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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

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Enthusiasm Uncurbed


A couple of weeks ago, we caught a really funny episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry attends the opening of an eponymous hospital wing for which he donated funds, only to feel like a heel when he sees that a second wing was donated by "Anonymous." "Anonymous" turns out to be Ted Danson, Larry's nemesis, and Ted has made sure to graft the details of his gift to a few strategic points on the grapevine, so that everyone knows who Anonymous is, and can not only praise his generousity, but his modesty and class as well.

Needless to say, it makes Larry crazy.

Since the mail came yesterday, I've been wondering if I could ever be "Anonymous," one of the cool cats who rely on others to spread the word, smile demurely and murmur, "It's nothing, sort of embarassing really" when people take notice, act as if good fortune were simply the order of the day.

The short answer turns out to be "no."


I am too excited and too grateful to too many people to play this one cool. Seven and a half pages in the fifth biggest magazine in the world. I am about as proud of this story as anything I have ever written and I hope you will read it and let me know when you do.

At the risk of causing a few eyes to roll, I need to thank some very important people without whom I couldn't have pulled it off.

First, the amazing people at Good Housekeeping magazine, the gracious and fabulous Editor-in-Chief, Rosemary Ellis and her phenomenal staff: Bill, Aretha, Yingjia, Brian, Laura H., Richard and every single person who smiled, pointed me to the restrooms, brought me coffee, said how excited they were about the story. There was a lot about the experience that was straight out of Devil Wears Prada, but the personalities were not. I could not have been treated with more warmth and respect.

(And thanks, GH, for giving parent bloggers respect in general. Every month, people, a mom or dad blogger is featured on a whole page in the magazine's Good Reads section. And is paid a professional wage for it.)

In particular I want to thank Laura, my editor, for discovering Notes in the first place, and for continuing to see something here that exceeds anything I've dared to dream. I've always been pleased with how Laura edits the blog essays that have appeared in her Good Reads section, but she was in many ways the midwife of this piece. As I sweated and labored to bring it to birth, hers was the voice of calm on the other end of the line, assuring me I had it all in me.

Laura, it is always a pleasure, and someday I will learn to express a complete thought in less than three emails.

Reuben, my driver and New York husband; the lovely and kind Christina M. from Prada; the incredible photographer Daniella Stallinger and her very cool assistants; and sweet, blue-eyed Sophie, who did my makeup: thanks to all for making it fun, even as my feet were cramping.

To Isabel, for the guest room and rich conversation, thank you. Both were so calming and comforting on the night before I had to show up for my assignment. And special thanks to fashion writer Susan Wagner, who text-talked me down out of several near panic attacks, and helped me not freak out too badly over the prospect of buying a handbag that cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. If only Susan came in purse-sized Susan, I could take her everywhere.

Imagine you just found out you are going on a fantasy shopping trip to New York city. Now, imagine you can't tell ANYONE. Because after the shopping trip, you have to report on what it feels like to wear fabulous designer clothes in your usual context, and that context won't be usual if the word gets out. So you can't take a chance. Not even with your own sister, 3,000 miles away, because it's the kind of thing she fears she might have to tell somebody, and that somebody might tell somebody, and that somebody might post you a message about it on Facebook or your blog and there will be no getting the cat back in the bag. Imagine walking around with a huge handbag that screams extravagance, after the year of living at the edge of bankruptcy, and knowing that people are wondering if you've lost your mind or are just plain tacky.

Imagine discovering that not everyone will assume the best, or extend you the benefit of doubt.

To my family and friends who hung in there through the mystery and secrecy and whose curiousity was patient and kind, who made up their minds to believe there was a perfectly good reason I had to up and go to New York for a week and couldn't be specific about why, and didn't throttle me when I had to be vague when big things were obviously afoot, I love you. You are good sports, good friends, and good people.

To Linda, Mara, Joyce, Helen, Susan S., Susan B., Tom, David T., Lindsay & John, and all the rest of this family's fairy godmothers. Any one of you alone would be a gift. I can't believe we have all of you.

To my Mom, who agreed to take a long detour from the return leg of her birthday trip to New York, and came to Little Rock for a week to help Patrick with the kids, sleeping in a messy and crowded two-bedroom condo while I was living it up in Midtown Manhattan, thank you just doesn't cover it. Whether it's over a copied out Mother's Day poem from school, or the cover of Time, mother's pride is like miracle-Gro. More than that, you have never, ever, said "don't" or "you can't" or "you shouldn't" when it comes to my writing. Having done a creativity workshop with adults in their fifties who were still trying to get over their parent's admonition to "never write anything down," I never take for granted what a gift that freedom is.

To my baby sister, who screams over the phone just the way you'd want someone who loves you to scream whenever you call with crazy good news. I have a little bling for you when I see you on vacation.

My boys, for making it easy on everyone when Mommy has to be away, and for keeping me firmly grounded in reality every day. It's hard to get too carried away with your own fifteen minutes of fame when you have to put the magazine down to go wipe a bum that is not your own.

When I teasingly asked Patrick yesterday if he ever thought I would be on the pages of a big magazine someday, he didn't bat an eyelash.

"Yes," he said. "I've always believed."

I knew it then. I know it today. Thank you.

Finally and ultimately, to all my readers here. For years, I struggled to write alone and in silence as so many others seem to be able to do, and wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't take any pleasure in it. I didn't know what was missing until you found me. Having someone to write to has made all the difference.

The eyerollers hold this medium in contempt because who is anyone to think their life is so interesting, especially ordinary women. Especially ordinary mothers.

It's not that my life is so interesting. It's that LIFE is so interesting. Mine, and yours. If I can find stories in my very ordinary, soccer-mom life, they are there in anyone and everyone's, as you show me time and time again. You are the reason I have the audacity at all to bother important and busy people in publishing with my crazy ideas.

If you've made it this far, thank you for that. And thanks for being here.

The August issue of Good Housekeeping should be on the stands and in mailboxes this week; perhaps next week in some places (I'm told Meryl Streep is the cover photo in parts of the country). In the meantime, you can browse my behind the scenes photo album on flickr.



Blogger L said...

Hella cool.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I'll definitely be buying the magazine...I love your writing and this sounds like a good read! Congratulations!

2:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Pyron said...

KYRAN PITTMAN YOU ROCK! I am so happy for you and proud to be on the fringes of your life. I've always dreamed I'd do something important enough to warrant an acceptance speech/blog entry. Way to go! Can't wait to read the article.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Congrats! Hopefully the first in a long list of big-name magazines to feature your writing!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

thanks, it is kind of odd to have an "acknowledgements" for an article that is nearly as long as the article! but this really was an unusual story, and it was a team effort.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

There must be a God. And She wears Prada too...

4:47 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Congratulations! You are an amazing writer. Keep it up.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

What a great concept for a story. I look forward to reading it.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

Almost nothing makes me happier than seeing a writer (especially one whom I admire) experience and enjoy this kind of really good stuff. Can't wait to read the article when the issue shows up in my mailbox.

6:19 PM  
Blogger island sweet said...

marilee wouldn't even tell me tonight what the assignment was - how did you two get so good at keeping secrets? congratulations and love

6:41 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Congratulations, Kyran. Greta and I are so very proud of you but that doesn't touch the pride your dad and my mom would have. No doubt they are both dancing a jig tonight.

7:29 PM  
Blogger beth♥ said...

I am looking forward to getting my issue now! Thank you ... for the last few lines of this post. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Many, many congrats, what an incredible achievement for you! I can't wait to get the magazine and read the article, GH is such a terrific magazine and now you're in it!!!!!!!!!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Yay!!!!! Congrats.

8:48 PM  
Blogger K8spade said...

Congratulations! It's wonderful to see a fellow (woman, mommy) blogger aspire to and realize so much. It gives the rest of us a little boost, a little hope, and a big smile

9:00 PM  
Blogger Valerie-in-mid-life said...

Congrats Kyran. Your Ontario cousins are so very proud of you!

9:41 PM  
Blogger Joy! said...

I can't WAIT to read this!!!!
It's so gratifying when talent such as yours is recognized and given space to do wonderful things and *paid* on top of that. Whooo! :D
Congratulations! You deserve all of it.

10:33 PM  
Blogger elaine said...

I'll be buying a copy -- my first issue of GH in over 20 years -- as soon as it hits the magazine racks. I checked at Safeway this evening but as I expected, it's too soon. (I'm also in Canada so we may have to wait a bit longer.)

Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes photos. It was fun to look at them....admittedly with longing for some of the clothes and a New York shopping experience.

I admire and respect Meryl Streep but I think the cover blurb should have been "Kyran Pittman -- the life lessons she keeps on sharing."

I am so happy for you. Your writing brightens my day.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Andie said...

The heartfelt gratitude and warmth in this post really moved me. Congrats to you. What a wonderful accomplishment.

6:59 AM  
Blogger elastic waistland said...

OK, I need to get a copy of the magazine now. I can't wait!

And I have to say that your line about a purse-sized Susan conjured up an image of Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman. I, too, would love a purse-sized Susan to take along on shopping trips with me. That would be so awesome!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

You are a gorgeous creature with or without the make up. The child in me is freaking out OMG! This is sooo cool! I couldn't be happier for you!

8:23 AM  
Blogger NES said...

Congratulations, and enjoy your 15 minutes to the fullest! But also, thank you so much for the last part - the part about how blogging is writing with a purpose, too. How everyday life is a great subject. I wish I had written that description myself!

8:47 AM  
Blogger RW said...

I am in Canada too,and I will watch for this issue on the newstands.


9:18 AM  
Blogger Waynette Traub said...

Heay girl! When I photographed you for your headshot for our magazine, I was checking out your hot handbag when I met you a few weeks ago. I can not wait to see your Good Housekeeping photo shoot.

9:35 AM  
Blogger reneedesigns said...

That is so amazing. Congratulations. Here is to many more magazine appearances.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Mama Goose said...

Can't wait to read it! Congrats.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

If GH came out in Germany, I'd be buying this edition. Congratulations, Kyran!

11:54 AM  
Blogger scott said...

That's great. Congratulations.

Hello, Kyran.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

You're one of the women who makes me proud to do what we do (in the many and varied and beautiful ways we do it.)

I've always known this was what I had to do as well, and have been blessed with a similarly long roster of people who have believed even when I didn't. It's the best.

Congratulations and I'm glad you got to have this awesome experience.

What a summer, huh? ;)

12:20 PM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

Water is running out of my eyes! I am so proud of you the dam burst. I am exceedingly happy that in your moment of triumph, you remember to thank all those who support you in spirit and in kindness. What a woman!

1:10 PM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You are a fabulous woman, the complete package, and I am so happy that you have received recognition.

And, no, thank YOU for writing here. As one whose writing is also a labour of love, I know how much you put into it. Congratulations!

1:55 PM  
Blogger princess emmy said...


Uncontrollable,hysterical screaming (like as if i just saw all of Duran Duran at the mall)

2:39 PM  
Blogger Assertagirl said...

You're an inspiration to the rest of us, Kyran. That sounds cliche but I mean it in the least cliched way possible. You really deserve this.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Kelliqua said...

Oh, I just about cried reading this! Ok, maybe I did.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Congratulations, that is awesome! I just found you and think you're great! Can't wait to read the article.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday:

9:13 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

How exciting - I am very happy for you.

2:01 PM  
Blogger ::nadia:: said...

Absolutely brilliant!!

I was perusing the pages of my monthly GH when I came across your article (which, by the way, I only subscribe to as a futile attempt to subvert my obsession with celebrity gossip and other trashy reads). Admittedly, I am a former wannabe fashionista label hound. And by former, I'm referring to my former life. The one prior to my transformation into a thirtysomething, married mother of two toddlers living in the burbs of Alabama.

Consequently, immediately, the concept of the article intrigued me, but before I turned the first page I was "on to" the fact that either this particular mom was no ordinary suburban mom OR the kind folks up at GH decided to bring a writer to cover the story and write for her. Of course, by the end of the article, I was convinced that you were the writer and I had to google to find out more and viola, here I am.

Long blogment short, your writing awakened something inside of me that has laid dormant for years too long and that is my love of writing and my longing to write. All those voices inside of my head that have, for years, convinced me that it's just too late, that I've waited too long, that I don't have the time... or the vocabulary... those voices were all silenced as I finished reading your brilliant piece!

So I will be eternally grateful for your inspiration and also, most likely, eternally jealous of your Louis Vuitton bag, too. :)

Many thanks,
Your newest fan

9:15 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...


Fabulous. So very fabulous! Must say - the bag is gorgeous! But you look gorgeouser. :-)

Proud to share the blood, cuz!

9:39 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

HELL yes!

Good for YOU! Can't wait to pick this up and read/see your brilliance. So proud. May this be but the beginning!!!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Delurking to say I picked this issue up at the store today. The cover has a pitcher of lemon/limeade on the front, but the same stories. Off to read it now!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

I'm so thrilled that so many of you are buying the magazine. I wonder how many covers GH has, and what the rationale is for choosing one for one region and not another?

7:58 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Hi, Kyran! I received a GH subscription as a gift and thought, "Huh. What could there possibly be for ol' crunchy granola natural remedy mama me in this magazine?" But I've been pleasantly surprised, especially by the blog spotlights. And now -- this stunning piece by you! The concept was brilliant and your writing and insights are gorgeous! I enjoyed the ride so much. And I'm delighted to discover your blog! Thanks...

1:14 AM  
Blogger jenB said...

I am thrilled for you beyond what is even reasonable. You deserve this because of your fabulosity. We should have a party in your honour, perhaps in the comments section? Makes it difficult to have cocktails, but you deserve to be feted.

Much love


p.s. pocket sized Susan Wagner would be EXCELLENT!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Congratulations, Kyran!

9:49 AM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

True talent always shines. Shine on, lady!

8:12 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Hey Kyran,

Congratulations. Coincidentally I saw the article the other day at my OBGYN's office and was trying to figure out a way to tell all the other pregnant ladies sitting around me that there was an article by my cousin in here! How fun and exciting. I kind of agree with pat though, that hand bag is so over the top. A small child could fit in it!

9:39 AM  
Blogger Doni said...

Hi Kyran. I wanted to ask you something about your Louis Vuitton that you had in your article "Mommy Wears Prada". I purchased the smaller one Galleria GM in May. A splurge that I shouldn't have done, but with encouragement from my husband I ordered it online. Anyways, a month after I bought it, the brass on the handles started tarnishing and rubbing on the leather leaving black on it. It looks awful. Is your bag doing the same thing?

12:05 PM  
Blogger nicole said...

I read your article just the other day and gave a quick shout out on my blog, which in turn SAJ connected me to your fabulous blog.
I enjoyed the article and the perspective. Bravo!

11:33 AM  
Blogger zdoodlebub said...

Congrats to you! Love the article and love your blog.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Kelly @ Love Well said...

Just popping in because I found your blog while writing a blog post for 5 Minutes for Parenting about your Mommy Wears Prada article. (How's that for the circle of life?)

It was truly a fantastic and fascinating read - both well-executed and well-written. I said in my post, and I'll say it again here, that I can't stop thinking about it. And I rarely say that about a magazine article. Bravo!

Now that I've found you, I've added you to my reader. I'm sure I'll be back. You're a wonderful writer, Kyran.

10:20 PM  

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