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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

« Morning chat with the voice in my head | Main | A long humorless screed about the evils of dessert. Get ready. »
Tuesday
Jan052010

Here again

You may have noticed that I am writing every day. I may or may not have made a New Year’s resolution to write a post first thing each weekday morning. Let’s none of us make too much of this, or I may get paralyzed from the pressure, the horrible pressure. Think of me like a frightened baby bird. Hold out your hand (palm up! PALM UP!), avert your eyes, remain quiet and still, and we’ll see how this goes.

Hey, have you picked up the January issue of Redbook yet? My first column is in there. I am quite pleased with it. The illustration was drawn by Victoria Roberts, the New Yorker cartoonist who, Scott observed, "makes everyone look like Cynthia Ozick.

I was going to write about something else, but now I'm completely entranced by the Cynthia Ozick interview, in the link above. (Have you guys ever read The Puttermesser Papers? If you haven’t, I recommend you get right on that.)

Let’s hear what she has to say about being called a woman writer, shall we?

People often ask how I can reject the phrase "woman writer" and not reject the phrase "Jewish writer" -- a preposterous question. "Jewish" is a category of civilization, culture, and intellect, and "woman" is a category of anatomy and physiology. It's rough thinking to confuse vast cultural and intellectual movements with the capacity to bear children.

Hmm, might one think believe "woman writer" is analogous to “mommy blogger”? MIGHT ONE? Discuss.

When asked what she thinks about not yet having her “breakout book”:

The whole concept of a "break out" book comes from a market mentality. It's an idea that has never occurred to me, and is nowhere in my frame of reference. I may be naive or old-fashioned, or a strong combination of both, but it seems to me that the promotional aspect of writing, though it may certainly affect the writer, doesn't belong to the writer. Someone has given me a gift subscription to Publishers Weekly; it reads like a Martian publication. All I care about is writing sentences.

Sing it, sister!

On the Internet:

My computer came with a modem, but it's under the dresser. I wrote a diary for Slate but had to trot over to the copy store early every morning to send it by fax because I don't have e-mail. I am very much an outsider to this technology, indifferent to it.

I was relieved to read this last part, because I was beginning to worry that she might stumble across my Cynthia Ozick/Joan Didion slash fiction. But it appears my secret remains safe. For now.

Reader Comments (20)

I am now much reassured about how 2010 will turn out. It looks like a banner year for me, what with getting to read a post from you daily, or most days (No pressure! I'm just excited)Thank you for turning me on to Cynthia Ozick. Even more excitement!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
I think you should keep writing about your adventures in sugarless land! I found that very inspirational, and true from my past experience. I'm back in the sugarless boat with you, so write about what you're eating instead. Yogurt? Fruit? What is it that you eat at the end of a bad day? (Or maybe you drink, haha.)
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Very interesting. I do think there may be an argument for women possessing their own "civilization, culture, and intellect", but I have to agree with her idea that writers are not promoters. That's why Marketing and English/Writing are two entirely different majors at universities. (imho)
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky
p.s. Congratulations on your Redbook column!
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky
I remember reading this interview. . I gotta say though, it is such a HUGE HUGE luxury for an author to not have to worry about a "break out book." If you don't have to worry about having one. . it's clear you don't need one! Congrats on the column. I'll be sure to check it out.

Paulawww.adhocmom.com
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula
I think that being a woman goes beyond anatomy or the ability to bear children (which, incidentally, not every woman has). I can see bristling at the suggestion that to be a woman writer is somehow less than just being a writer; I'm not questioning that. However, there is something beautiful in the culture and norms of women when we gather together. And something equally fascinating to me about the culture and norms when I have the chance to observe a group of men. To say that it is just the same actually seems diminishing to me, since the male culture has dominated so many aspects of public life and not celebrating our distinct traits means accepting that male norm... Or something like that. My thoughts on the topic are still rough, but the bottom line is that my view of feminism is that I get to define who I am, as a person and a woman, and noone else. Which means, I can cook, knit and maybe even quit my professional job to raise children without feeling less of a feminist.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCara
I haven't picked up Redbook yet, but congratulations! What a fabulous gig.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUnplanned Cooking
Are you really going to be blogging everyday? Yay! Love reading your stuff. I am part of a project called Blog365 where a bunch of us are blogging everyday. Please email me if you'd like to join (and we'd love to have you!)

Jenniferallynn at gmail dot comhttp://www.thewilderones.com
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Allynn
I wholeheartedly approve of attempts to write every weekday. Yesterday's post inspired me to drink my coffee black this morning. Granted, it's "gourmet chocolate hazelnut" roast, but nonetheless. Also, I'm going to the gym after work! I have a big giant crush on 2010 right now, don't you?
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAubriane Taylor
Selfishly, I applaud your attempts at daily writing.

I have never cared for the term mommyblogger, but I began blogging before I reproduced, so I always failed to see the connection. At BlogHer 05, I was pregnant and neither HERE nor THERE so I simply introduced myself as an "identity blogger" and that has not really changed - two kids later. However, I think I am going to start calling myself a Boring Blogger. *YAWN* That describes my blog, in a nutshell. It is a " read at your own risk" kind of statement, no?

Congrats on the Redbook gig, too!
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercagey
What a fun interview - I love that you're planning on writing more often and don't mind one bit you turning us on to such treasures.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca at Alice
I can see the whole Culture of Womanhood side of this that another commenter brought up...however, personally, I think the term Woman Anything is somewhat -- if not offensive, exactly, then at least off-putting -- simply because nobody would ever say the same thing about a man. I don't hear anyone talking about Male Writers (or doctors, or scientists, or athletes, or whatever).

Also, this post-a-day plan? Consider this my enthusiastic (but totally non-threatening) PALM UP!!!
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B
Redbook column, how exciting!Love these quotes by Cynthia Ozick. I definitely see the term "women writers" as a positive thing. Equal but better than the traditional male dominated definition of writer. It doesn't offend me at all.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen@IslandRoar
......I would totally read any slash fiction you would write. I'M JUST SAYING.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
She just wants to write sentences?? I find that hard to believe. I know many writers, many of whom are in my immediate family, and I can say with certainty that they all would like to actually make a living at it. Understandably.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha
I just typed in your URL thinking, "There's no way she wrote again today, but wouldn't it be fun if she did! Maybe she did. I'll just check. I won't get my hopes up."

THEN YOU HAD WRITTEN! HOORAY!

No pressure, but I wanted to say thanks. I love your writing style and what you have to say.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Brilliant.
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl
I really like her comment on being a "woman writer." It suggests to me that being a "Jewish writer" is to embrace a self-proclaimed cultural identity, but to be a "woman writer" is to accept an identity handed to you. On the other hand, if I had the talent and organizational skills required to be a published writer, I would totally embrace being a "woman writer," because that is a cultural identity to me. I'm sure there are people who may incidentally be Jewish, but it's not fundamental to their identity, so they wouldn't like to be pegged as "Jewish writers." I actively seek out "mommy bloggers," because in my experience the people who identify themselves that way are people I can relate to. If people don't want that label, fine, and that's probably an indication that they're not going to be talking about the things that interest me most.

That was long. But mostly I wanted to say: Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing them, and I enjoy your writing, whatever you call yourself.
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKendra
Great post and I'm glad to know of a new (to me) author. I am also impressed with the fancy gray boxes behind the quotes! Very nice.
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaire

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