Friday, October 31, 2008

Reconsidering the Witch

Here on Halloween I offer you the words of my friend Erika Mailman. Read her insightful op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune today about how our hallmark Halloween version of the witch ignores the true history of witch persecution. Then you'll be inspired to purchase her amazing novel, The Witch's Trinity--in which a medevial German town facing starvation turns against its own. She's a fabulous writer and you won't be disappointed!

Ding-dong, the witch isn't dead
Chicago Tribune
By Erika Mailman
October 31, 2008

Last October, my neighbor stretched synthetic cobwebs among the branches of her tree. Against this creepy backdrop, she hung a broomstick and a badly made female figure, clearly a witch. The sight made me wince.

How did we evolve to find this display lightly amusing? Our forebears did hang women from trees. I imagine the devastation a time-traveler might feel as she realizes people crudely pantomime the appalling circumstances of her death each Halloween.

I may take this more personally than some. Townspeople accused my ancestor, Mary Bliss Parsons, of witchcraft in Massachusetts, three decades before the Salem hysteria. The court acquitted her, but neighbors pointed the finger at her again, 18 years later. I imagine she never relaxed in the interim. When the woman in the next cottage averts her eyes because she believes you know the devil, you can't exactly run over to borrow a cup of sugar...

Read the rest HERE.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The New Mealtime

A snapshot of me eating:

Baby dangling from a sling, papertowel balanced atop his protect him from my lasagne, which I ate in bites directly over his little noggin.

Easier than putting him down where he would complain.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Promo Time! Free copies of Write Free

To the first ten people out there who contact me to say they have purchased a copy of my book Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time, especially in light of National Novel Writing Month ( coming up, I will send you a free copy of Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life, my creativity guide with Rebecca Lawton. Just post a comment here that you bought the book and I'll send you my email so you can show me proof of purchase.

Stay tuned for more free books!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mysterious Noise

Either my neighbor has an obsessive compulsive disorder which causes him to reposition very large pieces of furniture, or he wears REALLY loud shoes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Virtual Motherhood

I wonder what would have become of me as a mother without the internet. The internet has saved my ass from many a panicked spiral in these months since our boy was born. From fears over poop (when will he??) to not eating long enough on the boob, to venting frustrations, the internet has been my savior, comforting friend and confidante.

Sadly, though, I realize that my virtual connection is in lieu of the community that we were originally designed to raise our children in. The more mothers I talk to who are, like me, stay-at-homers (even though many of us are also work-at-homers) claim that the hardest factor to deal with is the isolation. This doesn't mean I live in a rural village at the top of a mountain with no running water or electricity--it means that where, historically I would have had my sisters and cousins and aunts and grandmothers around raising their children too, now I must register with mother's groups, set up playdates and truck my offspring all over tarnation, wasting expensive gas, in order to connect up with other mothers. In order to get a break from what is, frankly, the motony of the early years.

I know that as mothers we aren't supposed to express anything but joy and awe for our children, but twenty-four hours with anyone will drive you a little nuts, let alone a being who speaks a foreign language, screams for everything he needs, is totally useless when it comes to household chores, poops his pants several times a day and doesn't care if it bleeds down his leg and onto yours and won't even remember doing so later on.

Since my community of mothers is spread far and wide I have to make do with online forums and websites where I can hear the stories of other parents and find validation. So hallelujah for that.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

My (In)expert Opinion

It's been mighty quiet around these parts, I know. And I'm sorry for all the leaf piles--mind your step. Believe it or not, the reason for my lack of blogging isn't purely that I have no time due to my new addition; I find that suddenly I question everything I want to write here. When I was writing my book Make a Scene I was willing to wear an "expert" suit for awhile--and I can put it on (though it fits kind of loosely) when I teach. But since becoming a mother, which teaches me daily about how little I know or am in control of, I also find that I no longer feel like an expert on writing. Oh I bring my experience to bear on my work, of course, but strangely my desire to sound important and all knowing has drained away.

And who wants to be lectured to anyway?

So that means these posts are going to start sounding more folksy and personal, I'm afraid. Maybe they always did...I know you're supposed to keep a professional blog if you've got published books but as my professional identity is shifting, I would rather write what's true and real: how I remember what it's like to carve out a sliver of time--a half hour here, twenty minutes there, to write. Before I was making time between a full time job and graduate school and a radio show, now it's the fulltime job of motherhood.