Archive for March 2011

The Wishing Tree

I was born in Tokyo, as was my mother; a college housemate lives there now, writing for Reuters, as do my cousins, who work (currently non-stop) for the American Embassy. There are writers I care about who live in Japan, like Literary Mama’s co-editor for fiction, Suzanne Kamata, and one of the contributors to the anthology I’m working on now. Luckily, no one I know has been hurt by the quake and tsunami, but of course tens of thousands of people have — I can’t bring myself to look up the latest numbers, they are so devastating.

There are tangible things one can do to help those in Japan, of course — give money; shop at a Bakesale for Japan; read for Japan — but I am a strong believer in the power of prayer — or good wishes, or positive thinking, whatever you want to call it. So I was so pleased when a school parent organized a wishing tree project at school. She arranged for the donation of a Japanese maple, one of the kindergarten teachers made the blank tags, and students, faculty, staff and parents have been adding their wishes every day. Here is a tiny sample of their many sweet wishes:

March 9th is World Read Aloud Day!

I’m happy to serve again this year as San Francisco’s ambassador for World Read Aloud Day, an event organized by LitWorld to call attention to the power and pleasures of reading aloud.  Litworld reminds us that nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name and asks, “What would you miss most if you could not read or write? Imagine your world without words.”
LitWorld works with teachers, parents, community members, and children to support the development of sustainable literacy practices across the world.

In San Francisco, I’ll be celebrating by reading to kids at Books, Inc. in Laurel Village. Join us from 6 – 7 PM for a pajama party reading; anyone who donates $10 or more to LitWorld will be entered into a raffle for these delicious hot chocolate cubes. Bring the kids in their pj’s for a fun evening outing!

Nine is Fine

Nine observations about nine:

It’s my favorite number, squared.

It’s the number of innings in my favorite sport.

It’s the number of months (approximately) a baby gestates.

It’s the number of lives a cat enjoys.

It’s the number of squares in a game of tic-tac-toe.

It’s the number of planets I grew up with (sorry, Pluto, we miss you).

It’s an expression — dressed to the nines! — for looking fabulous, for going the distance — the whole 9 yards — and, if you’re on cloud nine, you might feel as I do today, celebrating my firstborn’s ninth year. Happy birthday, Ben!

Mama at the Movies: Rabbit Hole

Since becoming a parent, I can’t really tolerate scary movies but sad movies still draw me in. The recent film Rabbit Hole, based on the play by David Lindsay-Abaire, is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Here’s an excerpt from my recent column:

I took myself off to see Rabbit Hole alone, tissues at hand, ready to handle the weepy. Nicole Kidman plays Becca, whose four-year-old son Danny was struck by a car and killed eight months before the film’s action. Becca is the center of the action, in practically every scene, and she’s not necessarily an easy object of sympathy. She’s brusque with her sister, rude to her mom, detached and eye-rolling at a grief group. When another of the parents suggests that God must have taken her child because he needed another angel, Becca can’t keep quiet any longer: “Why didn’t he just make another angel? He’s God, after all.”

Please click on over to Literary Mama to read the rest.