Saturday, June 6, 2009

A SABRA' S THORNS AND FLOWERS
















By all accounts author Ayelet Waldman is a courageous woman. Susan Dominus, of The New York Times, calls her "a woman not to be be messed with." She rescues maidens in distress, she slays dragons, she takes on a raging audience on Oprah and emerges victorious. Diss her and if you are lucky, she will do no more than go home and write about it. She has the fabled Sabra (native born Israeli, fruit of the prickly pear cactus) charm, the charm of those who thumb their noses heat seeking missiles. Ask her a silly question an she zaps you with the verbal equivalent of sulfuric acid. Ask her a question that requires too long a long answer and she makes you look stupid--she probably would say that only you can yourself look stupid. She has a point there.
Some folks might conclude that such a lavish display of charm is overkill, but look at at this way, this is a woman who is true to her convictions, this is a woman who writes the way she lives, fearlessly. As far as I am concerned, this is a woman who can jolly well blow off some obscure blogger who has not bothered to read her latest book in its entirety. Instead, she takes the time to consider what is being asked of her and she answers promptly. Does any of this have anything to do with the quality of her writing? I think it does. So go buy Bad Mother and make sure you read the whole thing or else.





Ayelet Waldman is the author of The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace (due out May 5,2009), Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Daughter's Keeper and the Mommy-Track Mysteries. Her personal essays have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazine, including The New York Times, the Guardian, the San Francisco Chronicle, Elle Magazine, Vogue, Allure,Cookie, Child, Parenting, Real Simple, Health and Salon.com. Her radio commentaries have appeared on "All Things Considered" and "The California Report."

Ayelet's missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel.

The film version of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is now in post-production, with Don Roos as screenwriter and director, Natalie Portman in the lead role, and Lisa Kudrow and Scott Cohen also starring.






1. Is controversy a help or a hindrance for a writer?

For writing or sales? For writing it's irrelevant, but I imagine that it helps sales to a certain degree.

2. How do wish to be remembered?

Oh god, I don't know. I hope my kids remember me fondly. I hope my readers do the same, although that's less important to me.

3.What is that defines you as a writer?

WAY too broad and unanswerable a question.

4. What do you sacrifice in order to write?

Nothing. Writing has given me a perfectly delightful (kenahora) life. My schedule is my own - I am available to my kids whenever they need me. It's pretty damn great. But shhhh. Don't tell people that or they'll immediately drop everything and start penning autobiographical novels.

5. How does Judaism influence your writing?

Judaism influences my life, so it necessarily influences my writing. It's part of who i am.

6. You once said you were bipolar. Did you mean that you suffer from bipolar disorder? If so, how does that affect your work?
Yes, I suffer from bipolar disorder. Clearly you haven't read my book or you wouldn't have asked this question!

7. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
This is a silly question.

8. What do you say to a critic who claims that your writing is disorganized?
I don't read critics. I imagine that that person is a buffoon. I'm hyperorganized.

9. What do you say to readers who miss your crime fiction?
Clearly not enough of them miss it as they didn't buy it when I was writing it. Alas.

10. What would you say to your former classmate, Barack Obama, about the state of the arts in the United States?

He was the first candidate ever to have an arts policy, and as president he's followed through admirably. He doesn't need me hocking him a tchainik.


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