Thursday, April 17, 2008

An evening with Anna Quindlen

I was fortunate enough to spend tonight at a benefit for the Philadelphia Birth Center - a independent childbirth/pre-natal/post-partum/womenfolk type organization. Not only was it a chance to support an organization that supports women's health (something I'm always for), but the centerpiece was a live interview with Anna Quindlen.

I'm not excessively familiar with her work - I've read a few excerpted NYT columns, and such. But she was such a central figure in my mothers life, as she read her way through Quindlen's experience with child-rearing, and therefore her own with myself and my brother. It is always refreshing to hear someone speak who puts our world in a new light, or at least a more clever one.

The two ideas that stood out most to me were her comments on the next (my) generation. She said that we were a group of people who were embracing a "whole life" attitude, balancing a need to work with finding situations that would allow us to be whole people, with lives.

Living in DC, it's hard to believe that those people exist, sometimes. I have gotten to the point where seeing OTHER people use crackberries makes me twitch.

The other comment was one on how we are a generation with a greater commitment to community service than any other. Particularly, that we were a group that grew up "sitting in a circle in preschool" We were raised to be aware of our connections to others.


It is interesting, that us, unlike our parents, were given a direct sense that a group of people were connected - that we should share our thoughts and feelings with others, help one another, be responsible for certain aspects (snack, naptime) that benefited the group. Though I've heard enough reports bemoaning our self-centeredness, our feeling of deserving praise simply for existing (because we are special, dammit), we are also a generation that feels a great sense of connection to our peers, and tries to keep those connections, whether it be through physical social interaction or the myriad of online connections we make to others. We are recreating the carpet circle on a grand scale, and telling our whole world what we did over the weekend.

My thoughts on her commentary on feminism or the progress in women's rights would take far too many pages, and more words than I can type successfully tonight. But I point you to her work as an slice of life, of a woman who shaped many of our mothers views on motherhood - and therefore our lives as well.

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