Alice Walker Talks About Feminism, But Not About Motherhood
There was an everydaughter-size elephant in the auditorium last night as old friends Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker, in conversation at the 92nd Street Y, talked about almost everything — meditation, California, Rwanda, George Bush (he’s bad!), peaches (mean freedom!), and mothers (complicated!). But they did not talk about Walker’s daughter, Rebecca, the feminist writer — and also Steinem’s goddaughter — who revealed in her recent book, Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence that she is estranged from her Pulitzer-winning parent. (Okay, maybe it wasn’t entirely surprising: In Rebecca’s earlier book, Black, White and Jewish, she wrote about feeling emotionally neglected as a child.) “I am always happy to talk about my mother,” said Walker at the discussion. “My mother was a big woman, a strong woman, a beautiful woman, a woman who could not be beaten.” But there wasn’t a word on being a mother herself — not that there weren’t opportunities.
in other news
Alice Walker Confesses Tracy Chapman Affair to Someone Other Than Oprah
Fresh off the recent Riverside Church reading of Oprah-ordained author Alice Walker, the Guardian’s Sarah Wajid buttonholes the author in Soho and gets her to dish on leaving Random House and comparing herself to a fig tree. But the interview also includes this official bomb:
I tell her people are still fascinated by her love affair with the singer Tracy Chapman in the mid-1990s. Moments earlier she had said firmly but politely that she didn’t want to answer any questions about her family life … So I was surprised to see her face light up at the mention of Chapman. “Yeah I loved it too. Absolutely.”
So why did they decide against using their relationship to make a big social impact like other celebrity lesbian couples, such as Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, have in the past? The idea seems to amuse her. “I would never do that. My life is not to be somebody else’s impact — you know what I mean?”
Wait … Alice Walker is going on the record about having an affair with Tracy Chapman in THE GUARDIAN? Be sure to catch next week’s Oprah to see if you can register the note of quiet betrayal; check out YouTube for inevitable Rosie clip.
No Retreat [The Guardian]