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Pickle Me This

December 1, 2014

My Favourite Things About The M Word in the world

the-m-word-coverA year ago, contemplating the year-to-come, the main event was going to be the launch of The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood, the book of which I was editor and contributor. I was excited, terrified, and disbelieving, and the whole experience turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s been eight months now, and to mark The M Word‘s time in the world, I’ve made a list of all my favourite things about the book’s reception by a rather generous universe.

1) It was a best-seller. In Winnipeg, which is the best place to be best-sold, the book sharing a list with Donna Tartt and Gillian Flynn, among others.

2) When reviewer Deborah Ostrovsky placed the book inside a “strong Canadian tradition of public discourse on motherhood, from the late journalist June Callwood’s interviews with unwed teenaged mothers to Marni Jackson’s memoirs, and anthologies like Double Lives and Between Interruptions.”

3) That the book inspired women to tell stories they’d never told before.

4) That my essay about abortion and motherhood came out in the same year as One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories, Katha Pollitt’s Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, and Kaleigh Trace’s story in Hot, Wet and Shaking. Women are more empowered to speak out about the reality of their lives than we’ve ever been. It’s good company.

5) Rachel Harry’s review in The National Post, that left me sobbing at my kitchen table on a sunny April afternoon. I hadn’t had such a visceral reaction to anything else, except the birth of my children. Seriously.

iris6) All the other writers, reviewers and/or bloggers who wrote about it too. I’m so grateful for your consideration and thoughtful responses. For the attention by radio and newspaper journalists too.

7) The time my friend came across the book sitting on a table in her mother-in-law’s house. And the time someone else saw somebody reading it on the subway.

8) The baby head cookies.

8.1) Bunting!

9) The amazing indie bookstores that hosted our events—Ben McNally’s in Toronto (and oh, that launch was a dream come true), A Novel Idea in Kingston, Different Drummer Books in Burlington, Shelf Life Books in Calgary, Russell Books in Victoria, McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton, Another Story Bookshop in Toronto, and Parent Books in Toronto. Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge too! These stores are essential for authors who want to get their books into readers’ hands. I’m grateful also to Chapters Indigo, who did a great job having copies of the book prominently displayed. (Goose Lane’s sales reps too deserve a lot of the credit for this too. One benefit of working with an excellent publisher.)

10) And finally, my tenth favourite thing about The M Word in the universe is that it would make a find Christmas gift for somebody in your life—anybody who ever had a mother, is a mother, runs away shrieking at the thought of mothers (or their children, at least). Each of these people will find a bit of their own experience in some of these stories, and will be amused, heartened and/or challenged by some of the others. I’m proud of this book, and so grateful for generosity of all those people who were a part of it—which probably means you!

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