You nodded, put on your mask, and got back to painting her nails. After the woman left, you flung the mask across the room. A fucking horse? Holy shit, I was ready to go to her daughter’s grave with flowers! For the rest of the day, while you worked on one hand or another, you would look up and shout, You guys, it was a fucking horse!
The first is my complete confidence thatI am, in the larger scheme of things, an altogether insignificant and fairly ordinary being; thesecond is my belief that, even in my insignificance and ordinariness-possibly even because of it-what I think is worthy of interest.
If you figure out the answer to this one, please let me know so I can tell my daughter! I’ve been a career woman, a working mother, a stay-at-home mother, and a mother with a part-time job that, while by no means challenging, was at least convenient. None of these choices was a perfect answer.
What I did was draw a character, a seriousbusinessman, to whom I gave a daughter whom he much loved and also supplied him with my owngeneral views on abortion and sat back and watched how he would react when he learned that hisnineteen-year-old child, so dear to him, had had an abortion.
It brings to mind the words of George Bernard Shaw’s Captain Shotover who upbraided a young woman of limited means whose only option, she thought, was to marry well: “You are looking for a rich husband. At your age I looked for hardship, danger, horror, and death, that I might feel the life in me more intensely. I did not let the fear of death govern my life; and my reward was that I had my life. You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life; and your reward will be that you will eat but you will not live.”
He may well be correct, but just now I am myself not even clearon the precise definition of the word "talent." I know only that talent tends to be something magical, or at least confers magic on its possessors, no matter in what realm: art, athletics, crime.
I agree with Phyllis Rose, another contributor to this book, who, writing about Montaigne, calledhim "the father of jazz." By this she meant that he was "the inventor of the verbal riff, the man whoelevated organic form over inherited structures and first made art by letting one thing lead toanother." That is, in my own experience, precisely how writing the personal essay works.
Waldman, whose fans had known her as a parent since she began publishing a mystery series with an overcommitted mother as a sleuth, found herself subject to a gantlet of domestic criticism, hate mail, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”Waldman’s second nonfiction book promises equal controversy but a mellower release.