Can I tell you a story about how some essays come into being?
I first wrote this piece, about my grandfather’s death and the secret I didn’t know about his work and his life, in college, oh, 20+ years ago. I wrote it as fiction, because it was a fiction-writing class and I didn’t know that I wasn’t really a fiction writer and I figured, what the hell? Who will know this is all true?
Over a decade later, I resurrected it for a workshop in graduate school, this time in its proper memoir form. Then, a few months ago, I decided to take a look at it again, make a few more changes, and send it off.
So what you’re reading here — or what you will read here, please and thank you so much! — is a piece that started in 1999 and is now seeing the light of day in 2019. Sometimes this is how it goes.
What now feels like a gazillion and a a half years ago, I gave birth to a baby girl in Vienna, Austria. (That’s her about to fall out of the sandpit.)
A few weeks ago, the lovely and brilliant writers/podcasters Edan Lepucki and Amelia Morris interviewed me about the joys and travails of having a baby abroad for their fantastic podcast, Mom Rage. We talked about everything from figuring out how to find a doctor in a foreign country, to the fantastic maternity leave policies, to the Austrians’ very entrenched ideas about motherhood. It was a total joy to chat with them. You can listen here. (Interview starts around 29:00, but do listen to it all; their banter at the beginning is always one of my favorite parts.)
If you listen along and think, I must move to Vienna and have a baby! (I do recommend it), here are a few essays I’ve written on the subject (not sure whether they will convince or dissuade you, but anyway, you decide):
Here’s something no one tells you before you move to Los Angeles: you will no longer need clothing.
Let me rephrase: you will no longer need real clothing. When I moved to L.A. two years ago I was shocked to discover that grown women wore leggings everywhere — not just to and from yoga or the gym, or even just to walk their dogs, but IRL, as they say: to preschool drop off and pick-up; to the grocery store; to casual weekend gatherings; to coffee shops and restaurants. And I’m not talking about leggings with long blouses and knee-high leather boots. I’m talking about leggings as pants. With, like, a T-shirt and flip-flops.
I wrote about lipstick for a series in The Cut called “Sealed with a Kiss.” So delightful in these dark times! Read on here.