Some things you should know about me:
I love my friends.
I love books.
I love my friends’s books.
I am so darned fortunate to be blessed and surrounded by so many creative and interesting friends. Writer Rachel Zucker is one of them. We met over eleven years ago at a Gymboree class on the Upper West Side in NYC and all it took was her leaning over and saying something about the teacher being just a tad too peppy for her taste (she was right, she was almost histrionic in her enthusiasm for bubbles). The rest, as they say, is history. Over lunch we agreed that the moms in the class were competitive in ways we didn’t understand : Is he rolling over yet? a put-together looking mom would ask in clipped speech. No? Oh, he will. She started rolling over like, a month ago. And on to ask the next mom.
Over the years it seemed that we could talk about anything, even the stuff mothers aren’t supposed to utter aloud. We’ve talked about it all. We were both so different and yet so much the same in the things we were thinking about. We also shared a willingness to be honest and a respectful, interested stance to hear from the other in the ways we were different. We now have six boys between us and we sure don’t get to talk as much as I’d like. But those women who are your friends in those early days of motherhood (in the sleep deprived trenches) are like your blood sisters– and this Rachel is certainly one of mine.
It is no surprise that her poetry is as honest, courageous, and truth-telling as the woman I know as my friend. I have always admired both her talent and her ambition and was not terribly surprised (but insanely proud) when her most recent book of poetry, Museum of Accidents, was announced as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award this past spring. I also know the back story and how even if she makes it look easy (and she does), that it hasn’t always been easy to negotiate her family life and her creative life. This makes me cheer even harder for her. It’s not easy, and she does it so well.
Her new book HOME/BIRTH (check it out here and here) is a collaboration with poet Arielle Greenberg. It is a subject close to my heart as my youngest son was born at home (as was Rachel’s). It was yet another thing we shared. We spoke constantly in the months before and after. Today I will spare you my thoughts on birthing politics, (that’s another post for another day), but I am so excited about this new book and the kinds of conversations I hope it encourages.