Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mama Lama Ding Dong!

Gina, in a moment of prescience this past June, 2006:
I’m reading Ayun Halliday’s The Big Rumpus, which at times make me laugh out loud in recognition and appreciation, and at times makes me feel like a total square who is missing out on Real Life. I don’t like being made to feel that thinking Baby Gap clothes are cute makes me less of a person, but . . . I do get the sense sometimes that Halliday feels that way. Is it me? Am I too sensitive? Is she really trying to draw lines? Can’t I like her without wanting to be just like her? Anyone?

To which a commenter promptly posted:
I happen to know for a fact that Ayun Halliday's kids wear clothes from Baby Gap, because ... I am Ayun Halliday! WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Of course they're all stained second handers from the Salvation Army, but i say we mothers gots to sticks together!!!
I would probably write that book differently now, but then again, I wouldn't write that book at all, because I find it difficult to remember what that period of motherhood was like, other than hard hard hard (and exhilarating and frustrating and back breaking and gratifying)
Anyhoo, I've got to feed these young uns some non-cyber food, so I will say goodbye for now.xo Courtney Love

Ohmigod! A famous commenter! A published author, whom we have read!
On! Our! Blog!
And the rest, as they say, is history.

Welcome to the 22nd stop on Ayun's virtual book tour for Mama Lama Ding Dong, the UK release of The Big Rumpus.

I found Rumpus when I was gorging on mama lit right after Primo was born. I read Marion Winik's Lunchbox Chronicles, Ariel Gore's Mother Trip, Faulkner Fox's Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life, Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, and then, Ayun Halliday's The Big Rumpus.

I felt that I had found friends, sympathetic, funny, sarcastic, weirdo friends, who, just like me were struggling with every aspect of motherhood - the emotional turmoil, the anxiety to do right by your precious child, the physical rigors of childbirth and recovery, the battle of the bulge, but mostly the sleep deprivation and slow, sure demise of brain cells and sanity.

I wanted to pull up a chair (and a Sharpie) to Ayun's kitchen table and hang with her and Inky. I cried reading her mash note to Milo, how did she know just how I felt about my darling baby boy, who was busy screaming his head off 24-7 but whom I loved madly anyway? I wanted to sit on a bench at the playground with her, protecting our offspring from sand-hill-kicking bullies. I'd like to go on, but the baby is busy trying to climb the stairs.

So I am pleased as punch that a whole new audience will get to experience Ayun's terrific book.

So, what do you do when you meet a new potential friend? You find out what she likes to read, of course! Several months ago a meme rounded the blogs - a Required Reading list for YOU. The blogger. So I sent that idea to Ayun, and she dug it - and here it is:

Ayun Halliday 101 (or "Required Reading for a Mama Lama Ding Dong")

* * * * * *
Early Influences (Or “How I Became A City Dude in the Heart of the Heartland”)

All of A Kind Family
The Outsiders
The Saturdays
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Pushcart Wars
Oliver Twist
The New Yorker Cartoon Anthology

My Sexual Self Education (Or “I Wish Someone Had Given Me A Pamphlet”)

The New Yorker Cartoon Anthology
The Other Side of Midnight
MAD Magazine

My Counter-Cultural Education (Or “This Probably Could Have Been Avoided If I’d Gotten That Pamphlet”)

Living On the Earth
A Child’s Garden of Grass
Head Comix
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
R. Crumb’s Head Comix
Flashing On the Sixties

Travels Abroad (Or Misty Water Colored Memories”)

Europe Through The Back Door
Lonely Planet’s South East Asia On A Shoestring
International Bob
Impossible Vacation
A Cook’s Tour
Hot Sour Salty Sweet

Humorous Discourse (Or “If I Could Ever Bring Myself to Abbreviate the Phrase Laugh Out Loud, I Might Be Tempted to Do So Here”),

The Underminer
What’s Not To Love?
I Love You More Than You’ll Know
Barrel Fever
Uncle Shelby’s A B Z’s
Sex and Death To The Age 14

Literary Studies (Or “Dang, Wish I Could Write Like That”)

The Grapes of Wrath
Ship of Fools
In Cold Blood
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Perennial Favorites (Or “Reading Material to Bring on A Three-Hour Tour, Just In Case We Wind Up Marooned on an Island and Have to Read the Same Things Over and Over Until Help Arrives, Assuming Help Arrives”)

Sex and Death To The Age 14
Shock Value
One Hundred Demons
Essays of E. B. White
The Complete Essays of Mark Twain
Love and Rockets

Perennial Favorites, Juvenile Division (Or “Why We Won’t Be Bringing That Damn Finding Nemo Book with Us When We Wind Up Marooned on an Island and Have to Read the Same Things Out Loud to the Children Until Help Arrives, If It Ever Does”)

Little Vampire Goes To School
Charlotte’s Web
Stuart Little
The Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business
The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters

Care and Feeding of The Young (Or “Fuck That Reductive ‘Momoir’Shit!”

The Blue Jay’s Dance
The Mother Trip
Spiritual Midwifery
Morning, Noon, and Night
The Lunchbox Chronicles
The Kid
Twenty Days With Julian and Little Bunny by Papa

Quiet Reading Time (Or “Strangely, I Am Better Able To Appreciate Poetry Whilst Moving My Bowels”

The Tunnel: Selected Poems of Russell Edson

* * * * * * * *

And in case you still need more Ayun, all the time, check out these excellent and insightful interviews with Ms Halliday:

And, of course, the lovely Ms Halliday's personal website, Dare to Be Heinie!

And no, I don't know what that means anymore than I did egg-in-my-beer.


Badger said...

Ayun Halliday did Joke's meme? There will be no living with him now.

I heart Marion Winik and I'm so sad that she moved away from Austin.

lazy cow said...

OK, now I've read her book meme answers I'm convinced I need to read her book. (I'll get the library onto that asap). You and Gina are so cool :-)

Karla said...

I wish I had kids so I could write a book about them. ;-)

But if I did, I would include the Ayun library, plus the Harriet the Spy trilogy.

Sarah Louise said...

So excited I got to visit, on the day!

What a well read writer Ayun is!
How I wish I'd read the Outsiders b4 library school...

I can't think of anything else brilliant to say, except, I better get on getting a copy of Ayun's book!

Suse said...

Will you still talk to us, now you've hit the big time and are hanging out with the A list?

Joke said...

I think I have been, thus far, very magnanimous in not touting Ayun Halliday's incomparable taste in memes.