Friends! I’m eager to get back to writing in this space, but am in the midst of an intense amount of book edits …and am therefore so excited for friends like Rachel Marie Stone, who happen to launch books right when I need it the most. But in all seriousness, Rachel’s writing is like a breath of fresh air. Whether or not your body has given birth, with birth comes hope, and with hope light, and isn’t that exactly what we all need a drink of right now? Leave a comment below to win a copy of Birthing Hope, or check out Instagram on Thursday for additional ways to win. Good luck!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I’ve been writing and reading as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of reading books and writing stories. In the last ten years, I’ve lived in two different US states and three foreign countries, and now I teach high school English at a boarding school in New York, where I’m from. I’m almost always nervous. If I could live anywhere, I’d live in California, the further north the better.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Birthing Hope is about birth, love and death. In essence, it is a memoir seeking answers to the question: how do we go on living and loving in this fragile world where nothing is guaranteed and death is inevitable? In more detail, it is about the fascinating and disturbing reality of bodies, blood, and bones; of infectious disease, misogyny, and bigotry, and how we survive this trippy human condition.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? I get ideas in my head that nag at me. It might be AIDS or feminism or the history of hospitals or the strange things that happen when cultures bump up against each other. I read obsessively on the topics that interest me. So, for a while I was a doula and for a while I lived in one of the poorest countries in the world, and I saw babies being born in a hospital there. There is so much power and beauty in mother-love, and in the physical act of giving birth. It gave me hope even as it unsettled me deeply. That’s what’s behind and throughout this book.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I think this book can say different things to different readers. And I would hope that each reader will find what he or she most needs. But I suppose, fundamentally, that I hope that any reader will have her or his experience of the world enlarged or changed in some way. I think that’s what any good book does.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? I am a different person than I was when I first began writing this book. When I began it, I had some settled certainties about What People Should Do with respect to Various Life Decisions. Now I’m a lot less certain, and you will find pretty much zero pieces of advice in the book. I think all the meditation on mortality, poverty, and exploitation made me take my writing even more seriously.
How and where can we find you on the internet? I am pretty much an Instagram person: @rachelmariestone. And yes, that really is me out there hiking and rock climbing. I know, I know: it doesn’t seem to go with my anxious personality. I’m as surprised as you are.
Rachel Marie Stone is the author of Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Century, Sojourners, and more. Her previous books include the award-winning Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food and the 40th anniversary edition of The More-With-Less Cookbook. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her husband and two sons, and teaches high school English in a boarding school. Care to win a copy of Birthing Hope? Leave a comment below, telling Rachel why YOU’RE excited to read her words. Contest ends Friday, May 11th. Good luck!
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