Live From The Wing Dumbo, It's Tue/Night

Last night was fantastic because 1.) I told a story live about one of the most treasured moments in my career 2.) I listened to other brilliant storytellers tell hilarious and poignant tales about their first jobs and 3.) I had a reason to wear my blush colored silk blouse in a mostly blush colored room. My whole evening was well lit, filled with excellent conversation, and today I'm still buzzing.

The live storytelling event was organized by Tue/Night, an on and offline community for women over 40, and is run by the awesomeness of Margit Detwiller, Adrianna Dufay, and Karen Gerwin. I've written several pieces for their weekly magazine, and I treasure the work they do supporting we Women of a Certain Age (props to Kim France's blog of that same name, which is another fave of mine). Tue/Night publishes an on-line issue each week, on, yes, Tuesday night, as well as a newsletter, and produces live events with a theme. Last night's theme was First Jobs.

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I told the story of working in book publishing as an assistant to a larger than life publicist, and getting the opportunity to go out on a book tour with RuPaul (yeh, that RuPaul) soon after arriving at that job. Many of my friends from that era, including Karen Gerwin of Tue/Night, are still in my life, and last night when I was reading and considering all that has happened since 1994 when I arrived in New York City to begin my adult life, I was so moved as I looked up from my notes and saw so many women from different phases of that life. Publishing friends, voice-over friends, kid school friends, neighborhood friends, MILK Podcast friends, and brand new friends, like the lovely woman who wrote her disseration about drag culture and RuPaul. Not to mention the other terrific live storytellers, Stacy London, Dee Poku, Robin Gelfenbien and Kimberly Peeler-Allen.

My story also involves reflection about my boss, Jennifer, who passed away tragically at the age I am now. This sad fact reminds me to strive, and to pursue what makes me happy, as we never know what is ahead. But as we push for ourselves in our careers, striving to succeed and find a purpose, we must also support those who are struggling to hold on. As I listened to Letitia "Tish" James, NYC's Public Advocate, talk about issues that plague women across this great city, I thought about how compassionate women like her are serving as elected officials because taking care of others is in their blood. It fills me with pride, that so many women have this attribute, but also with anger that we are not compensated equally for that caretaking work we do. And that there are not enough Tish James's, and that we need better female representation in leadership, especially for women of color. Higher Heights, the organization Kimberly Peeler-Allen runs, is working to change that, and it was terrific to hear from her.

So many feelings, all necessary ones, were spilling over as I listened, joy and laughter mixing with tears and empathy. As women, we know our strengths but also how much more there is to do. Because that is how we roll. We multi-task, even with our feelings.  Since joining the The Wing, a co-working space for women, I've recognized how important it is to network and connect with like minded people who want other women to succeed. The need for community is real, and I'm thrilled to be a part of this one.

Read my piece and the other "First Job" stories: here, and follow Tue/Night, Higher Heights, and the other storytellers who are all amazing. I loved being a part of this event. 

Beautiful photos are by Erika Hokanson of Tue/Night.

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MILKs Killing It

Sally Hubbard, Creator and Host of "Women Killing It Podcast," is in the MILK Studio.

Through podcast interviews and real-life storytelling, Sally’s mission is to create a movement of women celebrating successes and inspiring one another. Sally attended NYU Law School and later became an investigative journalist, striving to uncover just how do successful women do it?

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Inspired by stories of shattering the proverbial “glass ceiling,” Sally looks to reveal a playbook for how women can kill it in their careers.

We talk, at the tail end of 2017, about the reckoning of male sexual assaulters and harassers, how to keep up the good fight as an activist, and how flexibility in the workplace (and listening to Millennials!) is good for all of us.

Check out our MILK Podcast: Moms I'd Like to Know interview on iTunes.

And go here to listen to Sally interview me on Women Killing It.

Werk It

Two weeks ago I packed up some cute outfits and took my little show on the road to the Werk It Women’s Podcast Festival, produced by WNYC Studios. I wanted to learn more about how I could take my podcast MILK: Mom’s I’d Like to Know, to another level. I also was excited to fly on an airplane without my kids.

The conference was heaven. It evoked that feeling you get when you know everyone in a room understands you (and your radio nerdness). The feeling that you can be open, listen and learn without interruption and distractions from family and work. The feeling where the world is burning all around you, but you have some hopeful ideas about how you can help said world and are in the right spot to do so.  

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Every woman I met at Werk It was doing something interesting: for the environment, for people of color, for feminism. I heard from professionals and newbies about the craft of telling stories, and their struggles getting those stories into the world. I heard how Anna Sale built her reporting into a career at WNYC, and then I saw her in the elevator going for a run at 6 am West Coast time because she’s a mom and was awake anyway. I heard from Note to Self’s Manoush Zomorodi and Happier’s Gretchen Rubin, also two big time MILKs with podcast and book platforms, about how to engage audiences creatively. I heard Kara Swisher of Recode Decode and TV Producer Ilene Chaiken in conversation about The L-Word coming back (!), and being a gay executive in TV now and then.

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I heard from funny and wise hosts like Lisa Chow, of Start Up, Lauren Ober from The Big Listen, Starlee Kine of The Mystery Show and Esther Perel of Where Should We Begin. I heard an excellent panel called “Don’t Point,” about the line between reporting on and gawking at those who have different experiences.

I met other podcasters like Katie Ward, host and producer of The Enthusiasm Enthusiast, who is smart and wonderful and interviews women about feminism and activism. I listened to creative/business people like Jenna Weiss-Berman, who produces podcasts I love, like Women of The Hour and Finding Richard Simmons, and built an independent podcast production company in Brooklyn. I was mentored privately by Eleanor Kagan of Buzzfeed, and was able to interview Manoush Zomorodi for The MILK Podcast. I watched hilarious actors I admire, like Alia Shawkat, Niecy Nash, Lena Waithe and Jessica Williams, perform flawlessly produced live shows at the beautiful and historic ACE Hotel Theater, that made me laugh out loud in real life. 

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On the last day of the conference, I sat at an organic place near the hotel where I happily ate all of my meals. I ate an acai bowl (so LA), and thought about how nice it was to have a break from thinking about my kid’s schedule for a few days, or planning what they were eating for lunch. The Harvey Weinstein story was breaking, because of two female NY Times journalists who were steadfast and smart and badass and finally told this story that reporters have been trying to lock for decades. I read the account breathlessly and with disgust, thinking "YES, they got this one!" and of course, felt such terrible pain for the women who were hurt. That was just the beginning of the story, and more was to come, but like other moments since the election last year when a sexual assaulter took the highest office in this country, I felt something stirring.  Anger at this toxic, sick person and the evil culture that enabled him and others of his ilk, but also solidarity and pride for the helping to surge the tsunami of women's voices. I felt it in the air all week at the conference as we women shared, plotted and supported, and now, two weeks later, back at my computer writing and editing and planning this week’s MILK interviews, I feel more committed and hopeful that we are talking about things we used to bury. Calling out. Asking questions. Telling stories. People will hear our voices. We will make sure of it.

Mid Life MILKs

Welcome to my new digital home. Here, you can meet the women of my MILK Podcast, and check out my children’s book ELLA. There’s also my other voice work, writing, and radio work for you to see and hear as well. 

MILK (Mom’s I’d Like to Know), started out as a list of writers and artists I admired, and morphed into a framework to connect with them. I’ve always loved radio, and creating a podcast in the context of my other interests and career just made sense. I see now too, that I have been seeking a community of sorts, and the permission to ask questions of others that I hold in my own heart. It’s also important for me to laugh and to find sisterhood in a world that can feel isolating and toxic.

Coming up on my 45th birthday this month, I’ve been focused on retaining memories, doing a lot of looking back at photos and journals and reconnecting with sides of myself I’ve felt distanced from since the kids. It's been sort of a mission, examining who the hell am I right now -- and how did I get here? An interesting thing that’s happened in the midst of this mid-life not really crisis, though, is that I see all of who I am as a positive, even if it means I’m not always appreciated or understood by everyone. To actually feel this way and mean it …. well, YAY being 45.

So. I’m proud of these conversations with my MILKs, and excited to see where this podcast, and the rest of my work will take me. I’m happy to have my output in one place, to be able to promote people I admire and share things I love. Through it, I hope to deepen connections and articulate my artistic contributions. There’s a lot I want to do, suddenly, and I want to make it all count.

Please share the site and the podcast with anyone you think might dig.

Xoxo Mallory

no brags

We are all complicit in shouting our truths on social media at full volume and thinking that it’s fine. I’ve played along for years – turning my mommy freelance boredom and procrastination problems toward my need to connect with others and to zone out by going deep down the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram rabbit holes. I put effort towards my online self for sure, sharing my writing projects and weirdo observations and, of course, pictures of my family and I doing picturesque things.

But lately, I’m at an oversaturation point. I’ve been having this confusing existential feeling that if I don’t post a picture or say something cute about what I’m doing, then it’s almost like it didn’t happen.

New channels create new customs, but really, WTF? Ten years ago, did you show your vacation pictures to this many people? When did 673 people have to know that you went apple picking in the fall, sledding in the winter, to Disney in the spring and to the beach in the summer? Can you imagine being in your lobby at work and shouting to everyone waiting for the elevator what you were listening to on your headphones? How is this now considered okay?

I know for sure that my departed Jewish Bubbies would be mortified with all of this straight-up bragging.

Yes, people have always figured out a way to boast, even before Instagram and Facebook. But Jews, given our history of persecution and knowing that usually we were the most hated people in the room at any given time, knew to try and keep it humble and not talk brazenly about any good fortune we might be experiencing in front of our neighbors and in front of God.

There is, however, this sneaky loophole called “Kaynahora.” It’s Yiddish (duh), and translates very loosely to “knock on wood.” The thinking went that by saying the phrase following any brag (usually about children or grandchildren and followed inexplicitly by spitting) that you would be are safe from the wrath of the Evil Eye because God will protect you. Nice, right?

So are we just kaynahoring all over social media by occasionally remembering to say that we are #blessed, or alluding to it by only showing the photogenic moments, assuming that we are somehow safe from the world’s many evil eyes? Can we just not help ourselves because we feel so much pressure to keep up with our FB friends, who may or may not be our actual friends?

Given the number of terrible things that happen to people everywhere, everyday, every minute – natural and manmade disasters, illnesses and accidents, things that ironically the internet makes us more aware of and more anxious about than ever before – I don’t think we have any business bragging about SQUAT. We should be knocking on all kinds of woods and looking around for any possible protection.

And yet we all do it because we are numb, bored and scared of empty space. We create these curated lifestyle magazines online, taking cues from the celebs we follow. We want to capture moments from our lives, for ourselves and maybe our friends from high school, but we want them to be the best ones with the filter that makes them even better, the flattering ones of our asses, the Christmas card-worthy ones.

Why hasn’t all of the information we absorb and disseminate made us more humble rather than less? My guess is that the constant noiseless noise online is making everyone shout louder to drown each other out and therefore not letting us see and hear what we are really doing to each other.

I know it makes me sound old to fret about it, but I do think fondly about time BSM (Before Social Media). It was a quaint era when we weren’t constantly making out with our phones. We looked up when our partners called our names. We walked in a straight line from our house to the subway without doing the texting loll to one side thingy people do now. We slept better, and we were more present. Maybe we got less done, but we did more with less.

I know we’ll get through this giant transition together, just like my great-grandmas and grandmas and mom got through living life and raising kids with their own technology challenges. (Radio? Television? Faxing?) Maybe it will soon regulate or at least feel normal again to talk so much and promote so much and share so much, but, for me, I’m thinking that I need less discussion and chatter and talk of myself and more of something concrete and real that doesn’t leave me feeling so empty.

Maybe someone (my son or daughter, Kaynohora) will create an app to protect us all from our own online hubris.

(originally written as “Kaynahora, Dudes: Why I Knock On Wood Before Bragging Online” and published by Tue/Night on October 27, 2015)