Well, the impassioned discussion on the Wall Street Journal excerpt of my book continues. Today I'll be doing a live chat on the site and taking reader's questions. Please come and join the conversation on Wednesday the 29th at 2 p.m. at www. wsj.com Here's the link, but you might have to cut and paste it. Technical difficulties on my end!
I was at the Shoprite last week buying huge quantities of pork and sweet potatoes because I had volunteered to cook dinner for a group of 18 homeless folks -it's part of an interfaith program that shelters people during the coldest winter months. Because I am so compulsive, I checked my emails on the check-out line and got the news that the Wall Street Journal wanted to run an excerpt from The Mama's Boy Myth. This was huge and amazing news. And oh yes, they needed the article by noon the next day.
The next 24 hour were a blur, involving writing, editing, potato mashing, meat roasting (someone else was bringing the salad and bread), and a quick trip into Manhattan to film a video clip to accompany the article.
Then the real craziness began -seeing the article appear, watching the response as it climbed up the most emailed, viewed and read list. The comments - well, all I can say is that evidently I hit a nerve. Geez. At the end of the book I suggest that I wanted to get a conversation going about this topic. Didn't realize it would be quite such an impassioned one!
It turns out that Stephen Colbert was visiting his ailing 91-year-old mother. The two, by all reports, are very close. And his mother seems to be on the mend. During last night's show, Colbert wrapped up with, "Oh, and one more thing. Evidently having 11 children makes you tough as nails. Confidential to a lovely lady," following with a small salute.
Another boy who proudly and publicly loves his mama. And who seems to be doing pretty well.
Here's a nice way to start my week. Check out this opening of a blog post from the Tampa Bay Times:
"It's rare that the mere title of a book gets me to exclaim, "Finally!" but that's what I muttered under my breath when I arrived this morning and found this from our book editor awaiting my perusal: The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger written byNew York Times contributor Kate Stone Lombardi."
Yea! I remember all the back-and-forth that went on about what the title of the book should be. At one point it was "Oedipus Wrecks." At another it was "Mothers and Sons." "The Mama's Boy Myth" was once the title of chapter one. So this opening sentence, along with a really nice blog post about the book, really made my day!
-Lin Chu A Muen, grandmother of the (lately extraorinary) New York Knick Jeremy Lin
Let's see if I can make this connection: George loves NPR. I am booked to do an interview about the book on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. (Live interview on the pub date, March 15 - yikes!) Therefore, George loves me!
This is SO few degrees of separation.
At least that's how NYT media columnist David Carr describes a tweet. Like so many others, I was offended by Roland Martin's homophobic tweets during the Super Bowl. At one point he wrote: "If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!#superbowl." Referring to a guy dressed in pink, he wrote, "Who the hell was that New England Patriot that just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass."
Sigh. I actually didn't follow his tweets live, but read about them afterwards and here I am, perpetuating their after-life. Lots of on-going handwring on whether or not it was right for CNN to suspend Martin for what he wrote. But however you feel about journalistic freedom, Twitter, the unedited thoughts, and the like, it's just so discouraging to hear these nasty homophobic comments spewed out. No wonder so many people - both young and old - feel unsafe.
This is an amazing experience for a first-time author. Just seeing everything pulled together - you know how many drafts of each chapter there were, you know how long it took you to track down that one study you refer to in Chapter 4, you know there are piles and piles of manilla folders in your office, electronic files on your computer - but there it sits on my family room table, all pulled together.
I feel like I should send out a birth announcement. It's a book!
Eli Manning isn't the only New York Giant who is close to his mama. Yesterday I was reading about Mario Manningham and his mother. Mario - for that tiny percentage of you who missed the Super Bowl on Sunday -came up with an amazing 38-yard catch in the fourth quarter, managing to keep both feet inbounds though he was impossibly close to the sideline, and help propel his team toward victory.
Manningham had been having a tough season and was often frustrated. His mother, Marion, counseled him to bite his tongue and be patient. The ball would come to him, she advised him. He followed his mother's advice, and on Sunday, Marion Manningham was wearing her son's #82 jersey while she watched confetti rain down on her victorious son and his teammates. Later she told the reporter about how she raised Mario, insisting he finish his homework and come inside once the the street lamps came on. Here's the end of the piece, from the NYT, describing the post-Super Bowl victory scene:
"A large crowd gathered around his podium, reporters stacked behind each other, five, six, seven deep. He took no fewer than 20 questions about the catch. He answered all happily, his feet - and his catch - frozen in time, his mom behind him, same as always."
Whenever the phrase "mother-son bonding" turns up in a national newspaper these days, I take notice. This one jumped out at me from an article headlined "My Sons, the Sous-Chefs" which ran on the cover of yesterday's NYT Dining section. The author writes about handing over responsibility for one family meal a week to her boys, ages 14 and 10.
I liked the article as much for what it didn't say as what it did. It didn't talk about boys cooking as if it was a novelty. It didn't say that these guys would grow up to be great husbands. It didn't apologize for the fact that a working woman shouldn't have to come home and wait hand and foot on the rest of the family.
It was just business as usual of a mom teaching her kids some responsiblity (and not just cooking, but balanced, nutritious and tasty meals were expected). I asked myself if the Times would have featured this piece if it was a mother matter-of-factly expecting her daughters to help with the cooking. Probably not - I think it was the fact that they were guys which added to its perceived charm. But kudos for the author for not making that the point of the piece.