I want to understand the universal in my specifics and I want to understand when I’m mistakenly extending my experience to other people.
I was thinking on this after I read momartfully’s excellent single mom post:
Single Moms — Web Outcasts
And I think of it now and then specifically around an essay that was in (I think) the Guardian, which I can’t find anymore and it points out that all the books about motherhood are written by writers, which means that writing mothers dominate the cultural discussion about motherhood, kinda the way the blog world thinks every mommy blogger is writing blithely at home between loads of sparkling laundry. (Watch Punditmom — only partially successfully — try to make this point to the Wall Street Journal.)
I don’t really have a point except that I’m thinking about it and thinking, like I said, about how to express the universal from my specific and I think the only way to do that is to KNOW what’s specific, which isn’t always easy.
I’m filing this under writing because that’s how I’m thinking about it.
One Big Happy Family got a Kirkus starred review! Hooray! (I can’t wait to read the whole collection!) My essay got a call-out:
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.”
I don’t know if a call-out is any big deal but it’s nice that I got called out in both the Kirkus and the Publishers Weekly reviews because it makes me feel accomplished and I need all the ego-boosts I can get these days!
I got to be a judge at Power of the Pen again this year, which is a nice way to spend a rainy, dreary Saturday. There were fewer judges this time around because the date was moved due to last week’s blizzard so there were two of us judging each grade. That meant that each team read around 50 pieces across three prompts. This is how it works: The kids get a prompt and forty minutes to write to it. Within each group, judges choose the top one or two and send them on to us. There are seventeen groups so we get 17 to 34 stories to judge and we choose the best one. (It’s more complicated than that but that’s the gist of it.)
There are lots of awards I don’t understand but the award we judge is kind of a best in show. Those essays go on to compete, I believe, at the state level. The kids are all part of school teams so there are team awards and individual awards.
Reading the essays is a lot of fun although it can be a little tiring. By the end of the day, we were all pretty punchy. The best part is handing out the awards because there’s a lot of screaming and cheering and jumping up and down. I can’t help but get choked up and my face hurts from smiling so hard. When it comes to being a writing middle schooler, a little recognition goes a long way.
My essay, “Someone Else’s Shoes: How On-Blog Discourse Changed a Real Life Adoption” will appear in Mothering and Blogging: Practice and Theory to be published by Demeter Press spring 2009. This is a cleaned up and enlarged version of the presentation I gave on Shannon’s panel at the Philly adoption conference. All the edits are done and I just turned in my short bio but I kinda won’t believe it ’til I see it. (I’m superstitious about happy things!)
I know, I should be upset, should be wringing my hands but actually this article made me laugh: The hostile New Age takeover of yoga. – By Ron Rosenbaum – Slate Magazine
So just to clear things up for Ron (and other angry YJ subscribers):
- I don’t have a yoga practice but was interested in writing about this topic and YJ seemed like a good market for it.
- She says it was “never romantic,” and it clearly wasn’t — his part. It really wasn’t — on either side.
- So she Google-stalks him, or, as she puts it: “With the help of an Internet search engine, I tracked him down and sent an e-mail. I told him I was sorry and that I hoped we could talk.” Actually I think google-stalk was in my original draft. Heh.
- Somehow one wonders if she sent the article to him, perhaps with another poem. Yeah, I didn’t.
Anyway, I kinda got a kick out of being a symbol for all that is wrong with the Western take on yoga. Maybe I can get a t-shirt out of it!