When my daughter Kerala was 6, she announced to her friends that she wanted to be an author. One of them asked her, “Do you think you can write that small?”
At the end of her college years, she won a writing contest and the prize was publication of her first novel “How Things Break.” My own opinion was that it was an okay starting novel and the world seemed to agree, as it stayed far away from the New York Times bestsellers list. She did co-start a magazine and wrote wonderful editorials, but career, marriage and family steered her away from writing at the center of her life.
But as the kids grew older and more independent, she began writing again and this time, with a lot of life experience to write about— raising kids in a culture unfriendly to families, the trials of her black husband in a white racist society, the hopes and fears for her mixed-race children, her increasing alarm about climate change and such. As she herself describes it:
“I write about motherhood, feminism, race, and the end of the world. Aiming to make you laugh, cry, and want to punch something all at once.”
Her style is between David Sedaris and Anne Lamont, but with her own indisputable voice and subject matter. She found the perfect venue in an online publication called Medium.com and her plan is to amass enough followers to convince a publisher to put her growing collection of essays between two covers.
In her latest piece, I make a cameo appearance.
My father is worried about me. He thinks I’m being fatalistic. Over the summer, we watched a Zoom lecture by Michael Meade called Climate Change and Mythic Imagination. Meade talked about the true meaning of “apocalypse,” how it has come to be understood only as The End, whereas it’s also about restoration and renewal.
I appreciate the message. I also can’t help but think that it’s quite a bit easier for my father and Michael Meade to take comfort in our mythic imagination. They are both over 70 years old.
So in my next post, I want to answer my daughter. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s the whole piece.