Doreen Stock - My Name is Y (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 1:00pm

Below is an excerpt from My Name is Y, a mother and political activist's account of raising three children in Mill Valley while participating in anti-nuclear activist actions:


Valentine’s Day, 2018.

Thirty-two years since I wrote these pages.

R is the mother of eight children and a grandmother, B, a soccer coach for the teams of his son and daughter, and A is just this moment rehearsing a student cast, among them her own daughter, to perform The Inspector General at the same high school where she once performed.

On my desk as I write this, the current issue of Time magazine with its cover photo of a nuclear bomb exploding, announcing President Trump’s reentry into the nuclear arms race to the tune of fifteen million dollars.

On this day devoted to love, seventeen students and teachers have lost their lives in yet another school shooting.

My friend, X, and I are sitting in his electric car. White clouds are racing across a blue sky and we can see the mountain silhouetted against them. “Why aren’t we rioting in the streets?” I ask.

“Because we are busy with other things,” is his answer.

What other things? What could be more important than the lives of our children in school and the life this entire green planet we draw our breaths from?

In place of my typewriter, a personal computer. In place of my telephone, a smart phone just inches away from the hand that writes this.

In the past two years, I have driven to Sacramento to demonstrate on the steps of the state capitol for the passage of gun control legislation and I’ve marched across the Golden Gate Bridge with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, all of us dressed in orange, the color hunters wear so they won’t be shot.

I have worn my knit pussy-eared hat in a women’s march after Donald Trump was elected and demonstrated in front of the Immigration Services Office in San Francisco under signs that say: “Let My People Stay!”

I have stopped signing most of the petitions that endlessly flood my smart phone, which with the flick of a finger and a debit from a plastic card, try to make the case that we have acted.

This morning I texted each of my American grandchildren with a heart as they entered their public junior high and high schools respectively.

My heart is in my mouth these days.

My name is Y.

Doreen Stock is a poet, essayist, and memoir practitioner, who has been exploring creative nonfiction for over years from the point of view as a wife, mother of three, single human, and grandmother of eleven. Her first book of poems, The Politics of Splendor, was part of a New American Writers exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair that year. It combined her own poetry and prose poems with her translation from the work of Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova. While raising her three children, she wrote two book-length memoirs: FIVE: The Transcript of a Journey, detailing her family's travels through Europe in a VW van, and My Name is Y, an anti-nuclear demonstrator’s family memoir.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925