Once upon a time, I was a pregnant mom with a toddler and a graduate degree to finish. I had made the decision to not pursue a post-doctoral appointment once I completed my degree since it would take me away from my children. After my second son was born, I taught in our homeschool community, designing a neuroscience curriculum for middle and high schoolers and teaching piano as well. I did the things we do to pay the bills and put food on the table, and I also started seeing more and more people supplementing incomes by writing for internet websites, which was still a relatively new thing in the early 2000s.
In 2010, I began writing for a little website just starting out called Kveller.com on the recommendation of a writer friend of mine, Matthue Roth. I humbly emailed then-editor Deborah Kolben (now the 70 Faces Editorial Director) and pitched her on some subjects I felt I had an authority to write about—I had a lot of bad ideas but a few OK ones, hoping some would stick.
And they did. Under Debbie’s tutelage, I learned post by post how to get my point across in engaging and thoughtful ways, how to dial back my anger so it didn’t cloud my judgment as a writer, and how to edit, since I was even more verbose than I am now, and Debbie would fall asleep halfway through most of my first drafts!
In my first months at Kveller, I learned how to share and how to not share. Many talented writers joined our cause and we did our best—and still do—to not sugarcoat anything about being a parent. Our current editor Molly Tolsky and our writers believe that an honest—but not gross or inappropriate—description of the real lives of parents was needed on the internet, and a Jewish one at that! That’s how we all made Kveller.
Bit by bit, Kveller grew, generating some incredible and even award-nominated posts: We wrote about abortion and hating breastfeeding; we wrote about sex problems in marriages; we wrote about race and class issues and so much more. We wrote about loving being a parent and sometimes resenting being a parent. We covered it all. We laughed, we cried, we made each other—and you, our readers—think.
As I began to work more and more on “The Big Bang Theory” and gained more of a fan base through the show, I was able to bring many more readers to Kveller. I got braver about what to write about, and I loved hearing from non-Jews and non-parents: “I love reading about you on Kveller!” or, “I love your writing even though I’m not Jewish or a parent.”
And bit by bit, I grew. I began to see that I had a lot more to say, and as my life has become more and more complicated—Emmy nominations, a significant car accident, a divorce, my father’s death—my writing became more and more complicated, and my need to write even more has become very strong.
When things happen in the world that are outrageous—rape, abuse, immorality, women held to unfair standards—as a writer, I feel the need to write. I want to reach people. I love to touch people. I hope my brain and everything it produces can help someone think differently, act differently, or react differently.
What I really want to do is share the way my brain works with more people in a more daring and inventive way.
This has me so excited to announce that I have decided to create a place where I can truly be me, and where I can encourage others to be themselves, and where we can all be more and better, together.
I am founding this space for all of us: It’s called GrokNation.
Do you know what it means to grok something? Grok is an old-school sci-fi term from the 1961 book “Stranger in a Strange Land.” It means to fully grasp something in the deepest way possible.
I want to be able to reach all kinds of people with my thinking and writing, and while I will still continue to write for Kveller about Jewish parenting, GrokNation will be the place where I share my thoughts about being an actress on “The Big Bang Theory,” being a scientist and a vegan mom, being an unusual woman because I am an actress and a scientist and a vegan mom, and everything in between. Eventually, I want GrokNation to become a place for voices other than mine, but we are just starting out so it may take some time!
With a broader platform, I will have more freedom to push the proverbial envelope. I want to get past stereotypes and name-calling and be thoughtful in our analysis of serious and important topics, and I want to really explore how complicated most issues are, emphasizing the importance of getting educated and exploring perspectives we may not have considered before. Changing the way we think can change the way we act, and I hope to create a space for people seeking to grok important things in a deep and meaningful (and sometimes fun!) way, with the hopes of becoming a community of action.
I am grateful for everything Kveller has brought to me and to the thousands of parents who seek it out for honest and necessary resources. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to write for Kveller as I start this new platform.