Pitching My Tent : On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith
Following the enormous success of her two bestselling novels, The Red Tent and Good Harbor, award-winning author Anita Diamant delivers a book of intimate reflections on the milestones, revelations, and balancing acts of life as a wife, mother, friend, and member of a religious community.
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, Anita Diamant was a columnist. Over the course of two decades, she wrote essays about friendship and family, work and religion, ultimately creating something of a public diary reflecting the shape and evolution of her life -- as well as the trends of her generation.
Pitching My Tent collects the finest of these essays, all freshly revised, updated, and enriched with new material, forming a cohesive and compelling narrative. Organized into six parts, the shape of the book reflects the general shape of adult life, chronicling its emotional and practical milestones. There are sections on marriage and the nature of family ("Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage"); on the ties that bind mother and child ("My One and Only"); on the demands and rewards of friendship ("The Good Ship"); on the challenges of balancing Jewish and secular calendars ("Time Wise"); on midlife ("In the Middle"); and on what it means to embrace Judaism in today's culture ("Home for the Soul").
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Pitching My Tent by Anita Diamant
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, I was a columnist.
I wrote essays about friendship and fashion, about marriage and electoral politics, about abortion, lingerie, situation comedies, birth, death, God, country, and my dog. I covered the waterfront and the supermarket, my synagogue, the waiting room outside the intensive care unit, and my own kitchen table.
I did this over the course of twenty years for publications that included a weekly newspaper with a mostly twenty-something readership, and later for a Sunday-magazine audience of millions. I wrote for food lovers in a New England magazine, for the parents of young children in a national publication, and for an international Jewish audience in an on-line magazine. Most of the time, my assignment was weekly; sometimes, it was monthly.
My job was to report on the events of the day and the changes under my own roof. The challenge was to pay closer-than-average attention and then shape my experiences and reactions into entertaining prose that rose above the level of my own navel. It was more than a great job -- it was a meaningful job.
This collection, culled from those publications and years, turns out to be a sort of diary. It includes musings about the contents of my refrigerator as well as reflections about the most important decisions of my life. To divorce and marry again. To have a child. To live a Jewish life.
I suppose it's a measure of how much the world has changed that what once seemed like "edgy" choices now seem fairly mainstream. But at the time, I was thinking and doing things that were simply unimaginable for women at any other period in human history. Having been born female, white, and middle class in the United States, in the middle of the twentieth century, meant the women's movement happened to me, in me, for me. It meant that it was highly unlikely that I would die in childbirth, and it meant that I could teach my daughter to speak in her own voice. It meant I could love my work and love my family. And it meant that there was an audience for what I had to say about the trials and joys of this girl's life.