I immersed myself in The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood over the course of a couple days, simultaneously gobbling and savouring, and here is what I have to say: I am so excited to be part of something so damn excellent. This book is excellent.
In fact, excited isn’t the word—the book is so excellent that I’ve been unable to pinpoint an accurate adjective for how I feel about my inclusion in it. Thrilled, delighted, proud, honoured—these don't do justice, though they're all true. Lucky. Full. Something. I am something to be part of a project that is so excellent. The essays, individually and collectively, capture the complexity, and that is what is stunning and gratifying. At last, the complexity of motherhood has been captured. It feels like an achievement, a feat, a milestone. Like landing on the moon, or summiting Everest. The complexity of motherhood has been captured! Let's plant a flag! Let's throw a party!
The party is April 15 at 6pm at Ben McNally Books in Toronto. If you are a woman, or a man, or interested in mothering, or in not-mothering, and in hearing this topic engaged with all its nuance, please do come. I will be reading, alongside some stellar writers in whose company I am thrilled, delighted, proud, honoured, lucky to be.
This company of writers (in the book, that is--not all will be at the launch) comprises Heather Birrell, Julie Booker, Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, Kerry Clare, Myrl Coulter, Christa Couture, Nancy Jo Cullen, Marita Dachsel, Nicole Dixon, Ariel Gordon, Amy Lavender Harris, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Deanna McFadden, Maria Meindl, Saleema Nawaz, Susan Olding, Alison Pick, Kerry Ryan, Carrie Snyder, Patricia Storms, Sarah Yi-mei Tsiang, Priscila Uppal, Julia Zarankin, and Michele Landsberg.
I was frustrated from the beginning of my experience of motherhood (which began long before I was actually a mother) by the one-noted-ness around discussions of it. It was to essay anthologies that I turned, desperate for some nuanced and in-depth exploration of what exactly being a mother means, and also what choosing not to be a mother means, because I was on the fence and could see myself on either road. It was an essay anthology, in fact, that was instrumental in my ultimate decision to take that forbidding fork in the road--an essay by Susan Olding, who also has an essay in The M Word, just a few pages from mine. I love the full circle of this.
And the truly great thing is that this book isn't only capturing the complexity of motherhood as it relates to giving birth and raising children. It's the complexity of being a female person, ie. a person who must, even if she isn't a mother, make a decision about this topic, think deeply about it, deal with the situations and repercussions that arise from it. It's a book for us all.