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15 Dec

I Am A Mother

It was sometime early on in one of the first sessions of TEDWomen last week that the question occurred to me: are we saying to each other here – in this go go women go celebration of everything that women can do – that women are the new men? And if that’s the case, is the corollary that men are the new women? Or that less-advantaged women are the new (and old) women? Whither women qua women, if women are trying to escape themselves?

13 Dec

If A Christmas Tree Falls On Your Kid, And You Don’t Film It, Did It Happen?

I’m not a professional photographer. Nor am I professional filmmaker or documentarian. But I do tell stories, and a lot of those stories are about my kids, and telling stories about my kids involves using photographs and video. So I am, if you will, a Semi-Amateur Multimedia Documentary Artist and Chronicler Of Family Narratives, and I do an acceptably decent job of it, if I do say so myself.

But it’s a job that has had a somewhat steep learning curve. Capturing the most narratively interesting moments of family life is only slightly less complicated than filming meerkats, not least because small children are less predictable than meerkats. Capturing the movements of children on film during the holidays is considerably more complicated than filming meerkats,  because during the holidays children tend to be jacked up on candy canes and Santa, and meerkats, to the best of my knowledge, don’t get all that excited about either of those things. But it’s not impossible, and well worth the effort, because although meerkats are awesome, they are not nearly as funny and adorable and documentary-worthy as your own children. You can make an awesome photo collage or montage or video that captures the awesomeness of your family during the holidays, and you should.

So, herewith, and humbly, some tips from me on how get adequately amazing footage of your family, whether on digital film or video or sketchpad, and use it to craft some remarkable holiday memories. (Or, Tips For Being An Awesome Documentary Filmmaker/Photographer/Auteur And Creating The Best Family Holiday Video/Photo Album/Virtual –Slideshow-For-Your-Mom-Blog EVER, Even If You Have No Idea What You’re Doing At All, Really. Or, Failing That, How To Get Just Enough On Film So That You Don’t Forget What Your Kids Look Like.) (Read all the way to the bottom! There is music! And PRIZES! And other feel-good things!)

2 Dec

Hope, Which Has No Opposite In Fear

In September, while I was in Lesotho, I received this email:

Catherine,

I’m a frequent peruser of your blog but haven’t had much time for blog reading lately. My husband and I have been working our asses off to get the paperwork together to adopt two little boys from Lesotho. I was amazed when I clicked on your blog this morning and saw where you were. We’ve not seen our sons faces yet. We heard about two little boys (one who is HIV positive, one who has vision issues, both under the age of 3), knew they were ours even though it’s foolish, and started working on getting all the paperwork together. My fool heart hopes that one of the children you’ll take a picture of will be one of my boys because I’m aching to know their faces, but I know that’s unlikely. Still, I hope.