Day 2 of the Beyond the Sling book tour began by me basking in the glow of the Kveller love-fest we had the previous night at the JCC, at my talk which was moderated by Deborah Kolben and attended by three fellow Kveller contributing mamas Carla Naumburg (all the way from Boston!), Amy Deutsch (pregnant and adorable) and Cara Paiuk (all the way from Texas!).
Besides closing Day 2 as the #2 parenting book selling on Amazon and the #120 (or so, but who’s counting) book selling overall on Amazon, and being a guest on the Leonard Lopate show right after the very intelligent and awesome Nathan Englander, I think we all can admit that the highlight of the day was me being on The View. If you were on the west coast (like my parents), my episode was preempted by President Obama’s press conference, but you can see it online here.
Here are my Top 10 The View moments:
1. Entourage. I never have an entourage but on this trip, I do. In spades. My awesome publicist from Los Angeles is with me, as is my low-key amazing hair and makeup artist. Both keep it real and make me feel at home and relaxed wherever we find ourselves. I also had with me the Simon & Schuster publicist, my book agent, and my editor. So we are the kind of group that fills up an elevator and makes a presence. It’s kind of odd for me, but I keep reminding myself we are all nice people and although it’s sort of weird, it’s not my decision; it’s simply how it is and everyone is doing their best for their job.
2. The Green Room was kind of a party. We hosted Barbara Walters and Sherrie Shepherd, who came by just to say hi and ask a few questions. Sherrie had me in stitches as she showed support for my “put breastmilk on every boo-boo” ideas I put forth in my book, and she was adorable and funny. I’m not gonna lie, Babs started in about the who sleeps where and for how long bit in my dressing room. She was very kind, though, and reminded me a little bit of a great aunt-type: legitimately baffled by the notion of child-led anything! I also sort of couldn’t believe that I was standing next to one of the most prominent journalists of the last century, not to mention one of the first females of her kind in this industry.
3. I was terrified. I heard the ladies of The View are feisty. I heard they have breastfeeding “issues.” I view them as very conventional, non-threatening, middle-of-the-road, and I was raised to be very unconventional, threatening, and off-the-beaten-path. This sounded like a potentially toxic combination. As I stood backstage and they counted us back in from the commercial, I felt like I was being put into a gladiator ring for freestyle combat, with no clue what weapons my opponent would have nor if I would come out alive. Terrified.
4. I made a smooth entrance. I’m kind of klutzy, and my stylist insists on no lower than 4 1/2″ heels for me. Add anxiety and you get a recipe for a public spill. But I walked slowly and carefully, and was astonished that the audience gave me a standing welcome. Barbara remarked, “These people like you!” It helped me distract myself from my anxiety to see that welcome.
5. It went great! Segment One focused on me as a child actor and me as a homeschooling/unschooling mom. It flew by so fast and the break between segments consisted of watching the producer hand out questions and timing for the next and final segment. There was some jockeying among the women for who does what (I have enough trouble managing my own female hormones and personality quirks, I can’t imagine balancing that with four others!) and then Segment Two focused on my book. I felt welcomed, intelligently questioned, and not on the defense. Phew!
6. Sex in the kitchen. Barbara was fascinated by the bed thing. And the sleeping thing. And the sex thing. I am no stand-up comedienne, but time slowed down to a crawl as I debated how to handle her specific inquisitiveness about sexual intercourse. Oy. As images of my husband being unpleased with me flashed before my eyes, I cut loose with a joke about sex in the kitchen. And away we went with laughs and me slapping her delicate manicured hand like we were old pals. She can take a joke. I sort of love her.
7. So nice! Off-camera, the women were exceedingly nice. Whoopi blew my mind, and was so kind and lovely. Joy seemed reserved but was very sweet. Sherrie and Elizabeth and I wished we could hang out and talk some more. I was part of the “in crowd” for those few moments and didn’t feel so… different. It was strange and it was also really neat.
8. My dress. Barbara asked me off-camera about my clothes and said she was surprised to see me dressed “like that” because she knows I am… conservative. That’s code among Jews for “tznius“… I know The View has featured some kind of negative stories about religious Orthodoxy and Orthodox women in particular in the past. I smiled at her and said, “I’m covered knee to elbow. I came to observance late in life and this works for me.” She smiled back and said, “You look beautiful.” Kind of an amazing moment.
9. Book sales! And ladies! The View was a huge hit for book sales and a huge hit for me personally. As a girl who never feels she fits in with the other girls, it was a really interesting moment in my career and life. Sitting in my hotel hours later, I am back to feeling like I don’t fit in because that’s just sort of my modus operandi, but it’s nice to get tastes of a lessening of that anxiety once in a while.
10. What are you? My favorite moment was at the very beginning of the segment. Barbara Walters listed everything I “do” and asked very simply and innocently: “What are you?” As I pondered how to answer this, I recalled a book that my mother used to read to me as a child. It was called The Churkendoose and it was about an animal born from an egg incubated by a chicken, turkey, duck, and goose (hence the name which is a conglomeration of all of those animals). The Churkendoose never fit in, and he was always asked, “What are you?” The Churkendoose decides that he is simply himself, and I guess I decided that today as well. I answered, “I am woman!” Helen Reddy sang it well, but many women watching may be too young to remember her voice proclaiming it. I remember it.
Whatever your group you fit or don’t fit into, my thoughts after my experience today are that we women truly are what we are, and we’re all women. Sometimes we fit in, and sometimes we feel outside of the group, and sometimes we have no idea how others will treat us, and sometimes we are carried by the love of strangers. I guess it’s really complicated and at the same time utterly simple: I am woman. And you are too.