It is not often that I will find a person, place or thing to gush about. Okay, I gush alot, but you totally need to understand that this particular gushfest involves a role model, a person I admire more than coffee (yes, that much) and a woman who took time out of a hectic publishing schedule to answer the questions of a wanna-be, naive author who had nothing to lose by bombarding her with questions. Who am I talking about? Why the amazing, cooler than cool, badder than bad Ayun Halliday. (Ayun as is rhymes with ray gun, just so you know.) I will admit that I pretended to be all cool when she asked me to be on her virtual bok tour, but that lasted about 5 seconds before I fainted, came to and emailed her back an emphatic YES. I have admired her for years, so it was a no brainer.
To celebrate the UK release of her book Mama Lama Ding Dong: A Mother’s Tales From the Trenches (The Big Rumpus in the United States) she called upon several bloggers to host her tour bus for a day. Today is my day, so pull up a cozy chair, grab a drink and sit back while I completely gush about this amazing woman and her writing. (If you are not familiar with her, check out this interview to get to know her a bit better and then check out her website. While you are there, sign up for The East Village Inky. You will thank yourself (and me!) if you do! We’ll wait here and braid each other’s hair until you get back.)
Back? Good. Now, let each of us Dare to be Heinies and dish about the book.
When I first read this description of motherhood in the chapter, “The Daily Grind”, I nearly wept with the realization that someone else not only felt this but ADMITTED it :
The pain of childbirth is a white hot constellation of torture, almost impossible to describe, remember impressionistically at best. It inspires respect.Taking care of the little criminals day in and day out is another matter. Cutting their food into crouton-size cubes, wiping their spills and their heinies, washing their hair, forcing them to give the ball back, maneuvering them through the grocery store, clearing their mouths of golf balls, dice and Monopoly houses, goading them to pick up their toys, strapping them into the car seats they loathe, reading those hideous Richard Scarry books incessently…that’s like being eaten alive by ants. Not even red ants, just the regular ones.
I fell in love as I read that passage and realized someone “got it” and was brave enough to put it out there. I cheered her on while pretending silently that I loved the daily drudgery and didn’t feel frustration because that is what you do in Stepford. In the coolness that is her New York neighborhood, you can say things like that.
However, when I read her exerpt on lice–the FIRST time–I laughed. Oh, how horrible! That is hysterical! I cannot imagine! That was before my daughter had brought home lice. When I came to that point in mamalama dingdong, there was no laughing. I screamed, threw the book and began to weep before I remember that at one point I laughed. Obviously if Ayun can laugh about the horror, I could try.
“Head lice were outed on the children’s program Arthur this year in an effort to de-stigmatize the problem. I guess I’m glad that lice have hit the mainstream, thought what’s next for Arthur and his pals? Heroin addiction?”
I for one was thrilled to read of the horror she described just to know that a bad-ass mom like Ayun could be infected with the dreaded lice, then a Stepford mom like myself, surely would not be immune.
I wish I could quote this whole book to you, but that would be silly (and plagarism!). I mean, you WANT your own copy. You really do! I have a copy if both The Big Rumpus (so dog eared it needs tape to hold it together) and Mama Lama Ding Dong. I love them both! (Okay, they are the same book with different names and different colors, but it feels so new and fresh to pretend that I am just now discovering the amazing Ayun Halliday.
Ayun is the kind of author who makes you feel as if you are sitting there with her sharing stories over a cup of coffee. A woman you want to make your personal friend. By simply reading her books, your cool factor is bumped up at least a notch or two. She is just that good! But don’t take my word for it, go get a copy of Mama Lama Ding Dong: A Mother’s Tales From the Trenches (The Big Rumpus title=”The Big Rumpus”>The Big Rumpus in the United States) and laugh yourself into a new friendship with an amazing woman and mom!