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Mom University: Ayun Halliday, The Big Rumpus

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
the big rumpus

The next Mom University interview features the inimitable Ayun Halliday, author of The Big Rumpus: A Mother's Tale from the Trenches. These days, Ayun's on tour for her latest book, Job Hopper: The Checkered Career of a Down-Market Dilettante -- a wild romp along her colorful career path to date.

When I invited Ayun to choose a piece of her work for us to chat about, she chose this excerpt from The Big Rumpus. The excerpt -- entitled "The Chopping Block" -- talks about the big fight she and her husband Greg had about their baby-to-be's looming circumcision.

Ann: When did you write this?

Ayun: I wrote this as a chapter in my first book, The Big Rumpus. [I probably wrote it] in the spring of 01. (i turned in the manuscript Sept 10, 2001, and the next day everything I wrote didn't seem the slightest bit humorous anymore.)

Ann: What's the story behind the story?

Ayun: The circumcision argument was perhaps the highest stakes fight Greg and I had ever had -- and possibly remains THE biggest fight we ever had over a child of ours -- and the kid hadn't even been born yet! and when she was, she was a GIRL! The circumcision debate interests me because up until recently there WAS no debate. It interests me that cutting off a part of another person's body (with very little to no anesthetic) was once barely considered: it was simply the done thing. (I guess the people who DID give the action a lot of thought were the ones locked and loaded to do it because of religious custom.) Where I live in NYC, this is no longer true, but boy, it can really stir up a hornet's nests of accusations and bad feelings on both sides of the 'debate'.

Ann: Why did you pick this particular excerpt of your writing?

Ayun: Well, i was going to send another that's o the website of the recently
pulished anthology, Secrets and Confidences, but I saw that that is just an excerpt and without the end, it's a bit of a fizzle. And the one that started my career has disappeared from Hipmama after the equivalent of a good long run, but I've always felt a great fondness for this piece.

Ann: Is there anything else you want to say?

Ayun: Dare to be Heinie!

You can find out more about Ayun's work by visiting ayunhalliday.com.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:49 AM