New Piece on Multi-Racial Fam Life on MUTHA

My piece about recent conversations I’ve had with my family about race and racism is up on Mutha Magazine, and it’s been a gentle and supportive place to come back to writing. I’m so grateful that the response has been warm and kind. Readers just seem to get that this one is a little tender. Check it out:

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RHEA ST. JULIEN Talks With Her 4-Year-Old About Race

 

New Piece on Hip Mama

I’m on Hip Mama today with a piece about how my interracial family has been effected by the recent non-indictment verdicts.

The Politics of Dreamlife: Showing Up In Our Interracial Relationships

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#BlackLivesMatter

Say It Aloud: Lit Readings

This summer, I was asked to participate in two readings. This was a new experience for me – previously I have always been the one pitching, trying to get in to readings. It was exciting and encouraging to be invited.

Image by Anna Yarrow

Image by Anna Yarrow

The first reading was in Quincy, CA, as a part of the Wayward Writers 2nd Annual Reading. It was in this fabulous art deco bar, and curated by Margaret Garcia AKA Maggie Wells. I was in tremendous company with a group of writers I respect and love. I read a nonfiction piece that I thought was really dark, but through the reading of it, I found the humor. The piece got a lot of laughs, and it turned what had been a traumatic experience for me into something I felt I could claim.

Image by Michelle Gonzales

Image by Michelle Gonzales

The second reading was in Oakland, CA, on a rooftop with views of the whole city. This was the launch of Milcah Orabecedo’s Motherblazing Press, and a goodbye party for her, as she was moving to Portland. Again, I was in really wonderful company with writers I admire greatly, and this marked the second time I got to read with Michele Gonzales, a heroine of mine. It was an empowering experience. I read another nonfiction piece, one about my dad teaching me how to fight. It was so fun to embody him and bring him to life for people who have never met him.

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This fall, I was invited to read in Lit Quake here in my own city of San Francisco! I am excited to bring what I learned out and about this summer to the stage on my very own block. I am reading with the Hip Mama crew as a part of the Lit Crawl. I will be one of five writers reading, including Michelle Gonzales, Ariel Gore, Madison Young and Susan Ito. Come out and see us! We’ll be at Craftsman and Wolves on Valencia St. between 18th & 19th Streets, starting at 7pm on Saturday, October 18th. Since the other readings I have participated in this year have left me feeling empowered and invigorated, I can’t wait to see what this reading inspires in me.

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The newest issue of Hip Mama is on newstands and I’m sure there will be copies for purchase that night. The cover feature is my interview with Michelle Tea, a piece I am super proud of. If you can’t make the reading next Saturday, buy a copy online, and subscribe to get future issues!


See you soon.

Ten Reasons You Need This: Working Mothers Support Group

The Working Mothers Support Group that I am starting at Natural Resources starts one week from today.
You need this group if:
1. You are struggling to find a work-life balance that makes sense to you within the context of mothering.
2. You miss your child like a phantom limb when you are at work.
3. Conversely, sometimes you don’t miss your child when you are at work, and you feel guilty about that.
4. You have ever felt a tension between your mom friends who work outside the home and your mom friends who are SAHMs.
5. Your partner doesn’t really get what’s so different about being a working mom, and you need to vent. Or, you don’t have a partner, and you need support. Or, your partner is a fellow mom and she’s tired of hearing about it!
6. You think I’m cool and you are interested to see how I would lead such a group (okay this isn’t so much a need, but it is a valid reason to come).
7. You are heading back to work from maternity leave and you are nervous about the transition.
8. You are navigating a new work situation after taking a hiatus to focus on parenting.
9. You just need to be around other working moms, in a judgment-free zone.
10. You need to explore your feelings about being a working mom, because you don’t even know what they are!
We will do arts interventions to help us express the normal issues that arise with being a working mother, and to connect us to each other to form the supportive network that is sorely lacking in our culture.
No need to be a Supermom all the time. Come get the help you need to feel wonder-ful again.

No need to be a Supermom all the time. Come get the help you need to feel wonder-ful again.

Please join me, and spread the word to your friends who might benefit from such a group!
This group starts Saturday October 4th, from 10-11:30am. If you miss that one, the next meeting will be Monday October 20th, from 6-7:30pm. We will continue in that fashion, meeting the first Saturday morning and the third Monday evening of each month.
Sign up info is here. The class is Drop-In friendly but it could fill up, and you get a better deal if you buy a class pass.
Finally, my Toddler Movement class starts this coming Wednesday at 11am! Come bop out with me and your kiddos!
See you soon,
Rhea

 

Fall Offerings: Classes at Natural Resources

I’m excited to announce that starting in October, I’m teaching two classes at Natural Resources on Valencia Street in San Francisco: one for kids, and one for mamas.

Bring your kids to my Toddler Movement Class! Give your little one the space to get their wiggles out in this fun, facilitated movement class! Children 2.5 – 5 years old are welcome to come shake, shimmy, and sing!

This class is drop-in friendly and drop-off encouraged. We’ll include welcome and goodbye rituals, warm ups, dramatic dances (pretending to be an animal or magical creature), storytelling, song and dance time, free dance, and stretching. The series will engage your child’s imagination while introducing them to creative movement, and music from around the world. Sign up today to reserve your little one’s spot!

Toddler Movement Class

The class will take place every Wednesday from 11am-11:45am, starting October 1st. Sign up here.

There are many options for payment but signing up for a series or getting one of the larger class passes are the best deals.

The other class I am offering at Natural Resources is a Working Mom’s Support Group. This group will meet on the first Saturday of every month from 10-11:30AM and every third Monday from 6-7:30pm at Natural Resources. The first session will be on October 4th, 2014.

From the description: “This is the place where you do not have to be perfect. In this support group, we will admit to not ‘having it all’, and find peace with that, together. We will use the arts (drawing, writing, movement, drama, and music) to express our guilt, joy, rage, and love. As a group of mothers, led by a trained professional, we will help each other seek the work-life balance that every parent is striving for.”

mother's group

If you or someone you know is transitioning back to work or just wants support from other working mothers, please check out the info and sign up today:

Contact me at rheabette at gmail.com with any questions!

 

Burner Kids

One aspect of writing that I love is the opportunity to put yourself in other people’s shoes (or huge furry boots covered in dust) and consider life from a path (or desert trail) that you’d never traverse yourself.

I really enjoyed researching and writing the piece on The Bold Italic that is live today: Who Brings Their Kids to Burning Man? I tried to strike the right balance of humor, earnestness, and factual information.

Photo by Mata Smith

Photo by Mata Smith

It really came together because I had some great sources, and I’m grateful that they let me use their stories and image to create a platform for folks to discuss this hot-button issue within the Burner community.

The Fame Monster Makes For Fun Writing

Personal essays are kind of my jam, but lately I’ve been taking a break from them, and writing more about other people’s lives. I’ve learned some fascinating things, and hope I continue to get the chance to write about people who live big. I just finished reading Caitlin Moran‘s Moranthology, and oh my gerwd I want her career. She had a long standing column with the UK Guardian, interviewed rock stars (Lady Gaga, Keith Richards, and Paul McCartney all make it into the book) and then went on to write an amazing creative non-fiction book about feminism, How to Be a Woman. She has a novel coming out soon, and I’m sure it’s going to be infused with her brilliant wit and rhythm.

This lady. Living writing icon.

This lady. Living writing icon.


Anyway, I got to do a little Moran-style work this past summer, when I researched and compiled a list of Famous San Franciscans, and interviewed JD Samson around Pride, both for The Bold Italic. Since we have sadly lost our most beloved Bay Area star this week, Robin Williams, it feels fitting to post about these pieces, as a reminder that celebrities exist as archetypes in our culture. So, check out those pieces and stay tuned for more writing that is not Rhea-focused – now that I’ve got the spotlight off of my own life, I’m not itching to regain it anytime soon!

I Love It When You Call Me Feminist Papa

Most of my writing is about parenthood, and I’ve had success with publications that are particularly about mothering: MUTHA, Literary Mama, and (in an upcoming issue) Hip Mama. However, lately I’ve had some opportunities to rep the proud papas in the parenting community, and I wanted to round that all up here.

This Feminist Father’s Day piece by Tomas Moniz, Chris Crass, and the Rad Dad team is an inspiring way to start delving into the world of feminist fatherhood. I have a deeply personal piece in the newest issue of Rad Dad, so ask for it at your nearest independent bookstore, or buy it here.

 

Papa Joel getting his nails did.

Papa Joel getting his nails did.

 

I’m blessed to be married to a man who is a feminist father for our daughter. In addition to being a good sport about the occasional manicure and royal tea party, he also teaches her how to do push ups, kick a soccer ball, and make up her own songs. It’s a thrilling, validating thing to watch.

I’m not sure if my own father would have called himself a feminist, but he was a very empowering dad. Here’s a piece I wrote for Cinapse about how he brought me to indie and foreign films, remembering in particular the time we went to Cinema City to see The City of Lost Children.

I mean, dads can be cool too, right?

Oh, TOTES.

A while back, Sandra of Happy French Gang hired me to create some slogans for Dolores Beach and San Francisco that she could put on her chic French-Californian organic cotton blankets and bags. Well, the eco-friendly totes are in, and they are the only bags you’ll need for all the picnicking we’ll be doing here in Nor Cal over the next few months. Check out my copy on the bags Sandra designed, and then order one for yourself! If you mention at check out that you heard about Happy French Gang from me, I’ll get a perk, so go ahead and name drop.

Happy French Gang Dolores Beach5

 

Happy French Gang San Francisco3

They are totes cute. #HadToDoIt

99 Problems But Here Are Just 10

There are a lot of deep, heavy issues with raising kids in San Francisco, and in the Bay Area at large. It’s expensive to live here, the culture is not very kid-friendly, and the public school system needs a lot of support. In the midst of all of that, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a minute to just laugh at ourselves and celebrate the quirks of raising kids in SF, which is what my piece on The Bold Italic does today.

 

My friends and I came up with 10 Very San Francisco Parenting Problems, and you can read the compiled list on The Bold Italic. I think my favorite is the tiny headbanger at the dinner table, but the flogging Santas are pretty great, too.

 

I’ve had a few other pieces published this week, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a chance to check those out, too!

 

Here’s my piece about the social etiquette phenomenon that is The Bay Area Reschedule, on Thirty Threadbare Mercies.

 

My bit of flash fiction was included in a round up of short prose pieces about star beings on the Literary Kitchen.

 

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The star people I live with. My loves.

 

Our weekly Cinapse TWO CENTS column was on Unbreakable, the 2000 M. Night Shylamalan superhero flick, and I weighed in as usual.


Thanks so much for reading!

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