Sunday, January 07, 2007


My close friend, Erika Schickel, has just had her first book published, a collection of funny, insightful, biting, illuminating essays, many of which have been published over the past several years leading up to this achievement.

The book is entitled, You're Not The Boss Of Me: Adventures Of A Modern Mom, and nothing would make me happier than if every single Nettertainment readers would buy a copy.

This isn't just a ploy to boost her Amazon ranking, you'll actually have a great time. If you want a little sample of the goods first, there's a few of the article versions posted on her own site here. One audience pleaser is "Journey to Another Girl" wherein mom goes out with a girlfriend to a strip club for lap dances. When they first get to the club:
The 4Play vibe is kind of English Country meets Z Gallerie. Picture Ralph Lauren hip-deep in Victoria'’s juicy Secret. The decor is louche, plush, and just a little bit naughty. Heavy burgundy velvet drapes hang like swollen labia from the doors and walls. Over the bar a series of plastic female torsos hang like hunting trophies on a brick wall. They are headless and legless and have only arms and hands to clutch at themselves in randy bas-relief. They look like the pervy mannequins that got kicked out of Bloomingdale'’s window for misbehavior.

Maybe the major theme that runs across most of the essays is what so many of us who have aged from at least self-perceived rebel to responsible (one hopes) parent have had to grapple with: freedom vs., well, love. Family love. Free behavior, misbehavior, what have you is a path to growth we don't want to lose entirely, but can that survive the responsibilities of familyhood?

Just about all of Erika's ethical decisions are either bounced off her impeccably supportive husband, Doug, or filtered through her devotion to her two precious daughters, Franny and Georgia. The girls serve to focus her understanding of her own emotions, sometimes in the simplicity of her love for them, sometimes in her expectations both hopeful and fearful for their futures, sometimes in reflecting on what feelings her daughters themselves are revealing to better understand her own. And sometimes it's a little risky behavior, like smoking (in a terrific extended piece, a history of pleasure), that brings the necessary release from the pressures of parenting.

The essays are great as individual reads, literate yet conversational, but taken altogetherer there's a richness thanks to Erika's always expanding interests and consistently probing, prowling mind.

She's also aided by her experience as a live performer -- Erika knows how to make even the most heady stuff play -- and over January she'll be reading excerpts both in NYC and LA. If you're in one of those cities this month, check her out.

Who knows, you might even end up somewhere in her next book.


mernitman said...

It really is good stuff, isn't it? And Erika is a wonderful reader.

Enjoyed our brief Dutton meet, and still kicking myself for not having cited "Bringing Up Baby," as it is an all-time fave. Whenever I'm truly depressed, I run the scene of Cary, Kate and Asta (plus Baby) singing "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," and for a moment, all's right with the world again.

Enjoying your posts for their depth and pith. You're fightin' the good fight, sir, and I for one salute you.

Mark Netter said...

And a salutation back, mernitman!

Living the Romantic Comedy