Shame is the haunting that’s hardest to scrub away.
It’s time to sign up for new online creative writing classes with Ariel Gore. Find out more and register at The Literary Kitchen.
The new arrivals drive Priuses and can be seen running fast back and forth, up and down the street carrying hand weights.
An old musician neighbor of mine yells out her window at them, “You can relax! You’ve already made it to the top!”
But they don’t seem to hear her.
I imagined my Gammie on the other end of the phone, her grey hair piled into a bun, a red silk scarf tied around it, her red-manicured nails clutching a Vodka tonic. Her skin was slightly darker than the rest of the women in our family, so she always joked about the milkman. “I can’t stand it,” she sighed now. “I’m the last Democrat in Orange County.”
I held the receiver away from my mouth so my Gammie wouldn’t hear the inhale and exhale of my cigarette.
“Darling,” she said. “You’re doing a marvelous job–as well as anyone could do–but children need fathers, don’t you agree?”
“The End of Eve had just about everything I ever want in a memoir: WTF plot events, almost-over-the-top characters that you never doubt are real, gorgeous and breathtaking moments of introspection, and wry humor.”
“How Ariel puts human tenderness on the page is an act of poetry damn close to sublime.”
“An experienced journalist and writer across genre, Gore’s prose is both eloquent and spare. Ultimately, The End of Eve is Gore’s story—an account of the imaginative strategies she employs to survive and create—in which she demonstrates how, much of the time, for her anyway, surviving and creating are one and the same.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
You can buy all of Ariel Gore’s books from your local independent bookseller or from Powell’s.
Or listen to the audio version–read by the author.
Wake up and write! Now you can subscribe to Ariel Gore’s School for Wayward Writers and get weekly writing prompts. You’ll get a new writing assignment / writing prompt emailed to you every Saturday morning. Easy and affordable way to keep your writing practice fresh. $5 a month. Cancel any time.
Ariel Gore’s darkly comic memoir, The End of Eve, just won a 2014 New Mexico – Arizona book award. You can get a signed copy right here. $16.95. FREE SHIPPING.
“It turns out that both life and art are balancing acts. In one as in the other, Gore seems to be saying that even as we acknowledge past traumas, we cannot let those wounds dictate our actions in the present. The End of Eve is a product of bravery, love, and hard-won wisdom. In sharing it, Ariel Gore invites her reader to bask in the light she has found.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
Issue #55 of Hip Mama magazine was on the verge of going to press when editor/publisher, Ariel Gore, posted the issue’s cover to her Facebook page. It pictures a woman in partial superhero costume breastfeeding her child and the tag line “No Supermoms Here.”
Social media users cheered the stunning self-portrait by Barcelona-based artist Ana Alvarez-Erreclade. The cover, designed by Hip Mama art director Maia Swift, was shared over a hundred times in less than 24 hours. But when some vendors got wind of the planned cover, they said they wouldn’t carry the image on their newsstands. Facebook censors soon joined in and began pulling the image from timelines. Complaints ranged from “nudity” to “open breastfeeding” to concerns about the age of the breastfeeding child (he’s four).
Photographer and subject Ana Alvarez-Erreclade suggested adding a red censorship dot to the cover, ironically drawing even more attention to the offending breasts.
Editor/publisher Ariel Gore refused to pull the cover or add the censor dot to all editions of the magazine, but contributors and editors agreed that a separate “newsstand edition” with the dot was better than suppression of the issue.
At press time, we have no idea whether vendors will carry the “newsstand edition” of Hip Mama.
In the updated issue of Hip Mama, Ana Alvarez-Errecalde responds to the controversy saying, in part, “Violence towards women begins with the repression of sexuality, the appropriation of childbirth, the interference with all vital cycles and the creation of manipulative roles. A negated mother will also negate her body and her presence to her children, so they will all ultimately conform to our unattended, unloved, and unnourished society.”
As Ana points out in the updated interview, right now this is about an image of an artist breastfeeding on the cover of a magazine, but moms face this everyday when we try to feed our children in restaurants or on airplanes or in other public places–we are asked to go into seclusion to feed our kids. This, while truly offensive sexist images are in our face daily in the name of “sex sells” and deeply disturbing and exploitative images of violence go unchecked in news media, marketing campaigns, and on social media.
To support Hip Mama and the uncensored artistic image we chose for the cover, subscribe to the magazine or order a single uncensored copy online: http://hipmamazine.com/subscribe
The magazine will be released on Mother’s Day.
SUBSCRIBE – $20 for 4 issues beginning with the UNCENSORED Spidey Mama Mother’s Day issue
My new memoir is out March 1 from Hawthorne Books. I hope you like it.
Or Why I’m Re-Launching a Paper Magazine When Everyone’s Crying that Print is Dead
I like the internet as much as the next blogger. I don’t think online media is making us any dumber than we already are. But the internet will never replace print media for me. I love the look of print. I love the feel of print. I love the smell of print. And I’m irritated by exaggerated reports about the death of print.
Brainless print publications that were only in business to chase advertising dollars might be dying a long-overdue death, but if I have anything to say about it, print itself lives.
I started my first print zine, Hip Mama, when I was in college. I passed it along a few years ago, but when I heard that the new publishers were on the brink of going completely digital, I dropped my other projects and decided to reclaim my magazine.
Because print’s not dead to me. None of us needs more screen time. We need tactile, homemade media we can hold in our hands–the kind of media that allows for rumination and slow-sprouting inspiration, not just quick comments and e-fights.
No, print’s not dead. To me, print will always mean life. Yep, I love print. Let me count the ways.
Print Gets Your Hands Dirty.
I’ve never had a traditional 9 to 5 job, but I’ve been working all of my life. I earned my first paychecks by folding and delivering the San Francisco Chronicle in the dark hours of morning. I landed the job when I was eight years old. And for the next six years, my hands were black with the ink of news and self-reliance.
Print Lets Me Unplug My Ego.
When I’m reading a great story online, I sometimes “share” it before I’ve even gotten to the end. My “friends”–many of whom I’ve never met–“like” it while I’m still reading. By the time I get to the last line I’ve already got a couple of comments complimenting me on my fine taste in stories. This makes me feel important and well-connected. Now, what was that great story about?
Print is Intimate.
All media is communication. But reading black marks on a page is the most intimate form of communication that exists. Social media never really mitigates my existential loneliness. But somehow even alone in a candle-lit cave in Tibet, if I’m reading the words of a dead feminist poet, there can be no isolation.
Print Remembers Where it Came From.
I have a lot of my mother’s books. I have some of my grandmother’s books. I even have a few of my great-grandmother’s books. I love it when I stumble on a particular passage that one of them has underlined. Sometime I recognize their shaky handwritten notes in the margins. My mother tended to underline in black. My grandmother preferred red. My great-grandmother used a pencil, but I’ll never erase her words.
Print Gets Warped and Dog-Eared.
A few years back, I edited and published an anthology called Portland Queer. I had it printed and bound old-school by at the local anarchist Eberhardt Press in Portland. It wouldn’t have cost me anything more to produce a digital edition, but I didn’t bother. The first printing of Portland Queer sold out within a few weeks. The collection won a LAMBDA Literary Award. But nothing filled my heart with quite the same pride as seeing a bathtub-warped and dog-eared copy of the book in someone’s bathroom in faraway Santa Fe. Yes, you can read print while you soak in the tub. (Trust me, it’s a very poor idea to take your iPhone into the bathtub).
Print is Sexy.
When my girlfriend’s in bed with her reading glasses on and a book in her hands– that’s sexy. When she’s sitting there squinting at her iPhone, well–not so much–then I just think she’s having an emotional affair on Facebook.
Print Survives the Apocalypse.
I was raised among hippies who perpetually insisted that the shit was about to hit the fan, man, the grid was going down, and civilization would soon collapse into unplugged utopian chaos. My apocalypse survival pack includes a Haruki Murakami book, a copy of the latest Lucky Peach magazine, and a mini letterpress set for emergency zine-making. When the world as we know it ends and we’re all refugees trudging toward an unknown future, I won’t be carrying my laptop.
Print Keeps Our Secrets.
If I read something online, my reading is tracked and tallied by the Big Brother internet brain that targets my tastes and sends ads chasing me from Google to Youtube and back again. But unless I order it from Amazon, hardly anyone can guess what I’m reading in print. And stealthy education, it turns out, is what books were invented for. Up until the third or fourth century A.D., Europeans had to unroll their books to read them. Scrolls evolved into folded pages. Eventually folded pages became gathered pages–what we now call books. Why books instead of scrolls? Early rebel Christians found them smaller and therefore more convenient when it came to keeping spiritual texts hidden from Roman authorities. Plans for the revolution will not go viral.
Print Lives. And Keeps on Living.
This isn’t the first time print media has been declared dead. Back in the ’60s, people without imagination were sure television spelled the end of print. My old journalism professor, Clay Felker, responded by reinventing the American magazine–not with short, ultra-visual media that imitated TV, but with long-narrative and novelistic-style writing that added layers of emotional depth to traditional reporting. He had no problem with the internet. He appreciated online media’s ability to focus on psychographic communities over demographic communities. But new media didn’t mean the death of the old–to each its own narrative style.
Print Doesn’t Get Jealous.
Now, before anyone accuses me of being a purist or a luddite, let me say again that I don’t hate the internet. Lucky for me, print doesn’t care if I watch TV or waste a night reading the Buzzfeed. In fact, I’m relying on new-fangled online crowdfunding at Kickstarter to make sure print lives. Click to it: http://kck.st/13xMuVp See? Print didn’t mind that at all.