Thursday, October 30, 2008

mama/papa zinesters - want to raise some hell?!

grabbed from China (The Future Generation)'s livejournal. (I've been involved in Mamaphiles from the beginning):


I wanted to tell you about a project called Mamaphiles. Its started on the mamaphonic website, a site for writer and artist mamas, on the zine thread where mamas were listing there zines.

"What if we all did a zine together, kinda like a mama zine reader?" posted one zinester - stacey of Fertile Ground - way back whenever (I don't remember, I think in 2000) and about 32 other zinesters jumped in excited. The purpose of this project is also to be collaborative. In that, we are stronger, together - and all who participate (mothers or fathers, now with the last issue we are opened to papa zinesters) in writing an essay can participate as much or as little as they can/want. Jumping in with ideas, taking n a task: such as promotion, lay out, printing, editing, etc...

which is great! I love to lay out zines but am bad at promotion so my job was to lay it out. another mama used to zerox on the sly at her office, now we have a new contributor whose collective owns a zeroxing machine, and she is going to do it and is interested in lay out. I said I would write and do outreach, looking towards newer mama zine writers I have met this year - to see if they would like to participate!

Another beauty of this project, is that we pick a theme - a very loose open theme - and see how each one of us interperates that theme. It comes out pretty cool! and no one is turned away, you want to be in, your in - but we have learned also, to have a word limit.

so we work together on this - and it becomes whatever those who make it, make it!

Interest, as well as general activity levels over at mamaphonic, is down - but some of the contributors that joined last year, are already ready to make another! Enthuisiasm is re-emerging. . .

Brainstorming on a theme - has began. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Would you like to join in? I hope so! Like I say, as little or as much as you can. I know many parents are busy. If you would like to only contribute an essay that too, would be so wonderful! I think there are more parent zinesters to ask and reach out too. The more the better!

creating this kind of "reader" with bios in the back, also is a good networking tool and a good way a new parent or interested person can see many diverse and various publications at once.

The new theme idea that has the most interest level, so far, is "Raising Hell" I kind of like it. Might be just the ticket! We need something more spicy, the last issue "coming home" was very nesty.

and please, if you may, spread the word to all parent zinesters you know - that they are invited (+ greatly happily welcome!) to participate

organization takes place on and here is the thread about planning theme - the first step - next will come formulating the call for submissions. this is a good time to jump in, at the beggining! (but things are rolling along, so I am not sure where we will be if this has been forwarded to you and took a week or so check in and see)

and for more info on this project:

thanx and best wishes,

p.s. - also all ideas on place to put the call for submissions up are welcome too. like I say, my (self apointed) job this go around, is more outreach for newer members who may not have heard of this project before.

please feel free to forward this!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

mules and mamas

when i found out i was pregnant i was a bit surprised. my friends were flabbergasted (i love anglosaxon language for words like flabbergasted). most of them seemed surprised that i would 1) let myself get pregnant 2) be happy about it 3) not be considering abortion....
now i am a pro-choice girl. being pregnant solidified my pro-choice, reproductive justice dedication, but i wanted to be a mother so bad, the rest of that was like background noise.

i was a journalist/activist in the west bank. i hung out with the 'cool kids'. we would get together in the evening with beers and wine and green and tell jokes about stupid soldiers at checkpoints and the best beer in palestine and geo-politics and such. our lives were so cool and exciting and glamorous and dangerous (sic). or at least that is what i was told. so my increasingly cynical-laced joy at the wonders of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, seemed a bit out of place in that crowd.

i was kinda thrown off kilter by their response. i had images of a woman with a baby on her back and a rifle in her hand striding across the desert. okay, i wasnt planning to carry a rifle. replace the rifle with a black power fist, or a video camera. i imagined sitting on hills doing look-out, while my kid played in the scraggy bushes, me sending messages down to the main group via cell phone.
i imagined sitting in rooms with women, their headscarves now resting on their shoulders like a shawl, their babies falling to sleep on blankets curled up to the walls, while we giggled and told stories and figured out strategy for the next day.

or we could hire a babysitter. something.

2 1/2 years later i will be returning to the west bank. a lot has happened since the last time i was there. and not much for the better. but a couple of my friends have babies of their own.
sometimes people ask if i am scared for her well-being living in such a dangerous place. no, not really. well, there were two shootings last weekend in our neighborhood here in chicago. the west bank was not really more dangerous.

if i ever get to live out my imaginings of west bank mother journalist/activist, it will probably not feel so exuberiant (sp?) or glamorous or clear. it will probably feel a bit inconvenient and murky and silly. a bit like a mule. the best i am hoping for is--fun. that is the aim everyday. i guess it will feel like any other flabbergasting motherhood day.

wherever you go there you are.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

REALLY alarmed

from stinky kinky mama

I am REALLY alarmed at the pervasiveness of vaccine propaganda. Marc and I have buried ourselves in vaccine research that leaves our brains sputtering and hissing. I’m collecting “legal proof” of my research and notarizing copies of our birth plan and exemptions so I don’t get slapped with some child neglect charge.

We also stole our neighbors’ dog. They had him in a dark shed with no food or water and he was crying for two days straight. He stopped crying as soon as I stepped in front of the shed and I couldn’t leave him there. When I stuck my hand into the shed, he was so beside himself that there was company that he kept toppling over his own feet. Turns out he has roundworm and ringworm. We got him some dewormer at the vet and some antifungal soap and ointment at HEB. Stache is sleeping at my parents’ house for a few nights until we disinfect our house and treat the puppy. He’s only 8wks old! He looks like a pit bull, but kind of like a bulldog too. He’s just too young to know. But he is definitely a puppy. He chews on everything and his pee puddles are the size of a silver dollar. Hahaha just what we need at this high-stress time! Seriously, we’re trying to buy all the baby’s stuff and get the vaccination research done in time for the baby’s arrival. A puppy is not on the agenda. But he has encouraged us to take it easy and laugh.

So, free puppy who will be at tallest 21inches (according to the vet) and may be at least half pit bull. Still too young to have been too traumatized by his alone time and very, very alert. We’ve been feeding him garlic and unfluoridated water to help his immune system recover fully. :D

Friday, October 17, 2008

no poem today

originally posted here

no, no poem today
because I slept
in the back of the car
with cool breeze coming in
and Winter playing with sticks
next to me.
no poem because
i sat outside
and watched her
build houses with
twigs, as we moved
from shade to shade
under the trees
instead of a poem,
i left coffee water
in my plants
rearranged the dollar store
pots River and Winter
bought me for my birthday
in lieu of a poem,
i divided the cactus
moving the babies into
pots of their own.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

a tale of two events

A few years ago, my 3-year-old daughter Siu Loong and I were hanging out with another three-year-old and her mother. My friend was planning to attend an event at the local radical bookstore later that evening. Sure that Siu Loong wouldn’t sit quietly through a slideshow about political movements in Argentina, I had not been planning to go.

My friend kept trying to convince me to go. She pointed out that the girls were having a great time together and that, between the two of us, we could tagteam dealing with them.

I finally agreed.

When the slideshow started, my friend pulled Siu Loong on her lap and absent-mindedly starting bouncing her. “Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!” my daughter chanted happily.

The presenter stopped, looked at us and said, “I can’t concentrate. That’s really distracting.” I started to take Siu Loong outside; she began wailing because she wanted to stay with her friend; her friend didn’t want to leave and, to top it off, the girls had scattered their belongings throughout the store, making it impossible to grab our stuff to make a quick exit.

I ended up sitting outside the bookstore feeling humiliated, ostracized and stupid for letting myself get talked into the situation. I felt unsupported by the other mama, who, despite her earlier arguments, had said nothing.

I didn’t attend an event there for the next three years.

This past month, I organized a panel about incarcerated women at that same bookstore. Even though my daughter, now 7 ½, can read a book through any event I drag her to, I’ve never forgotten that feeling and so decided to arrange childcare, a first for that particular venue. Two volunteers with Regeneracion, the local radical childcare collective, agreed to hang out with the kids during the event.

Two other girls showed up with their mothers. The childcare providers took them to the playground, then stayed with them outside where the girls held an imaginary dinner party while the grown-ups inside talked about abuse in women’s prisons, the companies that profit from the soaring rates of incarceration, and work being done—both inside and out—to challenge and change these realities.

Although we didn’t manage to challenge or change any aspect of women’s incarceration that night, by providing childcare we did manage to change the reality that, for many mothers, attending a social justice event is still not possible.