In this deeply felt novel, Kate Moses recreates Sylvia Plath's last months, weaving in the background of her life before she met Ted Hughes through to the disintegration of their relationship and the burst of creativity this triggered. It is inspired by Plath's original ordering and selection of the poems in Ariel, which begins with the word 'love' and ends with 'spring,' a mythic narrative of defiant survival quite different from the chronological version edited by Hughes. At Wintering's heart, though, lie the two weeks in December when Plath finds herself still alone and grief-stricken, despite all her determined hope. With exceptional empathy and lyrical grace, Moses captures her poignant, untenable and courageous struggle to confront not only her future as a woman, an artist and a mother, but the unbanished demons of her past.
Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer. But sweetness of the more intangible variety was harder to come by. Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids.
A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter. Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents. Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield control.
Telling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her coming-of-age in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession. There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birds-and-bees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary M.F.K. Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious.”
Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness.
From the Hardcover edition.
the gritty truths and unreserved pleasures of contemporary motherhood.
Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood, which grew out of Salon's popular daily department of the same name, comprises nearly forty essays by writers grappling with the new and compelling ideas that motherhood has dangled before them. Elevating the discussion of motherhood above the level of tantrum control and potty training, this collection covers an unparalleled range of topics, from the impossibility of loving your children equally to raising a son without a father, from worrying that your privileged black child is becoming too "white" to the free-floating anger most mothers feel but wouldn't dare admit--except to other mothers. The intelligent, candid essays in Mothers Who Think are a testament to the notion that motherhood gives women more to think about, not less.
Coeditors Camille Peri and Kate Moses have assembled the best writing from the website's first two years, including works by "Mothers Who Think" regulars Anne Lamott, Chitra Divakaruni, Susie Bright, and Stephanie Coontz; eloquent new essays by Jayne Anne Phillips, Sallie Tisdale, Susan Straight, Jane Lazarre, Nora Okja Keller, Beth Kephart, Ariel Gore, and Alex Witchel; and more than a dozen un-forgettable new voices.
Irreverent, wistful, hilarious, fierce, tender, these essays offer an unsparing look at the myths and realities, serious and silly sides, and thankless and supremely satisfying aspects of being a mother.
Erin Aubry, Karen Grigsby Bates, Susie Bright, Stephanie Coontz, Chitra Divakaruni, Celeste Fremon, Mona Gable, Leslie Goodman-Malamuth, Ariel Gore, Arlene Green, Nora Okja Keller, Beth Kephart, Anne Lamott, Jane Lazarre, Lori Leibovich, Ceil Malek, Joyce Millman, Kate Moses, Beth Myler, Debra S. Ollivier, Camille Peri, Jayne Anne Phillips, Elizabeth Rapoport, Jennifer Reese, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Cynthia Romanov, Catherine A. Salton, Sandi Kahn Shelton, Rose Stoll, Susan Straight, Sallie Tisdale,
Kim Van Meter, Cathy Wilkinson, Alex Witchel
Adoption, Babysitters, Baths, Birth, Blenders, Bodies, Boys Without Men, Brothers, Car Pools, Cold Coffee, College, Cupcakes, Custody, Daughters, Death, Diapers, Divorce, Dramas, Dreams, Escape, Expectations, Experience, Fantasies, Fathers, Food, Grandmothers, Growing Up, Gumbo, Home, Hunger, Kiddie Pools, Language, Lists, Love, Memories, Mothers, Nursing, Pets, Pregnancy, Pride, Princesses, Rage, School, Separation, Sex, Single Mothers, Sippy Cups, Sisters, Sleep Deprivation, Smells, Soccer Moms, Sons, Stepmothers, Tantrums, Teenagers, Time, Vibrators, Waterbeds, Working Mothers, Writing Mothers
Because I Said So gives readers even more to think about. This new collection of fiercely honest essays edited by Peri and Moses captures the challenges of motherhood in the twenty-first century as no other book has. Writers such as Janet Fitch, Mariane Pearl, Mary Roach, Susan Straight, Margaret Talbot, Rosellen Brown, Beth Kephart, Ariel Gore, and Ana Castillo delve into the personal and the political, giving passionate expression to their relationships with their children and to their evolving sense of themselves. Provocative, candid, witty, and wise, their stories range from the anguish of giving up child custody to the guilt of having sex in an era of sexless marriages; from learning to love the full-speed testosterone chaos of boys to raising girls in a pervasively sexualized culture; from facing racial and religious intolerance with your children to surviving cancer and rap simultaneously.
Told in prose that is as unabashedly frank as it is lyrical, this is the collective voice of real mothers -- raised above the din -- in all their humor, anger, vulnerability, grace, and glory.