Last week I introduced you to my dear friend, Rachel Zucker (go here to see that intro). Here is that interview about her new book (in collaboration with Arielle Greenberg) that I promised:
What do you think this book is about?
Rachel Zucker: Home/Birth: a poemic is about birth and the transformation that birth can bring. It is about feminism and friendship, about misogyny and the history of midwifery and obstetrics. It is about activism and joy and rage.
Who do you think/hope it will speak to?
RZ: I hope it will speak to women who have not yet had children.
Do you consider this a book of prose or poetry? Or neither?
RZ: The book is mostly prose but has some poems in it that are made of the prose around them. I consider it a hybrid genre text.
What is your relationship with the “cause” of child birth now that your youngest is almost 4? For me, I am just as passionate about the topic, but as I’ve “moved on” from having babies to parenting older children, I find that it’s just not on my radar in the same way. Which makes me wonder whether that tendency, in part, the fact that we do “move on” in a way, contributes to a less than grounded movement in improving maternal health care.
RZ: The cause of fighting for better maternity services continues to feel very urgent to me. I’m not obsessed with birth in the same ways I was when I was pregnant or thought I might have another baby, but I’m still very passionate about it. I feel like our terrible maternity services are inextricably linked to our broken health care system and that both must be fixed. Also, having a baby at home, becoming a doula, training to teach childbirth ed classes and being an activist–doing something so outside the mainstream–has changed my life in ways that have nothing to do with birth.
Though I haven’t seen the finished product yet, I saw part of an earlier draft and remember throughout the piece the refrain, “we haven’t even begun to talk about. . .” I love this because it rings true with how women communicate. With my closest friends (you being one of them), our conversations are ongoing, often spanning years with days or weeks in between. But we are able to jump right in when we can. Can you tell me a bit about how you and Arielle came to this format. It seems to work so well.
RZ: There is so much to talk about and this book is as much about my friendship with Arielle and about how women talk to one another and support and inform one another as it is about birth or home birth.
What are you reading right now?
RZ: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff and Alma, or the Dead Women by Alice Notley. Yesterday I read Destroyer and Preserver by Matthew Rohrer.
A few years ago you sent me Daybook: The Journey of an Artist by Anne Truitt, which is about her efforts to resolve her creative life with her family life. How are you doing with this these days?
RZ: Yes, that was an amazing book. Well, it’s hard and easy to answer this question. I’m writing this on the second day of a 6 day writing residency. I’ve never been away from my kids for this long and in this kind of way. There is SO. Much. Time. It’s wild and scary and wonderful.
At the end of the day, what are the things most often that don’t get done (domestically, creatively, whatever).
RZ: Every day I fail to do many many things on my list of work stuff. And my children hardly ever bathe. I’m serious. They rarely bathe. I’m enormously productive and every day many important things fall through the cracks.
Before I die I want to _______________________________.
RZ: I can’t answer this. I’m listening lately to a podcast called Darma Talks by Pema Chodron. Arielle recommended these to me (of course) and I really think you’d like them. She talks very movingly about how all we have is the present moment. I’m not going to be able to do it justice but I do feel, deeply, that I’ve lived a life of tremendous luxury and opportunity and good fortune and that if there is something I really want to do before I die then I should be doing it right now and if I am choosing to do what I’m doing right now that’s because I have done all the things I want to do. All I have is this moment. Thinking about what I want to do before I die isn’t what I want to think about right now because that leads me to regret which is a way of escaping the present moment when it is difficult and I’m trying to stay present. I’m sorry if this answer sounds all high and mighty, I don’t mean it that way at all.
To see this book at Amazon, click here
If you are in the New York Area:
Wednesday, March 23, 7 PM
Reading and Book Party to celebrate Home/Birth: a poemic
BOOK CULTURE BOOK STORE
536 West 112 Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam), NYC
with co-author, Arielle Greenberg
It is open to the Public.
Sadly, I will be out of town, but please go and tell her I sent you!