“It is dangerous and illegal to walk on the highway.”
—Quote from the Michigan driver’s ed manual 
I grew up in Detroit, Motor City, and so my delight in carless transportation has always seemed a bit perverse. But anybody who is a writer knows the feeling. What we do might not be dangerous or illegal, but it can sometimes look a little crazy from the outside.
Currently Browsing: Motherhood and Other Head Coverings

Joan Didion on Mothering

Is every generation of children less independent than the previous one? When I talk to mothers of my generation, many bemoan the way childhood has changed into an overscheduled, chaperoned, playdate-studded sanctuary. They remember whole summers when they were children, playing Mother May I, but never needing to actually ask for permission to wander their neighborhood, all day until supper. But when I read Joan...

Blanket Bear

When you want to dig deep into your past and unearth essential truths, what do you do if you’re only eight years old? My daughter just wrote the mini personal essay below, about the day after she was born. No pseudonyms or composite characters were used. Some of the facts, however, may be secondhand or slightly anthropomorphized. Stay tuned for the next installments, backstories about each plush animal she has...

Valentine’s Day Odyssey

“We have a lot to live up to if we’re going to be a model couple,” my husband James said after comments from two friends. One, about ten years my junior, told us she and her husband want to be like us “when they grow up.” The other comparison—a far more common one—was from a man whose marriage is starting to end. He said he looks at James and me, both divorced and happily remarried, and sees his...

Reading Anne: Lessons on Bloody War and Underwear

“The Nazis are good now,” my eight-year-old daughter Ella half asked, half said. “No, the Nazis are still bad. But the Germans are good.” “That’s what I meant,” she said. World War II was still an abstraction to her. It didn’t have the human connection that would make it real. It was time to read Anne Frank. We finished The Diary of a Young Girl last night, and although the book is so famous it has...

Why Kids Shouldn’t Read Grown-Up Books—Or Maybe They Should

Yesterday I was at the public library with my eight-year-old daughter, Ella, looking for information on French culture for a school report. The librarian found one book on the juvenile shelves then gave us a call number for a book in the adult section. Ella wanted to read the adult book immediately, so we installed ourselves around the only empty table in the children’s section and she opened the book to the...

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