Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
by Joy E. Stocke
I can bring home the Bacon!
Fry it up in a Pan!
And Never, Never, Never let you forget You’re a Man!
‘Cause I’m a Woman!
(1979 – Charles of The Ritz Creates Enjoli. The New 8 Hour Perfume for The 24 Hour Woman.)
I can’t say exactly where the conversation began. But, it seems I’ve been having it one way or another for most of my life: with other women, with men, with men and women, and constantly with myself.
In our so-called modern world, how do we come to terms with the biological fact that women have the ability to run governments, go to war, work in the field, carry and bear children, and fry up the damned bacon, often earning less than our male counterparts? And let’s not forget that the bearing children part of the equation has an expiration date.
Recently, at brunch with my mother, I mentioned that in addition to her and my father, my German immigrant, factory-working grandfather had been highly influential in my pursuit of a journalism degree and a literary career path.
While playing Chinese Checkers or Crazy Eights (both of which he let me win) Grandpa Erich would say, “You vill go to college and you vill haf a career.”
I never doubted him. And what about a husband and children? I wanted both.
My mother, ah my mother who came of age in the late ’50s, who refuses to watch the television show Mad Men, because “I remember those days well enough, thank you,” her mother, my grandmother, Grete–former cleaning lady and baker of the most extraordinary Streusel Coffee Cake on the planet–had no use for college for her firstborn, first American daughter. No, my mother would marry an ambitious young man and have babies.
Which, she did. Four of them; me being the oldest, and if not the most brilliant, she might say, ‘the most driven.’ To this day, my beautiful, stylish, articulate, well-read mother will bring up the fact that in her community, she is one of two women who did not, in fact, go to college. But what about her driven eldest daughter?
While, I never doubted I would earn a living as a writer, I never imagined that once I was married and had my own daughter, how split I would feel over my domestic responsibilities (Yes, I can get stains out of any fabric.). Leben or arbeiten – Work or love?
Or, perhaps the choice to become an artist?
Artists, who often refer to their art as their baby, might say the choice to devote themselves to their craft is as demanding and rewarding as mothering a child. In Philadelphia, a new initiative is lighting a path from warehouse to church, spotlighting artists, characters, and intellectuals in the nomadic art salon called the Fourth Wall.
And so, this month, with the confirmation of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Elaine Kagan and the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor–women of my generation who are both single and childless–Wild River Reviewexplores the roles of women and men in a world where “choice” comes with consequences.
In her Essay, Me and Edvard Munch, Phyllis Ward brings us back to the year Enjoli Perfume was introduced, and explains how a painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch helped her reconcile her choice to fully pursue a career as a producer for a major television network.
Hmmm… I knew women who were terrific mothers, I knew women who had great marriages and I knew women who had major careers. But all three? No, I didn’t. I could think of a handful that were successful at two out of three…
Fire Season has begun in the western United States. In the 1950s, Jack Kerouac famously and romantically chronicled his 63-day stint in a fire tower on Desolation Peak, Washington state. But what about Fire Watchers who spend six months of the year on remote mountaintops watching for fires that can devestate old growth forests? Janice Gable Bashman profiles Kathryn Ball, the only female Fire Watcher in Sequoia National Forest.
“Initially I became a fire watcher just so I could survive,” she says. “Now, I’m doing it because I love it…It’s made me realize what a huge role lookouts play in the lives of people associated with the forest. What strikes me is when girls come up to the lookout. They can’t believe I live without a TV, blowdryer, makeup, etc. Then they start thinking it’s pretty neat and ask how they can do it. How can I get this kind of job?”
Ball is the first to admit that working as a lookout is challenging, and especially difficult to spend five to six months away from friends and family. The lifestyle can take its toll, and Ball is no exception.
In his third dispatch from Afghanistan, DISPATCHES – Camp Delhi, Helmand Province: Headquarters 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, combat artist Michael Fay illustrates and describes the rigors of being a marine in one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous provinces. And raises an important issue, Where are the women?
There’s a minor statistic that doesn’t get a whole lot of play in the coverage of Afghanistan. In fact, based on my own observations, I would classify this bit of information as little more than a rumor. But the Marine Corps, being what it is, has decided to take this data and run with it. This is the unsubstantiated claim I’m referring to; half the population of Afghanistan is women…
Sergeant Melissa Hernandez is an MP (military police) by trade…She’s as geared up as any Marine I’ve ever seen, along with a team of two other female Marines and a female Navy corpsman. They’re on their way outside the wire to meet with local women. In my humble opinion these women are doing more than the entire National Organization of Women put together…
Landscape artist Peter Soderman is back with all his machismo in tact. He travels to the Dominican Republic bound for Haiti hoping to assist Dr. Paul Farmer and the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.
Last February I landed in a resort hotel in the Dominican Republic…I was unappointed, unheralded, uninvited and unsummoned, but I mounted my steed, anyway, to lend the Haitians a New Jersey Blue Collar helping hand.
Instead, I remained chained to the judgment throne of a plastic chair beside the hotel’s swimming pool. For one week, I watched people sheathed in suntan petroleum float across the pool. While corpulent vacationers soaked in a hot tub of uncaring humanity, I thought about the man I’d met two years earlier, a man the Haitians and the International Medical establishment called Dokte Paul or just Doctor Paul Farmer, the man who would cure the world…
And In Orbit columnist Dorion Sagan, son of two of the world’s most influential scientists, biologist, Lynn Margulis and astronomer Carl Sagan, explores the mysteries within and of our planet: Of Whales and Aliens – The Search for Intelligent Life on Earth.
If such whales with whom we share this oceanic planet remain deeply mysterious, intelligent aliens in our midst, the same may also be true of a far larger being, even closer to us. I speak of the planetary biosphere of which we humans seem to be minute parts, not unlike some of the cells of our own bodies which, if they are sentient, which some may well be, likely have zero conception of the coffee-sipping, car-driving wholes of which they are part…
Desk Jockey packs up his bike and travels to a country I know well, Greece. I’ve spent many hours roaming the city of Athens, particularly the environs of the Acropolis. My only experience of violence, if one could call it that (and some feminists do), were tacky catcalls from bored men at the local cafés.
The riots that engulfed Athens this spring, alarmed Desk Jockey, but didn’t deter him from making his way to Crete.
Old men in dark suit jackets over baggy trousers hobbled with canes in the middle of these roads, oblivious to automobile traffic (because there basically wasn’t any). If they weren’t on foot, they were surrounded by a group of men just like themselves at small cafes playing backgammon in the midday sun, puffing away at cigarettes and drinking small cups of coffee…
Again, one might ask the question. Where are the women?
Many years ago, on a spring morning in Crete, a line of verse came to me as I stood outside a cave where the locals lit votives to the Virgin Mary: The women swim through time…
I had recently been on vacation with my family on the island of Mykonos. We had then gone to Athens for a few days. One night in our hotel near the Acropolis, I settled in for a bath when I heard a knock on the door. In came my then eight-year-old daughter, who sat on the edge of the tub bringing with her all the mystery of our strange and confounding planet, a girl on the cusp of puberty for whom all was possible.
My daughter sits on the edge
of a deep narrow tub
and washes my back.
I close my eyes and smile
as she says,
Now, we’ll wash your hair…
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul