Monday, April 23, 2007

Mother-Talk, a mom's night out literary salon featuring Rachel Johnson

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I promised the 20 moms in attendance a night of good food, good friends, a bit of wine and an interesting discussion with a famous British writer, Rachel Johnson. Rachel has reported for the Financial Times and BBC and written for the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and many other publications. We gathered for a Mother-Talk to learn about her book Notting Hell as well as her life as a mother-writer.

It turns out she writes the same way that many of us less accomplished Yanks do. That is, she squeezes in time to write around carpools, errands, and, as she put it, "admin" work. I guess that's encouraging news. If she can write regular columns and her third novel without a proper office and heaps of childcare help, then I can probably manage to churn out more than this blog. But it's also somewhat discouraging. She's got a successful writing career; I thought she’d have a lovely office or room of her own. Nope. She writes at the kitchen table.

This led to a discussion about the roles of husbands and wives and all the "unwritten" jobs that tend to fall into the category of wifely duties. At one point a single mom expressed some relief over her status. But then the discussion balanced out. Yes, our husbands participate fully in family life and we adore them, yada-yada.

The conversation then moved onto topics like conservation, Vanity Fair's May 2007 Green Issue, and mommy wars. It was around this time that I went to get a drink for late arrival and soon-to-be Mother-Talk forums moderator Meagan Francis She drove six hours from another state to be with us, so I forgive her for being late. However, I don't forgive myself for reaching for a plastic wine cup from the adorable pyramid arrangement I'd created and sending the whole display crashing down right in the middle of Rachel's talk.

Okay, so I'm not the hostess with the mostest, but we had good Chicago food (generously sponsored by Alpha Mom), stimulating conversations and a wonderful evening.

I enjoyed meeting some new faces from the momosphere inlcuding Amy from Windy City Mamma, Danielle from Foodmomiac, Kathy from Barking at Kathy, Jessica and her cool shoes from Sassafrass and Strollerderby, as well as seeing the old, uh, make that familiar face of Rhonda Present of ParentsWork.

Meagan deserves another special mention, not only for surviving her long drive to Chicago with four little boys in tow, but because she’s moving here this summer! She's also the newest member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Bathing Suit.

Next up for me on the Mother-Talk agenda: a blog review of the Dangerous Book for Boys. Look for it in a few weeks.