Gender-Bending Laughter

Yes, it is time for a new short story for those needing an August giggle amidst the unrelenting tedium of the 2016 election, or any of the other gloom and doom of the world.

So, hop on over to this month's edition of new humor magazine, "Intrinsick," to read my latest comic (and gender-bending) flash, "If I Was Your Girlfriend."  

(Warning:  no serious readers allowed.  For laughs only.)

Read the story HERE

Interview with Jane L. Rosen, author NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS

Today’s interview is with  authoress, Jane L. Rosen.  I gobbled up her delightful and funny new novel, NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS (and already several of my friends are doing likewise.)  It’s a novel in which nine women, as per the title, are linked through one perfect “little black dress.”  


A few words about her:
JANE L. ROSEN is an author and Huffington Post contributor. She lives in New York City and Fire Island with her husband and three daughters. She is the author of a young adult novel, The Thread, which she self-published. In addition to her writing, she is the cofounder of It's All Gravy, a web and app-based gifting company.


NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS has a lovely backstory involving the dress-maker, and his journey from Poland.  My Polish Jewish grandparents worked in the garment industry-- I’m wondering if yours did too, or was this pure fiction?  
Rosen: The backstory of Max and Dorothy Hammer is loosely based on a Great Aunt and Great Uncle of mine of Polish descent. In fact, every name used in Chapter One is from one of my relatives. I had family on both sides in the garment industry, mostly the coat market. I actually majored in fashion and textiles and worked in the coat market for my first five years out of college.


Your novel shows a respect for what style means in women’s lives, and how a dress can “make” a moment.  Are you stylish in real life?  Do you own a perfect little black dress?
Rosen: I have three grown daughters so between us there are a lot of outfit changes and the house can seem like a dressing room at Bloomingdale's! I do have a variety of great little black dresses and have been on the hunt for more of them ever since I got the fantastic news that my book was being published.


I loved the fact that NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS offered so many different happy endings for such varied women. Do you think there’s a “literary” bias against happy endings?
Rosen: I do think so. But that being said, I don’t care. Life is hard enough, a good book with a happy ending is a nice escape from the problems of the real world!  There is no bigger thrill for me than when someone says I made them laugh.


NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS has so many wonderful women.  Did you have a personal favorite among them?  Was there a story you wanted to pursue?
Rosen: I like all of the characters, with the exception of those not meant to be liked. My favorite characters are Ruthie, Tomás, and Natalie who all work in the dress department at Bloomingdale's.

There are lot of rules about what’s good writing and what’s bad.  Is there any writing rule that you secretly enjoy breaking?
Rosen: I enjoy breaking rules and I’m no different with my writing. I guess that’s where my fabulous editor Claudia Herr steps in, and my husband come to think of it! They both straighten things out for me when needed.


I’m always trying to discover new (or forgotten) writers.  Do you have suggestions for our readers looking for lighter stuff?
Rosen:  I always enjoy re-reading Philip Roth and Nora Ephron. Right now I have a paperback of The Knockoff co-written by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza in my beach bag.


Any new projects in the works that you’d like to share with our readers?
Rosen: Next up is the story of a spoiled but lovable Upper East Sider named Esmé Nash who spends one August squatting in her vacationing shrink’s apartment.

You can follow Jane at:


Blog


Twitter handle JANELROSEN1



It is still George Orwell's century

It's hard to escape George Orwell.  There's  "double-speak" everywhere I look, and I think of Orwell's warning:  that if language loses precision, we're on the road to being manipulated by it.  It's hard to advance freedom when we lack clarity.  

Cases in point: 

I am bored by the Hallmark-card "pro-life" vs. "pro-choice."  Everyone loves life, everyone loves choice, right?  But this one's about a particular choice- specifically the right to choose to abort an unwanted fetus. Call me pro-abortion, I won't mind.   

Let's stop arguing about "Black Lives Matter" vs. "All Lives Matter."  The former was meant to oppose the denigration of black lives versus others -- i.e, black lives matter as much as white lives.  A counter-punch to police bias. In this context, the otherwise anodyne "all lives matter" seems downright bizarre: does anyone think that cops are biased against whites?  

There's the Orwellian fight over how we label terrorism-- extremist, Islamic, Jihadist, whatever. Some argue that if you can't name the problem, you can't fight it.  Really?  As I write, our administration has bombing missions over Libya.  If you review the countries we've recently attacked, they're all in the Mideast, and they all are Muslim majority.  Would a different label change that?  Hmm, probably not.

But I think Republicans have a point about the immigration label-- whether we call those who move across borders without proper documents, "illegal"  vs  "undocumented."  If I drive my car without my license, it's called "illegal"  -- although, yes, I am driving "undocumented."  People think a term like "undocumented" is fishy.     

Freedom, Orwell says, "is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." If there's a ever a time that we needed journalists to be clear and spell out facts, it is now.  




No, this isn't Jane Austen's century

Quick question.  What do these writers have in common -- aside from the fact that they are all great, and all women?

 Jane Austen.  Willa Cather.  Katherine Mansfield. Carson McCullers. George Elliott.  Charlotte Bronte. Emily Bronte.  Eudora Welty.  Virginia Woolf.  Edith Wharton.  Sarah Orne Jewett.  Harper Lee.  Flannery O'Connor.  Iris Murdoch.  Oh, I could add more.  Deborah Eisenberg. Barbara Pym.

Image result for jane austenI'll stop there. Yup, you guessed it, they're all childless. Several were terrific when writing about mothers and kids.  No one calls them shallow.  No one calls them  "incomplete." 


But as actress Jennifer Aniston notes,  our culture's stuck in another century where women and kids are concerned.  Sure, the world's changed since Jane Austen wrote about the Bennett girls' dubious marriage prospects.  But women are expected to want the same things that Elizabeth did.  

Some of us didn't.   

This month, the U.K.'s Andrea Leadsom made the "child" issue front and center in her race with Theresa May to become the U.K.'s next Prime Minister.  To quote Ms. Leadsom:  

"I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn't have children so I don't want this to be 'Andrea has children, Theresa hasn't' because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. ...She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next."  

Wow is all I can sat.  So now I lack a stake in the future?  Apparently, if I don't have those nieces and nephews, I can just sit back and relax, and not give a damn.  If a man said that, we'd boo him off the stage. 

I'm thrilled that Ms. Leadsom was give a thumbs down.  (For the record, Ms. Leadsom doesn't trust male nannies either.)

The reality:  about one in five American women ends up childless (18% to be precise.)   We don't have kids for lots of reasons.   To start with, I did not think I'd make a great mom. And I never wanted kids.  I'm happy to pay taxes to support schools, and other people's kids, but no thanks otherwise.  

That's what we mean by choice.  More and more women across the globe are making that choice.  Deal with it.  

No, it's not Jane Austen's century

Quick question.  What do these writers have in common -- aside from the fact that they are all great, and all women?

Image result for jane austen Jane Austen.  Willa Cather.  Katherine Mansfield. Carson McCullers. George Elliott.  Charlotte Bronte. Emily Bronte.  Eudora Welty.  Virginia Woolf.  Edith Wharton.  Sarah Orne Jewett.  Harper Lee.  Flannery O'Connor.  Iris Murdoch.  Oh, I could add more.  Deborah Eisenberg. Barbara Pym.

I'll stop there. Yup, you guessed it, they're all childless. Several were terrific when writing about mothers and kids.  No one calls them shallow.  No one calls them  "incomplete." 


But as actress Jennifer Aniston notes,  our culture's stuck in another century where women and kids are concerned.  Sure, the world's changed since Jane Austen wrote about the Bennett girls' dubious marriage prospects.  But women are expected to want the same things that Elizabeth did.  

Some of us didn't.   

This month, the U.K.'s Andrea Leadsom made the "child" issue front and center in her race with Theresa May to become the U.K.'s next Prime Minister.  To quote Ms. Leadsom:

Yes. I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn't have children so I don't want this to be 'Andrea has children, Theresa hasn't' because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. ...She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next."  
Wow.  So now I lack a stake in the future?  Apparently, if I don't have those nieces and nephews, I can just sit back and relax, and not give a damn.  If a man said that, we'd boo him off the stage.  I'm thrilled that Ms. Leadsom was give a thumbs down.  (For the record, Ms. Leadsom doesn't trust male nannies either.)

The reality:  about one in five American women ends up childless (18% to be precise.)   We don't have kids for lots of reasons.   To start with, I did not think I'd make a great mom.  And I never wanted kids.  I'm happy to pay taxes to support schools, and other people's kids, but no thanks otherwise.  

That's what we mean by choice.  My happy ending looks different from Andrea's and other moms.  More and more women across the globe are making my choice.  Deal with it.
   




About Brexit and the virtues of uncertainty

I'm a market researcher by training-- and it's taught me many things that aren't strictly about research.  A respect for truth and precision. An acceptance of the limits of knowledge.  The need for intellectual modesty.  It taught to know when I do NOT know, and WHAT I do not know. So many times that I wish I'd known the answer, but I didn't-- better to admit that than to pretend.    

It taught me that complex problems never have simple answers-- just as complex characters never have simple motives.

We live in a world where most of us dwell among the unknown.  Physics, economics, geology, they're distant realms of knowledge, learned by a few "experts."   We're watching TV, and some folks, somewhere, are gazing at moons through telescopes or measuring climate change.

The problem is that schools and, to a different jobs, reward us for taking a stand.  We're forced to express strong opinions about diet, exercise, immigration, poverty, taxes, climate change, branding-- and so we pretend that we have a wealth of data to back us up (there's a poll, however flawed, for every topic to help.) We're swimming in oceans of opinion. 

Now, consider: Few Americans have relatives living in the U.K. Few of us travel there on a regular basis, and when we do, we stick to London and say, a few castles or picturesque villages.  We're hard pressed to name five cities outside of London, the prime minister of, say, Scotland or why David Cameron chose to have a referendum. We know even less about the E.U.-- what its member states pay, how those fees are calculated, or what restrictions are imposed on the member states.  OK, maybe you've read a bit in the past week, but before?
     
If we were given an exam on the U.K and the E.U., we'd flunk. But still, we broadcast our very strong opinions about Brexit.  We demand they vote again  (imagine if British citizens demanded the same of us!)

It may very well turn out that Britain regrets its exit, or that the E.U. implodes for other reasons (like the Greek bailout.)  Or it may work the other way.  I have faith in globalization and free trade, but those are abstract, economic concepts  removed from the fates of workers in the U.K.  I have no idea of how those men and women are faring.  But one thing I can promise-- I'll be learning more. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...