Sunday, November 08, 2009

Mama Calendar 2010

The 2010 calendars are here! And here, and here.
We enjoyed a lovely debut at the New Orleans Bookfair yesterday and are now poised and ready to mail the rest of these suckers out...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mama Calendar 2010: Call for Submissions!

pass it around!

the 2010 Mama Calendar is getting underway!
people, mothers, fathers, partners, kids, friends & allies,
the mama calendar is what it is because of your words, pictures, dreams, visions, rants, raves, recipes, recipes for revolution.
send me your best stuff, by October 9, to

the mama calendar
coleen murphy
PO box 741655
new orleans, LA

at this stage, emailing in digital photos in the highest resolution you can get are the best choice. when in doubt, just send it! I'll see what I can do.

calendars will be available on November 7, 2009, in person at the New Orleans Bookfair and via email & the US mail for $12 a piece,
payable by check, cash, money order or paypal.
advance orders are what make the calendar project possible.
ask about wholesale pricing for orders of ten or more.

the mama calendar is a community building-consciousness raising resource by,
of, about and for progressive, feminist, activist mothers and their families,
friends & allies everywhere. it is a celebration and a call to action, a thing
of beauty to last the year.
edited by coleen murphy, the calendar features photos of mamas, babies,
children, youth, dads, and friends, as well as a guide to mama-made zines, alternative
parenting resources, recipes, recipes for revolution, great dates in radical
mama herstory, and the work of numerous artist/activist/mamas. recent editions have featured ayun halliday, victoria law, laurel dykstra, sonja smith, trula breckenridge, china martens, nicholas meyer and heather cushman-dowdee, among others. many others! maybe you!

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Thing for Me About Unschooling

Yesterday morning, while crossing Poydras downtown with my sons, I flashed on this memory from a couple of years ago, a time when a fellow street crosser at that very intersection barreled into me for no apparent reason, and with no apology or remark of any kind. It wasn't the first time that's happened, but it stuck in my mind on that day because I'd been home for just a few days from the Live & Learn Unschooling Conference, where we'd had a wonderful time, and where, frankly, no one was ever quite so rude to me.

Just that morning, though, I'd been reading the online comments of another conference attendee who had some bad experiences, and who described exactly what I had experienced on Poydras as having happened to them at the conference. For this person, the encounter was being held up as an example of those of us invested in unschooling possibly being on the wrong path, being, in fact, on a path to rudeness! Because, you know, it was a younger person (I don't remember now if it was a young child or a teenager or someone in between) who had run right into this person with no apology, no acknowledgment, and so this led them to a place of saying, hey, how are we raising these kids, anyway, are we actually bringing them up to be rude, thoughtless folks in the name of unschooling?

So I read this and then later that very day, pow, a fully grown adult smacks right into me on the street and just keeps going. Rude! Unschooled? Hey, maybe, but you know, I have no idea. This is what I think, though. I think that so often we take encounters - negative, positive, whatever - and we assign characteristics to the people involved based on really, very little. So, if I wanted to, I could take the person who ran into me that day and say, well, there you go, that just proves the rudeness of, say, white people. Or women. Or middle aged people. Or tourists. Or people who walk around downtown New Orleans in the middle of the day for whatever reason.

The thing for me about unschooling, though, is that at the heart of it is a rejection of the small worldview that comes with this kind of instant labeling and boxing in of people, this idea that who you and I are, and who we can be, has already been determined by the categories that we have been put into, by others as well as ourselves, and that we are inherently unable to change, to learn, to grow.

I believe that as long as we are living, there is nothing that can happen to prevent you or I from changing, from learning, from growing. And what I want for all people is for them to know that, about each other and about themselves.

It's no catchphrase, and it would make a lousy bumper-sticker, but it's how I feel.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm not much on forgetting

We just got home from seeing Julie & Julia. So good! So fun. I literally laughed out loud for most of the Julia parts, and cried (quietly, don't worry!) during some of the Julie parts. Nash said, That was way better than I expected! All three of us laughed & laughed.

Now I need to bake Liam's cake for tomorrow. I'm using a mix, you can mock me all you want, I know both Julie & Julia would. Gingerbread cake mix, with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, though, and I'm gonna make deviled eggs, as per the birthday kid's request. It's a tradition of ours to have a belated party for Liam each year when we get home from camp, because his birthday happens while we're away. And four years ago, we were evacuating on the day that his party was to have happened, so, you know, each year that that is not the case, that's a time to celebrate as far as I'm concerned.

The kids are across the street playing with their friends whom they haven't seen in a month, two months for Nash. He was running and jumping to get over there. It reminded/reminds me of how much good we have in our lives here, now.

And how I'm - cheeseball alert - so grateful, for everything that we have, and for my friends, and that very possibly includes you, you know.

I make a conscious choice to avoid overloading myself with Katrina remembrances, to avoid spending a lot of my time revisiting the most sorrowful pieces of that time, but none of that means I've forgotten. It's all in there, there's no danger of my forgetting. What I'm intentional about recollecting is the support I received (cheeseball alert still in full effect) during the toughest parts of 2005, in the way of tangible things and also the sending of good hopes & wishes, from strangers and friends and family members, you know? It was incredible, it was powerful. It sustained me and it still does.

So, today, just thanks. I got to spend most of today laughing with my favorite people in the world. I wish everyone the same.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

speaking of photobooths...

it's been a while. I went to California, where it was cold, and then came back home, where it was hot, and then went to Hogwarts, where it was air conditioned, and now I'm back at home, where it is hotter still, and this weekend I'll be checking out the photobooth at this event:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

remember, when you put down one mother, you're putting down mothers all over the world

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

MamaPhiles #4 Deadline

Whoa, it's today! Well. We are zinesters, after all. Get it in sometime this week!

Mamaphiles #4 – deadline: 1 March 2009

Mamaphiles is seeking submissions for issue #4, with the theme of "Raising Hell," from mamas and papas who are currently producing their own zines.

Previous themes were “Birth”; “Cutting the Cord”; “Coming Home” and now its time to shake things up! Raising children is hard work and revolution in motion. From rabble-rousing to rampaging toddlers—feel free to interpret the theme wildly.

We are interested in essays, photos, cartoons, or anything else you can come up with!

Because of space limitations, written submissions should be 1500 words or less. Please include a short bio and ordering information for your zine (these will not be part of the word count).

Contributors are asked to edit their own work. Submissions may be spell-checked and reformatted for consistency. Contributors are given the chance to okay any proposed changes before production.

Mamaphiles is a friendly and inclusive project whose goal is self-expression and mutual support. All submissions are accepted. Contributors are invited to join in the collaborative effort, and are asked to assist with marketing and/or production of the zine when possible.

Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2009.

Written submissions: email as a Word attachment to the submission editor, China – china410 @ Feel free to ask questions.

Visual submissions: email high-resolution images (300-600 dpi) in .jpg, or .tiff to both china410 @ and the lay-out designer, Connie – anarchohippypunk @

For all submissions, please indicate that it's a Mamaphiles submission in the subject line of your email message.

Want to know more about the project? Come on by the Mamaphiles website at (Or visit the Zine Scene forum at!)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

In 2009: Read More Zines

In case you've been cursing your lack of New Year's resolutions, I made one for you. If you're not already reading zines regularly, start now. If you are, expand your horizons with some new works. The two most beloved, thoroughly enjoyed zines in my life right now are The East Village Inky and The Nose Knows. Both are smallish, hand-drawn beauties loaded with humor and depth. I read each one cover to cover as soon as I get it.

I heard about the EVI early on in its ten year history (herstory?), and at first thought, how much writing about life in the East Village is relevant/intriguing for me, living on the edge of Cabbagetown in Atlanta and not likely to visit New York anytime soon? But it was, it was relevant to my life, consistently intriguing and unexpectedly inspiring, nudging me into the realization that my prior perception of zines as a movement powered by teenagers alone (and therefore off limits to newly thirty year old toddler-chasers like myself) was just, well, wrong. The EVI has consistently great recipes & book/zine/music recommendations, besides, and although I relate heavily to the agonies & triumphs of parenting described, there's plenty for the less parental to enjoy, too.

The Nose Knows is a newer find for me, I've only been reading it a year, although it's been around for a few. Published by a prolific foursome, each issue is a somewhat unpredictable brain-dump of words and pictures, relating to whatever is up with each writer, and although it jumped out at me initially because they're New Orleans based, don't let that deter you if you live elsewhere.

The EVI you can get easily via the website, but The Nose Knows takes a little more effort: send an email to nasalknowledge at gmail dot com and inquire. For each of them, if you're feeling splurgey, I enthusiastically recommend all of the back issues you can get your hands on.

I haven't made much noise about it, but Once Upon a Photobooth is also a zine, that I make, so email me if you'd like a copy: coleen at bust dot com. It's true life stories that start with photobooths, and also whatever else I feel like saying.

Finally, here is an update on the Don't Leave Your Friends Behind Project:

(from zinesters/photographers/authors/mothers Victoria Law & China Martens)

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind--work-in-progress zine #2

While amassing submissions for the handbook Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, China and I have made a work-in-progress zine of several contributio ns.

Zine #2 is 31 full-sized pages of stories, experiences and suggestions by both radical parents and their allies on building family-friendly movements, including:

*how theories on early childhood development support our arguments for anti-authoritarian parenting!

*organizing childcare at LadyFest Baltimore!

*providing childcare for children with special needs

*2 stories of parenting in collective households

*a children's crusade in Cambridge

*lessons learned from the mothers & children of the zapatista communities

Send $3 ($5 for two copies--you can give one to the ally in your life!) to:

V. Law
PO Box 20388
Tompkins Square Station
NY, NY 10009

Let's keep spreading childcare goodness to the masses!!
For those of you who missed it, our call for submissions (deadline: Feb 1, 2009) is here: