2014 is over, long live 2014! Was it the BEST year I ever had? It couldn’t have been the WORST, but a lot of really crappy things happened.
In the BEST year file is the culmination of a lifelong dream and five years of hard work: the publication of my first book.
Too bad it had to happen when I was laid up with two additional, accidental firsts: my first broken bone and my first surgery.
Those were such painful WORSTS that I had to wonder if the universe had a message for me. I mean, neither Ariel Gore nor Cheryl Strayed broke their dominant wrists seven weeks before a book signing! Maybe this was evidence that I needed to use the laptop not for writing but for reposting videos of my daughter playing drums with the girls from rock camp:
OMG, right? She is the BEST. As a frustrated drummer myself it is a thrill every day to hear her practice and to remember how much fun she had being part of a band. Gina Schock and Georgia Hubley should watch their backs.
But as much as I love my daughter, her band wasn’t the BEST concert I saw this year. My sister and I got to relive our youth with the Replacements’ hometown reunion show in September.
Paul Westerberg looks tiny because I was not going to twiddle with the settings on my phone’s camera while I was watching a performance by the band I’ve loved dearly for close to thirty years. The Replacements are the BEST band in the world.*
One of the WORST things in life is definitely air travel, but the end result can be spectacular. In October, still with a cast on my wrist, I traveled with my family to the Grand Canyon.
This is probably the BEST place on earth to have a nice hike and contemplate your tininess, your absolute meaninglessness in the presence of millions of years of geologic time. You think to yourself, “is it really the WORST thing ever to have just 14 reviews of the book up on Amazon? Will it matter a hundred, or hell, even a dozen years from now?”
That’s the tricky thing about achieving a lifelong goal–the day after, you still have to get up and brush your own teeth. Everything around you looks the same; the world didn’t shift off its axis like you thought it would. If you let that get inside your head, it can be the WORST.
I should know.
So I come back to this photograph, one of the BEST I think I’ve ever taken, with three of the BEST, most adorable people on the planet:
2014 is over, long live 2014–the best and the worst.
*Anyone who complains about the lack of Bob Stinson, Chris Mars and/or Slim Dunlap is the WORST. Let it go.
Reasons I loathe Thanksgiving:
- The school holiday is unneccessarily long
- Christmas crap everywhere
- Start of six months of winter
Reasons I love Thanksgiving:
And the winner is: PIE! So I LOVE Thanksgiving!
I have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year, THE YEAR OF THE BOOK. I wrote a book and Medusa’s Muse published it. As a sweet friend reminded me, “it only took you five years of anguish and hard work!”
“Shannon!” you gasp, shocked to your liberal core. “You didn’t write a book to make money! You wrote a book to be FAMOUS!”
I kid, I kid.
I am VERY thankful that I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. How many people can say that? And in nine days I’ll be a guest in the lovely home of very dear friends, eating massive amounts of pie. Life is pretty damn good.
So why not share that good fortune with you? Enter below to win one of two copies I’m giving away as a THANK YOU to everyone who’s been a part of this arduous but amazing process. Winners can get their copies personalized for themselves or for the winter holiday gift recipient of their choice! And who wouldn’t love seeing The Radical Housewife under their tree/menorah/Festivus pole? Well, maybe not the great-aunt who belongs to Concerned Women for America: she might not like all the swearing!
I have a long list of people to thank for making last night’s print launch of The Radical Housewife such a success.
1. My orthopedic surgeon, who promised that putting a steel plate and seven screws in my right radius would make it possible for me to sign books seven weeks after shattering my wrist. He was right!
2. Magers & Quinn Booksellers for hosting the event. Signed copies are available at the store, so hurry to Uptown Minneapolis to get one!
4. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of my family.
5. Finally, I have to thank YOU, my blog readers over the years, for supporting and/or flaming me. You’ve been a silent partner in this Radical Housewife biz since it began in 2006. Now get out there and buy the damn book!
Jennifer Whalen, a Pennsylvania mother of three, is currently serving a prison sentence for the “crime” of obtaining misoprostol and mifeprestone for her 16-year-old daughter, who used the drug to induce a miscarriage in the first trimester of an unplanned pregnancy.
In more SEO-worthy terms, this woman in in jail for helping her daughter have an abortion.
Like Whalen, I have a daughter. If she needed me to help her end an unwanted pregnancy, I would do it. Here are the steps we would take:
1. We would make an appointment at the Planned Parenthood clinic that is less than five miles from our home.
Jennifer Whalen’s nearest abortion clinic was 75 miles away.
2. As required by Minnesota law, my husband and I would provide written documentation that we were told of our daughter’s decision to terminate her pregnancy at least 48 hours before the procedure.
Whalen “knew [her daughter’s father] would be upset,” so she didn’t tell him about the pregnancy.
3. 24 hours before the procedure, my daughter would be required to listen to a five minute phone call about fetal development, the medical risks of abortion, and the medical risks of continuing the pregnancy to term. This is part of Minnesota’s “Woman’s Right to Know” Act, which was passed in 2003 under the assumption that all sexually active women must be stupid.
I don’t know if Pennsylvania has a bullshit law like this, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
4. At no point would I be concerned about the time this would take, because all of the work I do for pay is done at home.
A personal-care aide at an assisted-living center for the elderly, Whalen worried that taking time off for travel and waiting periods would endanger her job.
5. If I were unable to drive my daughter to the clinic on appointment day, we would take a bus to the light rail line that stops just two blocks away.
At the time of her daughter’s pregnancy, the Whalen family also had only one car, which both parents juggled to get to work. When my family’s second car crapped out in 2010, we realized that abundant local transit options made purchasing a replacement unnecessary.
6. The fee for my daughter’s first trimester abortion would be covered by the health insurance provided by my husband’s employer, a Fortune 500 company.
Emily Bazelon’s article about the family states that the pregnant daughter was uninsured. I’m guessing that Jennifer and her other two daughters weren’t insured, either.
7. If there were complications, I could take my daughter to the hospital without fear of being reported to child protective services.
As I work on the promotional and marketing materials for my book The Radical Housewife, I find myself looking back to the very first days of my feminist reawakening, to the time when the birth of my children made real for me all of the feminist talking points I’d only read about or listened to on my old Free to Be…You and Me record. Having a kid not only puts your heart on the outside of your body, it puts your guts and soul out there too. It forces you to confront painful realities, one of which is the cold hard fact that when I put myself in Jennifer Whalen’s shoes, I can see myself doing the same thing for my daughter but never, EVER experiencing the same consequences.
That’s wrong. That’s why I can’t sit idly in my safe socioeconomic bubble and be content with the status quo.
This story illustrates perfectly why many abortion rights activists are no longer using the term “pro-choice.” What good does being “pro-choice” do to help women whose choices have been taken from them?
I stand for reproductive justice and for the release of Jennifer Whalen.
This post was originally published in 2012, but is being revised and reposted because not much has changed in the world of victim-blaming since then. My thoughts are with Janay Rice and her daughter Rayven, both of whom are in even graver danger today than they were a few months ago. If I were the praying kind, my knees would be worn out for them.
I love my feminist sisters and brothers, but they aren’t perfect. Feminists can be power trippers, backstabbers, and my-shit-don’t-stinkers as much as any other segment of the human population.
That said, there are certain ground rules that are accepted when one claims membership in The Feminist Club. They are so mind-numbingly obvious that I feel idiotic even replicating them, but here they are:
Feminists who’ve had abortions are not called “baby-killers.”
Feminists of color are not called racist slurs.
Feminists who are rape survivors are not called “sluts.”
Feminists who are LGBTQ are not called any homophobic/transphobic insults.
We gird ourselves daily against this disapprobation from the general population, so we should understand that when we are in a feminist space, we will be safe from this kind of garbage. It follows, then, that this is also a Feminist Club Ground Rule:
Feminists in abusive relationships are not called “weak,” and/or shamed publicly for what they are going through.
…why the glaring blind spot in regard to domestic violence victims? Why are women denied even the validation of the dangerous dynamics of her dilemma? Why do so many people still hold a view, as cloaked as it may be in paternal tones, that is more in sync with the perpetrator’s stance than with the victim’s?
I also spent a portion of my life believing in Santa Claus.
I think I wouldn’t…..but I don’t know for sure. If I were Penelope’s friend, though, I’d let her know that she had my support whenever and wherever she needed it. If she showed interest, I’d help her create a detailed and thorough safety plan. Penelope isn’t keeping her abuse a secret, obviously, but other women might want to, so I would be absolutely certain that I didn’t expose my friend’s situation without her permission. After all, the consequences of breaking the silence would be borne by my friend, not me.
F YOU NEED HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
2. Centipedes, or as they’re known in our house, “creepy crawlies”
3. Elliott starts college in four years and our measly savings will only pay for his first calculus textbook
5. Smiling with coffee grounds in my teeth
6. Holding a book event on October 9 in Minneapolis that no one attends but my mother
7. The check engine light
8. Any suggestion that “General Hospital” might be canceled
9. The steady erosion of reproductive health care access around the country
10. My children enduring physical and/or emotional harm
One thing I am NOT, repeat NOT afraid of is…..
….being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been one for 14 years. I’ve been a feminist even longer. Of course I write a little, including a new book that is now available in print from Powell’s or Amazon , but my primary gig since the year 2000 has been stay-at-home momming.
Feminism didn’t scare me away from anything.
I await the opportunity to appear on Fox & Friends to provide a thoughtful and only slightly vitriolic rebuttal. Booking agents should write theradicalhousewife at gmail dot com.
…which is available at these fine outlets, if you don’t have yours already:
So this happened:
I had my State Fair tickets, my kids’ school supplies, a bitchin’ book press release–I thought I had My. Shit. TOGETHER!
Then I stumbled in the dark and broke my right wrist. Yep, my dominant hand. I told the ER doc that I was signing books in about seven weeks and received a very pitying look. I plan on proving him wrong.
But to do that I need to cut waaaay back on my social media and marketing plans so I can heal. Will you help me out by talking up the book to your friends? By Tweeting about the book with the hashtag #RadicalHousewife? By pitching the book to your book club? By asking your favorite media outlet to review it?
Thanks fans, friends, feminists! I love you all (and that ain’t just the Vicodin talkin’).
…I guess I am.
The copy I’m reading is merely a proof, the kind of thing that authors parse for EVERY TINY LITTLE ERROR until it makes their publishers want to murder them, even from a thousand miles away. So far I’ve only found a couple, a few more glaring than others. I’m trying not to lie awake at night obsessing about them, instead reminding myself that to do so would be missing the forest for the trees, and in this case the forest is MY GODDAMN BOOK.
While print copies are not yet available, the ebook is ready for downloading on Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. And I’m already getting some reviews, including this absolutely bananas post from Renia Carsillo that includes her favorite quotes:
And NO we are not related–in fact, we have never met. That will change in the virtual realm when I join Renia and her readers in a Google hangout to talk about the book on August 22. I hope you’ll join us to dish on the book and all things feminist parenting.
Those who join my mailing list will be the first to get the scoop on when print copies are available, as well as where I’ll be doing my first signing. BIG HINT: it’s in Minneapolis, but it’s not at my house (thank gawd).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to
write edit read.