Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's my delight to play host(ess) today to my friend Andi Buchanan's Blog Book Tour. Andi is currently winging through cyberspace to spread the word about her fabulous new anthology, IT'S A BOY: Women Writers on Raising Sons (and I am not just saying it's fabulous because I contributed an essay to the book. It's a funny, honest, sometimes heart-wrenching collection about the joys and challenges of mothering a son. Contributors include such luminaries as Caroline Leavitt, Rochelle Shapiro, Susan Ito, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and many others.)

You can read Andi's wonderful introduction to IT'S A BOY here, and a great Q & A about the anthology (complete with adorable pictures of Andi and her two kids) here.

My essay in the book, "Zen and the Art of Extracurricular Activities", explores my attempt to reconcile my identity as a pacifist with my son's desire to learn archery and play paintball. Happily, Arin has drifted away from these violence-tinged pursuits since I wrote the essay, but now I have another similar dilemma on my hands. My husband is the proud owner of a new air pellet gun, which his friend gave him for his birthday. He has promised not to shoot at any living creatures (I am going to have to show him the recent Comment a couple of posts down about the lasting regret that can come from shooting a bird with such a gun). He prefers inanimate targets. Still, I hate to see that clear plastic weapon, which sits on his desk right across the office from my desk, a canister of pellets next to it looking suspiciously like candy. Of course, my son is intrigued by the gun and has shot it a few times in the back yard. Of course I cringe any time either of them pick it up. My daughter, like me, has no interest in the thing.

Living with boys--and I'm counting my husband as a boy in this case--is a constant learning process. Like Andi, I grew up without boys in the house (my half-brother was grown by the time I was born), and boys always seemed like such alien creatures to me. I never had an ultrasound when I was pregnant with Arin, but I knew from the beginning that he was a boy. I could feel it. I could feel that I was in for a grand and wild adventure. I was right. Having a son is like landing on a whole new planet. It's a planet I love, a planet I am so happy to be able to explore, but it's definitely foreign ground. Now that Arin is a teenager, the ground feels even more uncharted to me, but he's an excellent (not to mention tall--how did he get so tall?!) tour guide. It's a real privelege to share this house with him, to watch him grow into a kind and funny and intelligent man. He may become a man who shoots off a pellet gun every now and again, but I know he has a healthy respect, and a healthy desire, for peace in the world, as well.

Andi, who is the author of the groundbreaking momoir, Mothershock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It, has two more books coming out over the next several months--Literary Mama: Reading for the Matenally Inclined, and IT'S A GIRL: Women Writers on Raising Daughters. I am lucky enough to be represented in both of them. I'll be sure to share more info when the books come out. As if she's not busy enough, Andi is also working on a novel--you can read a tantalizing excerpt here. She has just embarked upon National Novel Writing Month, which I'm thrilled about, because I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Good luck, Andi, with NaNo, with the Blog Book Tour, with mothering, with everything! It is a pleasure to know you.

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