On women not having it all

A recent, now widely circulating article in the Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” details the author’s difficult choice to renounce a brilliant career as the State Department’s director of policy planning to have more time with her family. Read it. It’s reassuring, in a grim way, this validation of basic math: if you have an 16 hour a day job it’s darn difficult to be a super-mom or even an adequate mom. You can hire nannies, but you can’t hire more hours in the day or energy to fill them. Something’s gotta give. Slaughter suggests some options without much conviction. Nothing substantial. How could she? Twenty-four hours stretch just so far.

In 1979, Dustin Hoffman became the sentimental hero in Kramer vs Kramer when he sacrificed the fast-track for fatherhood. Amazing. What a guy. Thirty-three years later, such a plot line would draw scarcely a yawn if the woman were the protagonist. Happens all the time. What’s the big deal?

I don’t have small children but I do have family and friends and try to have some political-social activity. You know that a lot of time spent writing will have its costs. Obviously. You know this as a logical truth, but every time there’s a choice to be made between the page and the XYZ demands of life, it hits me: “Oh, this is what ‘it’s gonna cost you’ means.This too has got to go.” One can be more efficient, delegate, let a lot of things go, sleep less, watch no TV, have no apps, treasure the moment, and so forth. But still, time’s winged chariot . . . I wish I had a snappy conclusion to this blog. Friends are coming to watch the World Cup and I’ve got chapter 13 to think about. Something’s gotta give.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

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Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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