Monthly Archives: October 2013

Review of Homeward Bound

Emily Matchar, a journalist and writer based in Chapel Hill for at least part of the year, published a book, Homeward Bound, on the movement toward reclaiming the domestic arts for women among twenty- and thirtysomethings, which she coins as “the New Domesticity.”  When she sought reviewers (meaning my copy was free), I jumped at the chance because I’ve been fascinated by the do-it-yourself attitude of our generation: chicken raising, canning everything, and covering every body part in some form of cable knit. I often feel like I’m the only person I know who doesn’t want to sew her own dresses or make radish pickles. I admit to being amused at the misadventures my friends have trying to keep chickens alive. I get the appeal of gardening and the pride of wearing something you’ve made yourself, but it all takes so much work. And time. And I manage to fill up all my time with work as it is. Why would I want to add more?

Which is what Matcher’s books asks: Why are more and more people spending their time making their own vinegar or sewing their own cloth diapers? Is this a trend backward or forward? What are its roots? Matchar interviewed many women, and some men, who are partaking in the more extreme ends of this movement by taking themselves off the grid, committing to attachment parenting, and/or blogging all about the experience and making careers out of making homes. There’s no judgment in the book, and Matchar deftly handles the irony of a generation of people returning to what their feminist forbears fought to get away from. In fact, many of the women in the book frame reclaiming the domestic arts as an act of feminism, as having the right to choose whether to have a career or a life in the home and to relearn the skills that were taken from them due to being deemed oppressive.

Blog Update: Look, it’s migrated!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve (or rather, my husband has) moved my food, drink, and travel blog over to my main website. This is effectively me saying “Screw niche blogging!” and keeping all forms of my writing together. It’s probably silly, but I always felt bad when I posted about my fiction writing on the Gourmez, like I was interrupting my readers’ feast to say, “Hey! There’s this other thing I do too! See! Read my things on the bookshelves behind the dinner table!”

So now it’s all in one place, and I think I like the change. It feels more authentic to me somehow, like all of Becca the Writer is now on display. I’ve also begun taking my camera out to restaurants again, so I think that means I’m nearly settled in here in the Bay Area. I’m not going to maintain the three posts a week I was doing in North Carolina–that was just insane of me in the first place, especially because I contribute columns to All My Writers on a weekly basis as well. But I will aim for twice weekly posts about food and drink, mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And when I have other things to share with you, it’ll just pop up randomly on another day of the week like this blog today. Sound good?

My husband assures me that no RSS feeds need to be updated, but I don’t know if that’ll always be the case, so there’s no harm in clicking that little button on the top of the page to get the feed for this site instead. And I know most my blog readers are North Carolina based at present, but I hope you’ll still find my food adventures worth exploring from 3,000 miles away. For once, my Californian friends are enjoying seeing places they can go instead. I think that’s a fair turnaround after six years of blogging.

Me and my cousin Daniel doing the tourist thing in North Beach.

Me and my cousin Daniel doing the tourist thing in North Beach.

And now back to fiction for the rest of today. I’ve got a giant bird I need to wrangle into a short story. It flew out of the last half somehow, and now I must lure it back in. As always, thanks for reading!

Fiction Bragging — “Blow ‘Em Down” released at Beneath Ceaseless Skies!

I am thrilled to announce that you can now read my steampunk retelling of the Battle of Jericho, “Blow ‘Em Down,” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies Special 5th Anniversary Double Issue #151!

The full text of the story is now available on BCS‘s website for free, along with the rest of the fantastic stories in the issue. On that page, you will find download links for all e-reader types that you can also use to acquire the issue for free.

Of course, I would encourage you to purchase the issue for your e-readers because I think it’s worthwhile to support good art, and I hope you will think “Blow ‘Em Down” qualifies as good art. If you agree, you can make that wallet-busting $0.99 purchase at Amazon or at Weightless Books.

And now for your teaser,

From our brass band’s vantage point at the Gilgal plains, the glass dome was impenetrable. An immense central copper tube supported it, using a full city block for its foundation and generating energy for the whole town by absorbing the sun rays trapped within the glass. One skygate operated through the top of the dome, opening only to let merchant airships and their escorts in and out. The ships floated by so high, we could barely make out what was seared into their taut material: giant brands bearing profiles of the cityscape. The same image, embossed in a black pattern, circumnavigated the dome’s bottom edge. A single word in bold typeset appeared above each repetition:  Jericho.

They never sent so much as a volley our way. Who could blame them? We looked a sorry mess after forty years spent crossing the desert, but we were many. Forty days our parents had been told, but as it turned out, solar-powered chariots don’t work so well in the desert. The salt from the Red Sea air had rusted most of their steel frames within days of the crossing, leaving us with only a handful, and those were barely powerful enough to raise one person off the sand at a time. Then there was the pillar of smoke blocking out half the sky. Little sun meant less energy for our solar cells to regenerate. When the pillar lit up like a fireball that forgot to fly at night, we tried to mine the heat, but we never could get the calibrations right.

Again, you can read the rest of “Blow ‘Em Down” right here.