Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What's a Smart Girl Like You Doing Writing a Book Like This?

I hope you're sitting down. I'm going to get really honest. But first, a true story.

Back when I was dating, a man once said to me, "You went to Smith College and Yale and you're a yoga teacher?" Like what's the point lady? Why spend all that time and money just to do something any old Jane could do? Haven't you been bred for something better?

And then, many years later, I wrote a book. A funny, honest book that can rightly be called (as my agent lovingly refers to such books), "literary lite," and what the press calls "yummy mummy" lit. So why did I go to Smith and Yale just to write a silly book? Shouldn't I be saving people's lives in some poor country or at the very least using my education to write something brilliant in order to win the Pulitzer Prize?

I'll tell you why. When I first became a mother, the books that saved my sanity were funny. My dear friend Elizabeth read the book and said, "This is a ministry to mothers." And that's what I want. A ministry of laughter to mothers. I used to think I'd write some great, deep, earth-shattering book. Instead, I wrote the book I wanted to read.

Isn't that what all the feminist fore-mothers really fought for? CHOICE? That we might carve out our lives with integrity, no matter how they look from the outside? I don't want to keep up with the Pulitzers. Or the Joneses. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my toddler.

And you know what else? I don't want him to grow up and outdistance my educational accomplishments or surpass my Adjusted Gross Income. I want him to grow up and outdistance my joy, surpass my level of happiness. And I wouldn't mind if he praised me either: "My mother is a very funny person." That's a hell of a lot better than being a very "famous" person, now isn't it? I mean, funny people are, well, funny. I hereby create a new category of literature: Funny Mummy lit. Now, please, I've coined it--give me the prize!

1 comment:

  1. As I tell my students all the time, it's not the end product that I worry about, what did you learn while creating it? (aka, How did you get to this?) How often can we apply this philosophy? Constantly?

    PS funny is well, FUN!