A feminist’s fear of the Family Meal

In a recent issue of Ms. Magazine, I saw a critique of the new foodie movements, the “go local” and “grow your own food”/”cook from scratch” movements; the critique essentially said that they are, in some ways, simply a backdoor to corralling women back into the kitchen. The way that we limit the concepts of family, motherhood, womanhood, and humanness disturb me, so it is always thrilling to find such a strong and thoughtful feminist voice as I have found in this blog. I hope you enjoy this commentary and that it makes you reconsider our mainstream social expectations of “family,” “family meals,” and “family time” as well as where those expectations come from.

(If you’re interested in the Ms. Magazine article, here’s their blurb on it and the link: Back to the Kitchen | BY MARIA MCGRATH
Today’s proponents of a natural-food “revolution” sometimes forget history — and return us to patriarchal fantasies of happy housewives at their hot stoves.“)

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As a child I always hated The Family Meal. Too many arbitrary rules and too much meat. I’d throw pieces of food under the table, thinking no one noticed, then watch as my brother got pudding while mine was withheld due to the scraps discovered around my chair.

Years later, anorexic, I avoided family meals altogether. I’d hide away with my homework while others ate, finally defrosting Lean Cuisine in the microwave at 10pm. It would take me an hour to eat the half-portion I dished out, then I’d retire to bed, barely having spoken to anyone.

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Long Time No Blog – Freelance & Books

Dear All,

It has been so long! I apologize. It’s been a bit wild here what with both my and my husband’s graduation from our master’s programs, our parents coming up to visit, our mad hunt for jobs, the beginning of another season of International Association for Research on Service-Learning & Community Engagement editorial fellow work, preparations for my brother moving in with us, the beginning of my new freelance writing career, and the fresh publishing of my first book, The Trickster in Ginsberg.

BUSY!

Of course, I can’t complain at all as these are all tremendously good things. Although, I will say that trying to carve out a real work schedule in the middle of all of this has been a larger challenge than I’d originally anticipated.

Freelance writing is still new to me in many respects, but I’m quickly finding that simply sitting down and going to work is the key. While I’ve been writing professionally for several years now, most of that has been either fiction or academic — neither of which quite hits the mark with most typical nonfiction magazine and popular writing. However, with a bit of help from a course with the LOFT Literary Center that gave me some terrific starting advice and practice, I really do believe I’m starting to get the hang of the constant pitch writing and the 750-2,500 word length essay format (a rather significant jump from academic book writing, let me tell you).

I’m currently working on a wide variety of articles and have already submitted several pitches/queries (some of which have received promising interest). My research is currently ranging from up-and-coming higher education programs to “monster” babies to childbirth to Baltimore burlesque shows.

This type of all-over-the-board research really just makes me feel alive and constantly excited about the world around me — I feel as though I’m seeing opportunities and questions in places that I wasn’t even aware of whilst still bogged down under the stress and aggravation of graduate school.

What turning points have you found in your writing career? Was there a time that you just suddenly knew you were in the right place for your career at the very right time? What do you find most challenging about writing professionally?

It’s Published!!

That’s right everyone, the long-awaited publishing of The Trickster in Ginsberg: A Critical Reading has finally happened! Orders are now being filled both in paperback and e-book.

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A lot has happened in the past few months. I’ve gotten married, graduated from my MA program (magna cum laude, I might add), had my first book published with an indie publisher (McFarland is awesome, by the way; their editors treat you with the utmost respect!), and have just recently left my job to both move (hopefully back to Texas or up to Baltimore) as well as to explore new possibilities. A lot of people might say that leaving a steady job where I get to work with people I like and am paid fairly well just to explore something new is crazy — especially right now — but this writer needs a change of scenery and I’m just fortunate enough to be able to risk it.

Mostly though, I’m simply feeling beat (pun definitely intended for my Beat Lovers out there). I’ve had massive headaches for almost a full week straight (and I almost never suffer headaches) and it feels as though I’ve been exhausted in a way I haven’t experienced in years. Perhaps it’s the let down from finally being free after all those years of higher education or maybe it’s D.C.’s burgeoning spring weather, but either way it’s keeping me hanging a bit low despite my excitement and glee.

For now, I’ve decided to focus primarily upon my husband, my freelance writing, and upon preparations for our impending move and then honeymoon to Norway. Can anyone say lutefisk? Anyway, I wish this post were a bit more reflective and in-depth but I feel so close to all of this still that I may just need to wait until I finish my cartwheels before I get anything substantive down regarding these experiences.

At any rate, as this blog started so that I might have a place to discuss and reflect upon the progress of my first book, I was too excited to wait until later to share the good news. And let me tell you, it feels absolutely delicious to be able to share here that the dream has finally come true.

Now, I suppose, onward, ho!