Being Both: The Book

Recently, I hopped into a cab at Boston’s Logan airport and asked the driver to drop me at the corner of Charles and Revere, on Beacon Hill. Once there, I stood gazing up at the windows of the apartment where I spent my first five years, where my parents started their pioneering interfaith marriage some 50 years ago. As it happens, they met when they shared a taxi from Logan airport to Beacon Hill. I wandered into the  antique shop on the ground floor of our old building, and pulled up distant memories of this hushed emporium filled with magical objects and dusty golden light. I selected a small totem to bring me luck at the start of an ambitious new adventure. Then, I dragged my roll-on bag over the cobblestone crest of the Hill, to the venerable Beacon Press, to meet my editor.

Yes, my editor. I am thrilled to announce that in 2013, Beacon Press will publish my book on interfaith life. The working title is The Joy of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family.

I want to thank you, my readers, for speaking out in your comments on this blog, and in your daily conversations, about the joys and challenges of creating an interfaith future together. You have pushed my thinking and helped me to hone my description of this novel pathway. I see my job, on this blog and now in the book, as chronicling your efforts to create a place in the world for families celebrating more than one religion. All of you–blog readers, twitter followers–helped to demonstrate that this vision merits publication in book form.

The book will depict the independent interfaith families movement, based on original reporting and surveys I have been conducting for years now with families who have chosen both religions, and with adult and teen interfaith children raised with two religions.

After meeting with my fearless editor, I continued on to the home of my parents, who are still happily intermarried after 50 years. I told them of my pilgrimage to our old apartment, and unwrapped my antique-shop purchase. What appeared, to me, to be an elegant but mysterious object, they recognized immediately as an ink blotter. My dad then retold his famous story of getting in trouble in grammar school when he reached out and grabbed the pigtail of the girl who sat in front of him, and dipped it into an inkwell.

The world has changed dramatically in my father’s lifetime. Interfaith families have far more options than they did when my parents married. But also, I don’t use any form of ink at all, as I write on a laptop. I am grateful that my publishers will use ink to print the book–that they continue to resist the idea that books made from paper pulp are becoming as antiquated as quill pens and ink blotters.

I plan to keep my ink blotter within sight as I write over the next year. I will take inspiration from my chosen ritual object: from the fine craftsmanship, the pleasing form, the useful nature, the connection to history and to my own autobiography.

Again, thanks to all of you for speaking out on both the needs of interfaith families, and the creative energy we draw from our interfaith experience. And thank you for virtually demanding the documentation of this experience in the form of a book.

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