

Here is one of my favorite Third Wave or "young feminist" sites: the Imagining Ourselves Project. They are having an on-line film festival, one film for each day of the month.

There are so many great, inspiring films. Check this one out about a women's trekking company in Nepal.

IMOW - Trailblazing: The Women of Nepal's Trekking Industry (24 min)

Happy Tuesday!

Rebecca
October 16th, 2007

Nina Simone - Ain't Got No...I've Got Life

The inimitable Nina Simone...

October 13th, 2007

Burma Emergency Town Hall

October 9th, 2007

Come to Cassis!

Hey everyone,

I'm thrilled to invite you to what may be one of the greatest writing workshops ever! I'm very excited to be teaching this one. The south of France is one of my all-time favorite places, and the Camargo Foundation is an institution I've admired for some time. The faculty is outstanding, and, well, what can I say? Fun and edification will be had by all.

Please come read and write with me! RSVP immediately.

I've got lots to report, but I'm up late doing an interview with Marie Claire Italia, and I've promised it to them before end of business in Rome, which is in fifteen minutes.

Speaking of Marie Claire, check out my essay and pic in this month's issue. For those of you with kids and no time to waste searching through a pile of mags at the doctor's office, Jennifer Garner is on the cover. My editor, Ying Chu, did an amazing job editing the section. It's all about the ways people alter themselves in the name of beauty, and what it takes to love the skin you're in.

Peace and love forever and ever,
Rebecca
September 26th, 2007

Obsessions of the Day

Hi,

I have no idea if anyone will ever read my blogs, but I'm now inspired to write at least once a day. Am I getting the blogging bug?

So my fixations today include finishing a piece for the UK Guardian about my favorite feminist books (I'll post when I'm finished), making the perfect chocolate protein smoothie, and being amazed that my son actually played by himself in his room this morning until 10 am!

In the outside world, I've been seduced by a few items: I got a response to my last post from Jennifer James and went to one of her several blogs, Breastfeeding for Black Moms. LOVE IT! Check out her dead-on post about the problematic logo for Mom's Rising.

Item number two: John Patrick's Organic clothing line. Beautiful, deceptively simple clothes with an ethical evolution. I happened upon this incredibly soft, wearable little dress and fell in love. I wrote JP a note and he wrote back from the jungle where he is supporting organic cotton farmers. Check out this interview.

Number three: this Columbia Business School interview with Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson, who has had his hand in more internet endeavors than you can shake a adapter cord at. He's talking about Web 2.0 and the future of the internet. Food for thought as we move into the next stage of what this thing called the internet can do for us.

That's it for today. Hope everyone is happy, eating organic fruit, and planning for the future!

Peace and love for ever and ever,

Rebecca
September 9th, 2007

Little Bear

Mommy Update:

The TV choices for the under three set in our house are limited to Handy Manny, Caillou, and Little Bear, and of the three Little Bear is def my go-to show. Even though I feel mommy-guilt about putting Tenzin in front of the TV, sometimes I just have to get a break, and that's when I offer up the on-demand episodes of Little Bear. I always get an ecstatic reaction. Tenzin wants to know if he can watch Little Bear in bed, if he can have grape juice and a snack while watching, and whether one, two, or all three of his piggies can watch with him.

I say yes to all, grateful that he's not begging for Handy Manny, a good enough show that I like more than most (it's bilingual!), but sometimes no matter how smart and nice and great at fixing things Handy Manny is, the show still seems to rely on the noble savage trope a bit too much. And then there's the white guy on Handy Manny, Mr. Lophart, a caricature of the uptight white person and the butt of all of the jokes in each episode. It's some kind of strange revenge/reversal thing in which the white guy always looks like an idiot. Not so into that.

But even that's better than Caillou, the PBS show that makes me NUTS. Tenzin loves it but the kid is kind of whiny, the mom wears some kind of shapeless sack, and no matter what Caillou does --drop his sister, kick the dog, scream at the top of his lungs at his parents (okay I'm exaggerating)--his mom and dad just say, Oh Caillou, you're so silly. It's great that Caillou has a black friend, Clementine, and a deaf friend who comes over to play, but on the holiday episode I put on for Tenzin the other day, there were cursory cuts to Clementine celebrating Kwanzaa, and another kid celebrating Chanukah, and then it was all Santa, complete with snow and chimneys and of course, the ultimate lure: PRESENTS. There's nothing wrong with Christmas, but if Tenzin wants to be Christian when he grows up, I'd rather it not be because he wants presents at Christmas like "all the other kids".

Now Little Bear is, in my humble opinion, a gem of a show. It's about a bear, his immediate bear family, and all of his animal friends, including duck, owl, hen, and my personal favorite, Frog, who is Buddha'd out on his lily pad and says Om a lot. The show is paced pretty slow, and the animals are all nice and treat each other with respect. There's not a lot conflict and story lines revolve around something imaginative and benign, like Little Bear trying to find a dandelion fluff so he can make a wish (he wishes for a piece of chocolate cake), and Duck losing her quack and trying to find it all over the forest.

But the best indication of the show's value is Tenzin's face after he's seen it. He comes running to me, giggling and happy. Can I watch another Little Bear, he asks, looking into my eyes with his mischievous grin. Please?

What are your kids watching, and what do you think about it?

Rebecca
September 7th, 2007

Things I Love

Well, since I'm getting serious about blogging and am always at a loss for things to blog about, a friend this morning told me that since I'm such a freak about things being just so, I should do one or two blogs a week featuring a thing I love/crave/need. Sounds good, right?

Well, I have about thirty seconds before I fall out from playground-induced exhaustion, so today I'm featuring this incredible stuff called FIT.

I'm the one who is always complaining about the wax and pesticides on everything, and so to me this is like, I don't know, the equivalent of a big diamond ring or something.

Now that I've found FIT, I spray it on everything, including blueberries and kale, even though it's kind of awkward. This morning, I sprayed it on my Asian pear, which instantly became soft, clean and infinitely more eater-friendly.

FIT. Get it. Try it. It's a thing I love.

What do you love?

Rebecca
September 6th, 2007

Getting (more) serious about blogging

Okay, well. I've been reading blogs for the last three hours, which means that either the baby is napping or it's four in the morning. 4:15 am to be exact.

I know I say this every six months or so, but I can't believe how MANY blogs there are, especially about motherhood and womanhood and sex and sexuality and, well, I guess anything you're looking for. And what I can't believe even more is how much blog-surfing is like going fishing in the universal ocean, or shopping at the Barney's Warehouse sale. You start one place not knowing where you're going or what you need, and then you end up somewhere absolutely essential and feel so grateful you made the trip.

Tonight I started at mamazine and from there went to hipmama which of course led me to ArielGore, who just had a baby boy after at least a decade and a half of writing about her first baby, Maia. Then I found the blog of Gayle Brandeis, which included not only an important article about the writer Taslima NasrinGrace Paley poem.I was glad to find the poem, because Grace just died and I already miss her. I saw her last at a reading from Black, White and Jewish during a residency at Dartmouth; I remember that it was cold, and that her presence warmed me tremendously.

There were many others blogs along the way, like Object, that spoke to me, but I think for tonight, I was supposed to find Grace and say goodbye to her myself, in the quiet space of night-time tapping and tired-mama dreaming.

Goodbye Grace.

With love and gratitude,

Rebecca

being attacked, but a beautiful, haunting, resonant

September 3rd, 2007

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