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tv   Discussion on the Me Too Movement  CSPAN  May 6, 2018 12:45am-1:59am EDT

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weekend, the fdr presidential library and museum host the reading festival a day of author program on the life and tenure of america's 32nd president, from june 21st to the 26th, it's the american library association annual conference held this year in new orleans, for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals and to watch press festival coverage click the book fair's tab on the website, booktv.org. >> and now on book tv we bring recently held unbound book festival, held of event in colombia missouri includes author discussions on the first amendment and writing historical fiction. but, first, talk about the me too women's movement in america over the past year. [applause] >> hello, everyone.
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can everyone hear me? they hear me, good. [laughter] >> we will hear some of the panelists, we just got mics on. the first person that i will introduce is jamie, has written about sex, design, technology and urban life for the new york, wall street journal, the guardian and her fourth book was published in october 2012. it appeared on the new york time's best seller list and published in ten countries in 2013 and in 2017. [inaudible] >> her work in total of 16 different languages, currently lives in new orleans. let's welcome jamie attenberg.
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[applause] >> next we have camille dungy, the california book award silver medal and the book awards. most recent work includes collection of essays, she earned a ba with stanford university and university of north carolina. currently a professor in the english department at colorado state university. let's give her a hand as well. [applause] >> up next we have melissa febos, febos is author of memoir
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and collection abandon me which the new yorker called mesmerizing and was andy next pick of best book of 2007 by esquire, book, the cult, local literature, refinery 21, salon and the recipient of msa from college, currently assistant professor at manmouth university, woman in literary art, the pin american membership committee and the manhattan reading and music series mixer for ten years, let's give a round of applause for melissa. [applause] >> and last but not least we have kathy hanauer, new york times best seller author, my sister's bones, editor of two, the bitch is in the house and the bitch is back, npr best book
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of 2016, a cofounder along with her husband, modern column, contributed articles, essays and reviews "the new york times", elle, o, real simple and many other publications, she lived in north hampton, massachusetts and also new york, let's give a round of applause for kathy. [applause] >> i have compiled a list of 5 or 6 questions that i think all of the authors can actually address and then during the last 20 minutes we will leave it open for q&a, so this is our first question, anybody can start with this, so how do you think this historical moment, so thinking about the current presidential administration, the subsequent women's march in washington, the. >> ve cent deportation of dreamers, and activist groups
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like black lives matter, me too, has or will ill pact women's writing, i thought about this question after reading camille's book as she talked about the historical similarities because the presidencies of ronald reagan and also donald trump, maybe camille, you can start. [laughter] [laughter] >> i mean, i think for me personally as a black writer i -- because of that continuity between these historical moments, i mean, in the middle of me too movement, like we've been saying these things. these aren't knew, these aren't knew revelations and they're not
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-- what's new is the response, what's new is the trust in women saying there's a problematic power dynamic and we are at its mercy and people say, you may be right. [laughter] >> that's the change that i perceive that horrifying as all the revelations are, the change in the recession and the believe in women saying, this is something that we need to be concerned about. we need to be concerned about the cars ration of women and separation of families, we need to be paying attention to these issues and people in the larger community acknowledging those truths, so therefore horribles, all new revelations are, i actually get a sense of hope and -- and potential that we can
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actually make change and that is in my writing, then i'm writing essentially in the space of kind of almost improbable positiveness because i'm like, -- the first time in my lifetime. >> yeah. i would add to that that every sort of social movement that i'm aware of that has breached the surface of the public consciousness has been the work of people who have been toiling to that end for decades and decades, right, like black lives have always mattered to activists and i'm sure to everyone on this panel and, you know, i recently sort of researched for an essay was looking back at old journal of mine from when i was 12 year's old and i had this thought that i wrote when i was 12, is it all women or is it just all of the
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girls that i know who have experienced harassment and abuse and like i was wondering that in adolescence and it's always been part of my work, always in the conversation among the writers that i'm talking to and i think like camille said, now there's spotlight on that but it's not a new movement and it's not new writing and it's not new information. >> the numbers, it's the numbers of people because of social media, the numbers of people that can be involved. >> they're not hearing. my mic is somewhere in my legging. [laughter] >> i was saying social media has multiplied in a way that i don't think was possible until this moment, maybe. >> i want to say also from a fiction writer perspective, the people that i have spoken to are
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completely freaked out. i feel like everybody is still living in day-to-day fear because of who our president is and things he's doing and so the positive spin on that, everyone is might as well write the science fiction novel i always wanted to write about. all bets are off. i might as well take every single risk in the book, in that way it's really -- it's like tracking you out but inspiring at the same time. [laughter] >> it was a science fiction book that, i think, again, like the rising awareness which is the word itself is 30-year-old word. [laughter] >> that kind of theory is not new but it's public not -- and
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as an artist, what was it like to publish a book of poetry and nonfiction in the same year, how do you decide the difference and i've actually coming to resist the division between those two genres, all i'm trying to do is work against the vision and in my mind i try to segregate the two and i'm not about that, that kind of consciousness, i'm going to write what i need to write, i'm going to move towards and push against the categorization imposed by publishing is allowing some really, really interesting literature to happen now that were getting people who science fiction that can be considered literary writing, nonfiction that is also some very poetic, fiction that is this fiction on nonfiction, there's a lot of kind of
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crossing because people are thinking like the concerns of the me too movement are very closely coupled with the concerns of a number of other kinds of, like, you can't think about the problem without sexual harassment without thinking about police violence, without thinking what happens on the borders, in the way that women are particularly greatly imperilled in the situation because they are completely without power. if you're thinking about immigration powers at the same time you are thinking about sexual assault, you're in a mind set for your writing the fluency and that's feeding literature. [laughter] >> i'm so glad that you talked about intersectionalty, while i was reading everybody's book, i was struck how to balance universal appealing story regarding woman mood but
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intersections of various forms of differences, whether that would be sexuality, gender performance, age ability, class, ethnicity and i kept thinking about audry moore's statement, so can you discuss explicitly some of the negotiations and difficulties you faced as woman writers not only by editors and publishers but also readers and what they expect from women writers, i thought about this question while reading a passage in melissa's book during meeting that she had with editor that tried to persuade her about indigenous history. maybe you can start us off. >> sure, i think i might have a more hopeful take on this than paragraph in the book communicates because in many ways my book is a book about something a somewhat fractured
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identity, coming from sort of a multiracial identity and family history and having sort of what felt to me like a lot of mismatch parts and i didn't fit in one category in my whole life, i wasn't even 100% gay, it was -- and so i never had permission to claim any of my my identities and didn't have an answer when people said what are you, in many ways it was about drawing things together and cleaning up a hole made up of many different parts. in the past when i was writing the book i remember having lunch with an ted or the and then asking me what i was working on, you know, about this and this and this and the weird form and she was like, what else are you working on. [laughter] >> late rally, -- literally and this is the thing i have to write and then this work came out and this got more attention,
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suddenly something that has a long tradition but is now being sort of welcomed back into the center, all of that happened in what would have been a weird marginal queer book, i was encouraged about that. my first book was about being a former sex worker. it was the same question over and over again and none of it was about the book, right, we are in a space right now where we are willing to talk about multiple things, the work is allowed to be intersectional because we are allowing ourselves to be intersectional and moving towards that rather than away from it. >> and so i want to pause, i forgot everybody to ask read a 3-minute passage from the book. this would be a good opportunity to do that at this point in terms of thinking about you all's work being intersectional,
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complexities about being women writers, so maybe we can make -- camille, you can start. >> she's an a and i'm a b. [laughter] >> you want to start? >> i can start. >> okay. [laughter] .. .. my daughter is seven months old. it seems like you are trying to do too much.
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i guess we should stop working while we were raising our children. we don't have time. you might as well stop working. i developed a bad habit of contracting people at the time and what that to work. i didn't have the luxury of waiting while someone formulated a conclusion. his beta particularly a conclusion would reveal my own fears. it's pretty hard to be a successful professional on a part-time basis. i interrupted others. wanted to be sure i was fully heard myself. yes of course you are right said mother. the backseat was designed to be more comfortable. already my were filling. it was hard going to the university to keep other people's children when i would rather be home teaching my own
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daughter how to talk and walk. an hour or two into my time on campus there was very little i hated were then pumping. i halted around in the back pack and then it sounded like machinery. with a clear plastic comb cups over my best -- squeezing the milk until bottle it felt like a nameless character in science fiction where things ended badly for the women. after getting sufficient milken would stand in front of the lecture hall and talk about a 20th century poem about people and wonder if i remember to insert a pattern to my broth. the author had no children. i don't know if this is important her poetry and they
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provided her with the experience she needed to write one of her most famous poems. after phyllis wheatley the first black person to publish a book in english marrying him for three babies, two of them died in embassy heard days as a poet or done. while i ushered on the conviction of women poets in america particularly black women poets i worried if college should be -- because she dislikes drinking from a bottle. [applause]
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>> indigo has a baby. it's not that i don't care about her baby but i don't care about any babies. also i know what will happen to have been down this road before. i need to see the baby with little and when it's not a baby anymore i can say i remember when you were this age. it's all a setup for a café or realistically on the street corner with two grown women nodding enthusiastically. once you are small and i your big. making a point she wants answered. what will happen after see the baby is indigo will become completely busy with her life are very long time. then she will have time. then she will desperately need
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to see me. where has the time gone? but by then i will be a different version of me or perhaps the same version and she will be a different version of her and we will look at each other with different eyes. yes, yes, sure. i texted her back rhetorical status was unclear. i said i will come on saturday. i'll have my morning session with my therapist in our earlier but i'll go to the children's store in my neighborhood and by the baby a book at dire story about -- the life out of an enabling tree. that tree has no agency i thought that that's a book about a baby. i'm too late to be the first to anything. this too i know she has all
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versions up or there's nothing original i can offer a child that i'm obligated to make an offer and however a stuffed animal to a new baby. will you promise me i will never get pregnant? [laughter] i made sure degette gift receipts for both. [applause] so i don't think there are any babies in here. i have never read this aloud. i recorded the audio book i think that the book opens her part of the book opens with me meeting for the first time and after that i meet her for the first time and in the scene i have just ended a very toxic relationship.
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when i see my half-sister again we meet at a burger place in burlington and sit on the patio. men and hiking boots talk vigorously the next table. i am easier that i've been told that the exquisite corpse. i have cried my weight in tears and have done the impossible. not looking for myself and her this time. when i tell her i met her father wow she says you are braver than me. i'm not rave i tell her, just curious. that's not the truth either. i know i have less agency. i'm compelled. it's not the addiction but a different kind of drive the hunger i cannot ignore. maybe that's all bravery is when your hunger is greater than your fear. i look at bravery is noble. survival is not noble and it does not sacrifice itself.
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i want them all to know you my sister says. when she looks down at her plate i see it the change in her own darkness. i want to tell her for darkness is not that. it's only the place you can't see yet the parts of as we have looked away from. where all the concord and the conqueror but it's hard to deny could be passed that legacy on to everything we do and everything we love and when we see it as a part of ourselves we always fail. we cannot erase ourselves. you can only abandon it. he lives in exile and when you become the home for someone else's heart you are like a house with a prisoner in the cellar. your child worries at twilight because she sees the twilight in you the silvery dark secret of the chosen forgetting. pull the curtain around and keep the dark galprin a vice been afraid to have children.
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i didn't want to give them the hurtling hunger of shame that now we know there is no avoiding it for the best i can do is teach them not to fear the dark. i don't say any of this to my sister. instead i tell her i can be friends sister or stranger to her children whatever she needs and if she needs it i can be her mom. [applause] >> this was from my 2002 book and this is a little part of the introduction that i wrote about how time change from 2002 until last year when the sun came out. now i knew as i started conceive of this book that my generation of women expects and demands more from the marriage than ever before and in some cases perhaps more than is reasonable or possible.
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we want best friend and a soulmate of financial and domestic part someone who us up turns us on makes us feel attractive and confident stays faithful and sweet and as a bonus can coach our daughters basketball team and homegrown basil pesto with organic cage free locally raised birds possibly killing themselves. mainly of course with this beer made by an american company. we want unconditional love to things that aren't only symbiotic but imposed since the beginning of time. where they desire they cannot love. marriage has many advocates and values that eroticism is not one of them. women of my generation also
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contribute more to marriage for partnerships than ever before and more actively contributing to give us more power namely a big fat chunk of the income. for that reason we are a generation that like no other has had the opportunity to make choices about our lives from what kind of careers to have two who and when to marry to win, whether and how they have children to how much of our stage all summer like any of our own fathers only vacations and weekends. many of us now have the freedom to leave the marriage it that isn't working for us in a way that feels acceptable. it's sometimes significantly less luxurious. what's more i also new heading into this book that we were part way into period of arguably the greatest gender marriage and relationship transition in history. things it used to be fixed or at least seen as fixed from gender
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or sexuality to parenting for now expected to be fluid and buried and for those with courage much more about what we wanted than what we were assigned at earth or even growing. they were come a time when not only in a town like my own progressive northeaster one -- northeastern one there would be places nationwide where she could marry someone of her own gender or just become a man or have a baby on her own without a man. as with the case of the popular "new york times" column it might be normal for women to sit down regular to cordial family dinner with her child from her child's father her best friend entered new female live-in lover the last award in the same. perhaps other friends who had once been male but now are female all without at least scrutiny or judgment the pass.
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put another way the political and the personal and merging in unprecedented ways. [applause] >> we will take up where we left i think alyssa was talking about thinking about womanhood or motherhood but also thinking about the intersection at the same time. they think you talk a little bit about that how life is changed in the public sphere and how we talk about it. >> one thing i want to say is that i'm probably the oldest one on the panel and also the most what i call basic pitch which is just like i'm probably the least intersectional one in a certain way on the panel because sam's a straight white mother, grew up
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with some amount of privilege and older. it's the difference between the first book in this one. it's so much more diverse and so much more edges porzingis somebody like me i think what do i have to say any more? and i struggle because i'm writing a novel now. what is a straight white buried with children older person have to say to the growing diversity movement out there? i don't know. what can i say it's so interesting that hasn't already been said a million times? >> people craved a good story. >> she's talking about appropriation and a young white male asked a question and said he got in trouble in workshop
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for writing about somebody who i think --. >> floyd mayweather a black talks are. >> she said if it's a good story and you've done it accurately that's what it is. part of it is appropriation or what's the other word she used? voyeurism. >> e voyeurism. >> considering the vulnerability of your character. >> i would just add that something that i hear from my students all of the time. it's been done before. what i have to say? has jonathan franzen said something that no one has said before?
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all of the stories that we love are telling the things we need to hear over and over again. there might deem more tension on writers of color but they are telling their story for a very long time. it's up to us to decide with the urgency of our stories are to tell them away. >> i feel i'm the person i should step out and let other people step in and tell their stories. >> if you are going to give up writing, you aren't going to do that. >> and my somebody that needs to be bought and read any more? not that i should edit other people or be more productive in the world.
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it's just a very tricky place to be is a writer who has been writing for 35 or 40 years. >> i was just thinking about how the last time i was in italy my publisher who is a very nice man was my translator for the interview that i did in every interview that i did i would talk about some of them. he was getting sick of translating it. so i feel like every single time i should tell the story. i think it's a story worth telling. >> the paragraph talks about
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women in a generation older than me. yeah well i love my son but i'm never going to get that book. woman after women has told me how difficult it is to be a woman and a mother. it was a late change in my life. it's potentially disastrous. but i made the decision and i don't regret that decision. i also think my story is different than that of this generation. we don't have the chicken coop
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coop -- [laughter] pretty much my partner is a model of what you describe. he is home being a father right now so that i can be a traveling writer which is not a luxury that women of another generation hats. i am very aware of that but even as a story the world are making the similar decisions with different outcomes. the plot will be different and the narrative will be different each time we rewrite the same story. it doesn't have to happen that way. >> we decide how are script was rewritten. >> can you tell us about your initial process or processes
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when it comes to writing. you write mostly fiction, right? i ask this because i'm an academic writer in my audiences totally different. i find it very difficult to write about myself or others. things like today was good and i really think women should develop a practice of writing about themselves and most importantly archives. their contributions are still important for future generations that might discover their personal academics. histories of black women are traditionally eluded in archives but i think many don't know like
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me don't know how to begin writing it. i know these book and the second anthology was probably from a -- you met at the airport in jamie's is not a memoir but it's about parts of her life's and others. what are the steps you think about before you take the step? >> i do journal a lot. actually the book i'm working on now was directly related to all the stuff coming out but i think about the #in front of it. it's great and i'm still -- so it's not like everything is just stopped but i just want more. i want more forever.
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so it's not gloom and doom. it's exciting that there is more ahead of us. so i actually had this moment where of his i have to write a new book and i couldn't write fiction. you have to write the thing that's right in front of you before you go forward. it's right there so i spent three weeks journaling every day and i wrote down every terrible thing a man has done to me in my life. sure i could have gone to therapy. this is important. [laughter] i was getting little lines of wisdom and ideas. when i look at my final product of the book i don't see me on the page. if you are a fiction writer your idea becomes different things and it ends up on the page or
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doesn't end up on the page. there's a lot of turning around and looking at the future kaleidoscope. it's a creative process but through that three weeks of journaling every single day i knew how to move forward with the book i was writing. i was completely, wrote something that i would never want anyone to read. this sounds i cannot this thing to say but they say people always are afraid of what their parents might think and you are supposed to write as if your parents were dead. so it's really about getting out there and if you wake up to whatever it is you write it means that it exists and then you can move onto the next thing.
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you have to put it out there. >> have any of you ever heard of the social psychologist predated the study in the 80s that he called automatic writing were you had two groups and one was in his control group he had 15 people write for 15 minutes for two days 30 minutes total on a socially provocative topic. they had to keep their hands moving and its experimental group had to write about and emotionally provocative topic. 15 minutes nonstop and they monitored the subject for the next year. though they funded upsetting while they were doing it over the course of the year they all recorded more happiness with a
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very clear results. i often pulled that out of my back pocket. while it doesn't ensure the writing will be good, i write -- and i have for decades. just like whatever's in me that needs to get out and i have this incredible reference. it's incredibly important to me as an artist as a disability to myself. the way that women are socialized we have these incredibly sophisticated cleanup crews for the thoughts and feelings and anger but we are are not to think and feel and what we are not to say. for me creating a record and writing it down is a way of whispering those words even if just to myself.
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we talk about memoirs or exhibitionists but most memoirs are private people who are secret keepers. one of my favorite quotes it's a joy to be hidden in disaster not to be found. it's the most personal disaster not to be found. women particularly are people who have been socialized not to speak about parts of being ourselves and our lives depend on a way of finding to say it aloud the forbidden things. >> there are a series of connections. when jamie was talking about the
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question and your writing and the memory has made 15 or 16 years old and going away for camp. she came over to my house with all these journals for me to hold while she was gone so her mother didn't come in and read her journal. she was just so confused. why would her mother read her journal? my mother couldn't understand why another mother could do that and i feel because of my mother shocked response how i could write whatever i wanted in my journal because i just knew. nobody in my house was going to go into my journal and read that they knew whatever they discovered with their own
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problems to deal with at that point. it's not mine. that was innate in my home that there was a place that i could write that it was safe. i could be very free to do it. i haven't thought of my journal is an archive and people order chronologically. but then when i write what may have started out as a journal converted what happened out of the journal. i just have it with me and i would write.
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at night he would write with the experience of words. some of that was converted and the difficult american histories that i was in cocaine again when i was a black woman traveling in all parts of america that were damaging and scary and troubling i would lose their power over me when you read them, there is a kind of difficulty. the passages are difficult for me to read because that's a re-trauma physician of reading them again and bringing them back to life but for me as a writer i would turn to that safe place for the things that i like that isn't going to get me into
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trouble and isn't going to hurt me. and it's done and it's out of its power. that to me is part of why writing is important. i'm neutralized the things that have that need. when claudia wrote citizen every time she heard the story eventually she gets finished and by the time she's finished all of those violences visited upon her was like she had the power over them now. i think that's a valuable thing for a woman in particular to think about in our writing. >> i'm going to jump in here.
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i hope this speaks to the topic. people are talking about writing to work something through and for so many years of my life i felt i needed to write. i journaled and i scribbled notes on everything and e-mail came along and i started e-mailing with certain people. i put a lot of it into that and with my first book by first anthology i was angry. i was angry that the promise of feminism came to my generation and i didn't get take it played out for me or for any of my friends. society wasn't stepping up to do its share to enable that. all the burden was on the women. i was angry. there were so many angry women out there that were feeling that way. it was a unique experience to put that out there and have it
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echoed back everywhere you went. my husband made a little more money which made it easier for me to do more work and do the child rearing because in my family that's what works the best. i'm thinking about what you said about your husband. my generation all went to marriage thinking it would be a certain way and that men would do a certain thing and we would be awakened to the reality and again it goes back to what we have been saying for years and years. it was said by betty for dan and virginia woolf. the point is for many years i was angry and i had to write. as you get older now my kids are
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gone and my husband is working and he got benefits for the first time. suddenly i'm like wow i'm not that angry anymore. i realized whenever something comes along with one of my kids are ever a problem i write to my friends. i write to everybody. i write it down. sometimes if you get happier is there anything left to say? there have been writers that i talk to who of talk about going on antidepressants and what happens if you do that? does it take away your need to write and i think there's some truth to that. i was with the writer the other night who has a new book out
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called what would virginia woolf do about midlife. it's about what's expected in midlife a guide to everything. she went through a bunch of years where she didn't feel inspired. she died, and my done? should i get a new career and all of a sudden this thing happened and she went to parry. it made her start writing again and now she had a whole resource for that. i don't even know what my point is. writing is a way. there's a book on my shelf. i turned to writing as a refuge and 27th beginning i'm so envious of that.
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my minor problems and some of it was just nothing and narcissist or existing on a different plane than some writers where you are always having to write about yourself. >> one of the things i hear you talk about is the frequency. i have to always have a vote. i've lived in rural communities and the importance is really underrated in a culture. if you don't have the next book then there's another generation coming and you will be irrelevant. they are our one or two things
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that happens. but chemically alter the plan. it's always essential to give it more yield but there is an important thing about just being quiet. >> we are not allowed to have academic jobs. i have to turn out a book every two years. >> that's definitely pressure for me. i just keep putting them out. i just keep doing it but i write so fast nothing i can do. i agree with you that i feel like sometimes i feel bad.
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it's very tied into my products. >> in general a lot of women feel it. what do we have to offer others? >> last night it just stayed in the hotel room. and i had to give myself permission to sit in the hotel room. by that was like i know i'm missing it. i read somewhere a definition of compulsion as in action of an obsessive boss. i think it's our compulsion which is so hard.
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we are driven to it. i don't think there has to be a continual and inertia that has to keep going and going it to me i write an obsessive thought. whether it's a question without an answer or is unanswerable or things that i find intolerable. those are the things i write about. i never intended to be a memoirist. just turned out the trouble i had to see happen to be in my own experience. i look forward to the day when that is no longer at the trouble in my life. and i suspect that time
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corresponding outside. >> there is plenty of trouble to go around. right now i'm working on a book that is half-and-half about my experience looking outward. >> we have to do q&a. i see a gentleman coming up for a question. >> i was supposed to be somewhere five minutes ago. first of all i want to say you were amazing. >> thank you. [applause]
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we have had the interlocutory other years and they have all been great. >> thank you. >> also i want to say to kathy this is an observation that i will ask a question. the readings you all just did shows there's always something new to say even if it's just the way you say it. most people don't pull it off very well. here's my question for you at has to do with what's new and what's not. later today i'm on a panel about biography. one of them is a biographer of mark twain. i preach all the time don't write the 1000 book about abe lincoln or marilyn monroe or whatever. i have to be nice to this guy.
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i started reading all the biographies. then i started reading it. it's great. what's your reaction to that? i don't think there's a right answer but what is your reaction lacks. >> maybe it's feeling confident enough to think they can do something you've never done before. i think more and more i feel the time people have to read a book is so limited. we are spending more and more time on our phones and less and less time in a book. it's to ask you to go out and spend $28 on a book and read it i better have something good to say. i'm not as prolific in terms of publishable work and i'd rather
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spend a few years with the book and make it really good and i'm not saying you can't do that too but also having an magazine of of -- editor it's like asking somebody to pay for it instead of reading it free on line better say something better but hasn't been said. i try to look outside of myself on education which is a topic i think about a lot. these are some of the themes i'm working on in my new novel. thank you. >> hi read on the subject of journals there is some discussion about how it might kill your parents. in the journal i am sure it
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kills your children. are you going to destroy its? >> burn everything. i may think it's going to distract people but sometimes it's dressing revelations and answers to necessary russians of the people. it doesn't mean you find out about the affair and you were like that's why my brother was always different. [laughter] i needed that piece of information. it's going to mess up the family dynamics a little bit but it's necessary. >> i would like to read your journal. [laughter] >> this is a question to the
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point of feminism. i'm currently a civil engineering major but i'm switching to english education. i've gotten a lot of flack from my female counterparts in general about what it means to be a female and engineering. i'm 18. >> happy birthday. >> i'm struggling to deal with the productivity you are talking about. is it okay to step away from something i'm good at? >> i think the history of feminism is also the history of people deciding what it means
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and describing it to other people. i remember this young woman who was 15 or 16. to me i have struggled a lot. someone who has been an educator and writing and thinking and all the conversing i've done about it only come back to a more contagious definition. my feminism gives me permission every day to make a choice of what is best for me. >> i want to add because i'm
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apparently always the person on the panel who has a thing to add. when i went to stanford i chose stanford partially because it's one of the few universities where i could use the pre-med core. being a doctor, that's what a real person does but i'm going to write on the side. the more i went through realizing -- you have to pay attention in organic chemistry. soil and towards the writing instead. the memoir is filled with scientific medical research. i do a lot of medical research to understand the development of my child.
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the medical stuff was accurate but i continued doing the research which means all of that medical doctrine essentially shows up in the book with access to a whole lot of other people. as an educator what is the next generation of educating and how can you educate the next generation of young women to think about all the possibilities of who they can be just because you don't choose one career track that seems like a cut and dry version it doesn't mean you can't have an influence on that field later.
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>> good morning. thank you for coming credit the comic person than a question about whether or not i should feel the same way all the time. my question is about vulnerability. all of the above written. pieces about toxicity in a relationship motherhood etc. etc. and how did you get past -- there's a cuss word in there. i'm allowed to say it? also how did you get past that in becoming a writer and what did you do?
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>> i just have a set of rules. i wrote an essay at the beginning of the year and about the physical pain that i was in for several years. i knew from the year before that i was going to write about it. with such a significant begin my life to live with pain and that felt important to me. i wanted to tell that story. and my writing something that i think will be helpful to other people? from a part of writing is an act of -- so i think that's an approach that gives me less cynicism as being an i don't know whatever so it's sitting
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down and thinking about why you are doing what you are doing and the intentions behind your writing. a student maybe makes the list while you write. that's a starting point. i kept running into people who who were like oh. it was a vulnerable place to put myself in. i'm really glad you wrote about that. have been in the exact same place and i felt that exact same thing. so there's a power nonfiction and i admire people who can commit to writing nonfiction. it's almost more powerful than
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fiction. >> there something about it that i can really and truly connect with. >> all of our secrets are inevitably so ordinary. what makes it so painful as we are not visible. when you make your shame visible other duke think it's an act of service. it's incredibly liberating and prove to the people that that's possible. the only question i ask about writing as what about your family? so i try to save as often as possible. i've written two books full of all the things that a parent shouldn't even have to know about their children.
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i've had difficult intimate conversations about my life. i found it incredibly hard and it has forced a conversation with myself and mike closest relationships and my family. the. >> to remember my grandma when i gave her a copy of one of my books -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> i have struggled with the same thing. it's so nice when somebody says we still care what you have to say. i have to come off of my ego and my pedestal having had my second
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book which was a huge bestseller when that happens early in your career is a little bit tricky. most of them have one or two books you have heard of. so i think i have to tell myself you might not get on "the today show" and that's okay. write it and put it out there and get it as good as you can put it out there and move on. that's my job. i can't be invested in whether people think about it. it's your story and everybody can have their five minutes so just do it. believe in yourself. >> thank you. >> do we have time for one more
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question? >> hi. it's been a fascinating panel so far and i'm really that i got to make it productive question about to and if you feel there's a difference between being a female author and a woman author and society in itself. do you feel like you have to introduce yourself or that you can simply be a writer and what everyone else expects from that? >> you read me that way, right? you have figured that out. a lot of my movements are
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different than if i were not black. it's not just like a person walking down the street. most of the time i'm a writer. i'm doing my thing and it's very important and then there are also mundane moments. the fact that i am a woman or the fact that i'm black or the fact that i'm a mother. it enters into the interrogation of what's happening and sometimes you have to be that thing that you can't get around until you confront it.
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