Born in NJ; married; children. Hobbies and other interests: Running.
Home—Seattle, WA. Office—Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. E-mail—[email protected].
Journalist. Orange County Register, Costa Mesa, CA, reporter; News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, columnist; Seattle Times, Seattle, Washington, columnist, 1998—.
(With Patsy Clarke and Eloise Vaughn) Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms, Alyson Books (Los Angeles, CA), 2001.
Nicole Brodeur was born in New Jersey, and has lived throughout the country working as a reporter and columnist. She is the Metro columnist for the Seattle Times. She is a mother, a runner, and former Girl Scout. The focus of her column is to set up a conversation between herself and the reader and address topics that are not ordinarily covered in the paper.
Brodeur's first book, Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight against Jesse Helms, was born from an article Brodeur wrote for People about Patsy Clarke and Eloise Vaughn, two mothers whose lives were brought together when their gay sons died of AIDS. The book, with the help and guidance of Brodeur, was written by Clarke and Vaughn, each authoring alternating chapters. Clarke and Vaughn, one conservative and one liberal, met after the deaths of their sons, both named Mark, and came from similar privileged backgrounds. Neither woman was aware of her son's homosexuality, and each was forced to deal with her son's death alone, since both were widows. Clarke, whose husband had been a good friend of anti-gay Senator Jesse Helms, wrote the senator asking him to put aside his personal beliefs in support of AIDS research funding. Helms's cold response to the widow of his old friend urged Clark, along with Vaughn, to form MAJIC, Mothers Against Jesse in Congress, an organization focused on unseating Helms and gaining political support for AIDS issues.
More than a book on politics, this work focuses on two women in their later years of life changing and adapting their opinions and beliefs in order to work through their tragedies. Mae Woods Bell in Pilot wrote, "There are many anecdotes, some happy, some shocking" and those stories serve to convey how these women question "their own long held beliefs and prejudices and [face] the world in a new and powerful way." Matthijs Schoots of Independent Weekly stated, "Keep Singing, at heart an inspirational prayer for compassion, also contains anecdotes revealing how we often fail compassion's call." Regarding the introduction to the book, which was written by Allan Gurganus, he stated "Featuring sometimes indigestible, sometimes hyperbolic prose, it obfuscates the simple truths these two mothers offer us." However, Bell called the introduction "a lyrical work of art … that is worthy of publication on its own." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked, "While occasionally edging toward teary, Clarke and Vaughn's story is a powerful lesson in how personal experience can be the root of political change."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2001, review of Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms, p. 76.
Independent Weekly,http://www.indyweek.com/ (May 23, 2001), Matthijs Schoots, "Unlikely Activists."
Pilot,http://www.thepilot.com/ (September 3, 2001), Mae Woods Bell, "Women Become Partners to Fight Bigotry, Hatred."
Seattle Times,http://origin.seattletimes.com/ (October 31, 2001), Columnists Bios.*