Saturday, April 20, 2002

The Dolly Ranchers

Almost from the very inception of the Nye Beach Writers Series, in fact, clear back to the time when it was the Yachats Writers Series almost six years and a hundred and twenty-some writers ago, the idea has been kicked around that we should bring some singer-song writers into the mix. After all, even if they often rely on collaboration with back-up singers and musicians and technicians, at the heart of it, singer-song writers start every new composition as writers. Even if they start new work by wandering around the house at 3 a.m. or looking out the window of the car or tour bus or whatever on their way to the next gig, mumbling or humming or whistling, sooner or later they're going to have sit down and actually grind out the words.

Now, Carla's first choice was Bob Dylan. I can just hear him saying: I'm just up here, just me, as plain old Bobby Zimmerman, poet.

We thought we might be able to sell a few tickets. So far, however, Bob's been what can only be termed as unresponsive. In retrospect, it may be a blessing. I'm not sure we have enough room here for all his bodyguards.

And, of course, there was talk of Barry Manilow. I'm not sure we have enough room here for his ego...

So we came down out of the clouds and wound up saying to ourselves, hey, who is new and fresh, with echoes of traditional, wandering troubadour open highway ethos, a dash of grunge, yet cutting edge, alt-country, all-girl with a hobo-jungle, ran-away-and-joined-the-One Railroad Circus of New Mexico, avant-garde twist of wry, Santa Fe impassioned blue-grass, high-plateau honky-tonk, chili pepper energy?

There's only one group like that. Please welcome The Dolly Ranchers...

Ariel Gore

There is a line in an old Jimmy Buffet song that says "we are the people our parents warned us about." We laugh when we hear that because we like being part of the surprise our folks got when they realized what a tactical error they'd made by having children. And so many children. Obviously, if they'd exerted a little more restraint there wouldn't be this population bulge called the Baby Boomers. The Sixties might have just been a calmer, quieter extension of the Fifties. Things might not have gotten so crazy.

So, Jimmy Buffet needs to add another line or so to that song–- to the effect that our children are the unwarned-about people now freaking out our parents even more than we did. Issues that barely got a nod from Baby Boomers way back when are being addressed and politicized and radicalized. One of those issues is teen single motherhood.

ARIEL GORE is the founder of Hip Mama. As a single, teen-age mother, she encountered traditional negative value judgments, guilt and social stigma, but little support or positive information about being a good parent or creating a strong sense of family. Hip Mama was the progressive forum she created to address those concerns. The magazine evolved to represent progressive families of all varieties and gained national recognition. Ariel, who once debated Newt Gingrich on MTV on the subject of single parenthood and welfare, is now a sought-after authority on child-rearing. She recently moved to Portland, the "city with the highest per-capita subscription rate" to Hip Mama. She is the author of The Hip Mama Survival Guide and The Mother Trip.

BEE LAVENDER joined Hip Mama in 1997 as managing editor. Former teen mom, activist and writer, she has launched new projects such as Mamaphonic and Girl-Mom, an online resource for teen parents. Ariel and Lavender are co-editors of Breeder: Real-Life Stories of a Generation of New Mothers, 36 essays from some brave new mamas.