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Pickle Me This

November 9, 2011

Discovered: Brain, Child Magazine

I’ve been living under a rock, it seems, and so it was only on Monday that a copy of Brain, Child Magazine first appeared in my mailbox. And it’s like I’m right back there years ago discovering MS, Bust, and Bitch for the very first time. All those magazines that changed the way I see myself and the world, that were the turning point when I became a feminist. But after a while, I didn’t need them anymore, and it’s been a really long time since I read indie magazines (um, apart from the five literary magazines that turn up in my mailbox quarterly or more. I do my part, no fear).

But in terms of reading about parenting, it’s been all mainstream over here, and I tired of it much faster than I tired of the others. And not until I finally got my mitts on Brain, Child did I discover that I’ve been parched, starved for story. For essays that run off the page, and are written so well, which challenge and move me (but not too much for the former. Brain, Child seems infinitely readable, even for the bleary-minded. I read the whole thing cover to cover in 36 hours, part of it in the bathtub. It’s like that).

The magazine appeared on my limited radar when the wonderful Stephany Aulenback mentioned her essay published within about her adventures on Ancestry.com– a hilarious piece about her discovery of her children’s alleged royal lineage. And then I read “Glass Half Full”: has telling the “truth” about motherhood been taken to the point of dishonesty? And this was when I decided to buy a subscription, because I wanted a parenting magazine that had Rachel Cusk as a touchstone (and which doesn’t advertise boatloads of unnecessary crap, like that ridiculous stroller that turns into a tricycle, or denim diapers).

I loved the essay about the woman with chicken pox in her third trimester, and the scene where her two-year-old is finally allowed to see her after weeks of separation– the primal way in which the little girl reclaims her mother. In another essay, a mother accompanies her small daughter to her birth mother’s sister’s wedding– and contemplates the ways in which the birth mother will always be disappointing. Or another in which a woman thinks about the meaning of “inappropriate” and links it to her daughters’ discomfort with her body after her mastectomy.

I love that there is fiction here, and loooong book reviews, and that the magazine ends with a poem that is funny. I love the mothercentricity of the magazine’s approach, the literary quality of the writing, that the essays offer more questions than answers, and also that I subscribed for my Fall issue so late that it won’t be long until the Winter one arrives.

4 thoughts on “Discovered: Brain, Child Magazine”

  1. Steph says:

    So glad you’ve found Brain, Child and that you like it so much. Clearly you have excellent taste — after all, you called me “wonderful.” 😉

  2. Flattered — & agreed: Brain Child is, in its way, a home base. I have loved it from the get go. Glad you found it!

  3. Carrie says:

    I’ve never heard of this magazine and it sounds really fabulous. Must go look it up.

  4. Heidi says:

    Oh, to think I’ve been meaning to ask if you knew this magazine! I had a similar reaction reading my first issue. Like a big long glass of exactly what I needed and had no idea existed.

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