Diapers. As ‘arranged’ by my toddler.

In the last century, there have been many ongoing conversations about the difficulty — or sheer impossibility — of balancing a working life with a family life. These have included many heated discussions around domestic tasks, and who ought to take care of what in a household: cleaning, cooking, repairs, bills, errands, pets… and, above all, children. The focus and tone of these conversations vary, and in the last year of rampant pandemic and rolling lockdowns, they have taken on a whole new kind of urgency. …

The toddler as Romantic hero

When I first decided to give motherhood a go, I assumed that if I was able to have one baby, I would go ahead and try for another. It seemed to me that once you’d gone through the complete and harrowing life-shift between not being a parent to being a parent, you might as well have a pair of children, who could play with each other.

I began to question that assumption once my son was born. Don’t get me wrong: being a mom is awesome. I have tried many, many things on this planet, and not one of them…

I’ve answered to a lot of names and titles, but none have offered anything like the pride and pleasure of ‘Mama’.

A few years back, when I was thinking about becoming a mom, but was still wary of the idea, I was staying with a friend who had two very young daughters. Her husband was listing off some of the difficulties of early parenthood. Then he stopped, and said, “But it’s great.”

“That’s what people always say,” I told him. “They give you this list of negatives and then conclude that ‘it’s great.’” I laughed at the dissonance.

“Well, the good bits kind of go without saying, don’t they?”

No, actually. They don’t. There isn’t any relationship where you give out…

The leap from not-mom to mom is a terrifying one for some of us. But I am glad I made it.

One of life’s great moments of truth.

Throughout my teens and twenties, I was convinced I would never have children. For lots of reasons; the primary one being that I just had no interest. No desire. And I knew what desire felt like. I had very strong desires in the realms of important things like jobs, boyfriends, travel, and cats. The thought of kittens, specific or general, filled me with delight. The though of children, specific or general, provoked feelings irritation at best. …

In which I surrender to a massive crush on Brian Eno, and strongly recommend you read his newly reissued diary.

It is October, 2005. I am a 20-year-old Alaskan, overseas for the first time, on a long-awaited study-abroad program at NUI Galway. The fact that I am really here feels a little extra surreal because it’s where my favorite novel, Juno & Juliet, is set. It’s written by some Irish fellow called Julian Gough, and it baffles me that any male could possibly write into being a female whose inner monologue so eerily matches my own. Twitter has not yet been invented, which means there’s no way to investigate him online, so I do it the old-fashioned way — I…

Did you grow up with parents who fought? I did. Mine fought loudly, and often. We lived in the woods, in Alaska, where a person could really carry on without having to worry about what the neighbors might think.

Those fights were often triggered by something that my brother and I had done, or failed to do. A water pistol battle out of hand, a chore not finished. Whatever it was, it would trigger a similar sequence of events:

1. Dad gets angry. Really angry.

2. Mom swoops in, to tell him not to swear at and/or thwack us.


The wedding cake of champions in ‘The Vegas of Europe’

Three years ago, I reconnected with an estranged friend. It had been nine years since we’d first met. For the first time in our rambling acquaintance, we were both single, and road-weary and humble enough to communicate honestly with each other. Much to our mutual surprise, we quickly came to the conclusion that we some kind of soul-mates, and that we should spend as much of the rest of our lives together as possible.

However, enacting this plan was complicated. For starts, I was an American who had just moved to Oregon, while he was an Irishman living in Germany…

I don’t know about yours, but my fur-baby is a tiny tiger. (photo by Chrononauts Photography)

Gum, spit, piss, bird shit, dog shit, broken glass, cigarette butts, the occasional splash of vomit, and garbage of all sorts — I keep my eyes peeled for the everyday detritus of the sidewalk. I try to also keep an eye on what’s ahead and behind: dogs that come sprinting out of nowhere, kids that come shrieking and cycling and bouncing balls, motorbikes and bicycles and trucks that come careening through intersections and over the curb.

I didn’t used to give too much thought to any of the stink and strangers of cities. In ballet flats and combat boots, I…

My intrepid little companion (photo by Chrononauts Photography)

I’ve never been much of a cyclist. At seven, I was the last of my friends to move on from training wheels, and only then under persistent peer-pressure. This was when I was practicing on dirt and gravel roads, in a hometown too small for stoplights. A quarter century later, I find myself living in Berlin, and find myself getting very stressed out cycling around such a major metropolis (cabs, busses, tram tracks, oblivious pedestrians, car doors opening, delivery trucks, bike lanes that abruptly disappear, other mental cyclists, etc). Its one saving grace is that it’s totally flat; because when…

My faithful companion, throughout all the weary hours.

Writing is the thing I do the most, and it’s probably the thing that I’m best at. Which is not a boast about how great my writing is, but a testament to how terrible I am at other things. Even though it’s the thing I do most, writing is still hard for me. For two chief reasons:

  1. Writing is hard. Period. To pull things from the ether, and from your life, and say exactly what you mean about them in an interesting way is notoriously challenging. …

Solana Joy

Writer. Rambler. Mother. Creature. Alaskan. Expat.

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