Gore, Ariel 1971–

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Gore, Ariel 1971–

PERSONAL:

Born in 1971; children: Maia. Education: Mills College, B.A.; University of California at Berkeley, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home and office—P.O. Box 12525, Portland, OR 97212. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Hip Mama (magazine), Oakland, CA, founder and editor, 1994—

WRITINGS:

The Hip Mama Survival Guide: Advice from the Trenches on Pregnancy, Childbirth, Cool Names, Clueless Doctors, Potty Training, Toddler Avengers, Domestic Mayhem, Support Groups, Right Wing Losers, Work, Day Care, Family Law, the Evil Patriarchy, Collection Agents, Nervous Breakdowns, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1998.

The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood, illustrated by Susan Forney, Seal Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Bee Lavender) Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers, illustrated by Jonny Thief, foreword by Dan Savage, Seal Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Atlas of the Human Heart (memoir), Seal Press (New York, NY), 2003.

(With daughter, Maia Swift) Whatever, Mom: Hip Mama's Guide to Raising a Teenager, Seal Press (Emeryville, CA), 2004.

(Editor) The Essential Hip Mama: Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting, Seal Press (Emeryville, CA), 2004.

The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show (novel), HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

How To Become a Famous Writer before You're Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights, Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books. Author of a blog.

SIDELIGHTS:

Ariel Gore is the creator of the parenting magazine Hip Mama and its offshoot, The Hip Mama Survival Guide: Advice from the Trenches on Pregnancy, Childbirth, Cool Names, Clueless Doctors, Potty Training, Toddler Avengers, Domestic Mayhem, Support Groups, Right Wing Losers, Work, Day Care, Family Law, the Evil Patriarchy, Collection Agents, Nervous Breakdowns, a book on parenting for the nineties and beyond. After dropping out of high school in Palo Alto, California, and attaining her GED, Gore traveled across Europe and Asia. In Italy she gave birth to Maia, a daughter fathered by a man with whom she had lived for a time in an abandoned building in Amsterdam. When Gore returned to the United States, she lived with her parents. When she found that she could not support herself and her daughter, she went on public assistance for six years, which allowed her to earn journalism degrees at Mills College and the University of California.

Gore was a nontraditional journalist whose ideas about parenting were very different from those found in mainstream parenting magazines. She began Hip Mama as a senior project for her journalism program. "A bunch of friends were over and we were making spaghetti and I said: ‘I wonder if we have a peer group,’" recalled Gore to Lori Eickmann of the Chicago Tribune. When Gore realized that she was not alone in her lifestyle and values, she suspected that she might have a large potential audience of nontraditional parents collecting government benefits. The quarterly magazine, which debuted in 1994, contains a wide variety of material, including practical articles on parenting and dealing with the welfare system, personal experience pieces, reviews, artwork, and recipes. "It's not really servicey, it's a support-group-type thing," Gore told Eickmann. "I try to balance political stuff, solid parenting information and literature, so that it's another voice." Many articles are contributions from the magazine's subscribers. Feminist Mary Kay Blakely is quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying: "Our image of the welfare mom is shattered when we read Hip Mama. Ariel speaks honestly about the issues of motherhood."

Although at first reluctant to go on the internet with her periodical, in 1997 Gore took Hip Mama online because so many people asked her to do it. Low-income mothers had access to the internet through public libraries and colleges and universities, and the online magazine soon became a clearinghouse for information on the rapidly changing welfare laws in this country. Gore says she knows from firsthand experience that she could not support herself and her daughter and attend college at the same time. Without welfare help, she would not be where she is today—a college graduate able to support her family.

While finishing her master's degree, Gore wrote a proposal for a parenting book based on the material in her magazine. When Hyperion bought The Hip Mama Survival Guide, Gore was elated. Writing while Maia was at school or asleep at night, Gore gathered the voices of her peer group. The title reflects many of Gore's topics, but there are others. She is honest about the pluses and minuses of being on public assistance and addresses many of the issues facing low-income and single mothers. She writes on subjects that include avoiding guilt over such things as having a little too much to drink while pregnant and what a modern young mom should do about those body piercings before going into labor.

In reviewing The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood for the Library Journal, Linda Beck commented: "What looks to be a breezy … certainly untraditional book about motherhood is really worthwhile." Gore writes of the isolation, heartbreak, and delight of motherhood, interjecting personal anecdotes and her opinions regarding motherhood in America.

As the success of both the print magazine and Hip Mama Online grew, Gore gave control of the Web site to Bee Lavender, who is coeditor of Gore's Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers. Contributors are young women from all economic situations, with various sexual preferences, married and not. Many of the stories are poignant, while others are humorous. Beck wrote that "here are women who chose to follow their dreams without trading on others." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted "the recurrent themes sounded by these Gen-X voices—alienation, economic insecurity and the importance of health insurance."

Atlas of the Human Heart is Gore's memoir in which she traces her travel, at the age of sixteen, to Hong Kong, and the years as a student, smuggler, squatter, and actress she spent as she moved on to Tibet, Nepal, India, Amsterdam, and England. She comments on the violent nature of her relationship with her child's father, Maia's birth in Italy, and her return to California with her newborn daughter.

Gore's first work of fiction is The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, the story of Frances Catherine, or "Frankka," a stigmatic who can cause her palms to bleed when she is hungry. Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley wrote that the story "limns one woman's complicated relationship with her religion and her personal faith." Frankka keeps her secret until she is in college, where she shares it with Tony, and the two concoct a religious-themed traveling theater that eventually includes other performers, such as a bearded lady, trapeze artist, levitating drag queen, psychic, and fire eater. Problems arise when the evangelical community protests what they perceive to be sacrilege after the show is reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. In a Library Journal review, Eleanor J. Bader called the novel "a savvy rebuke of religious bigotry and a fun, fast, memorable read."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Gore, Ariel, Atlas of the Human Heart, Seal Press (New York, NY), 2003.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2003, Beth Leistensnider, review of Atlas of the Human Heart, p. 1359; February 1, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, p. 28.

Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1997, Lori Eickmann, interview.

Library Journal, May 15, 2000, Linda Beck, review of The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood, p. 112; May 1, 2001, Linda Beck, review of Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers, p. 114; August, 2003, Shelley Cox, review of Atlas of the Human Heart, p. 96; January 1, 2006, Eleanor J. Bader, review of The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, p. 96.

National Review, September 14, 1998, Wendy Shalit, review of The Hip Mama Survival Guide: Advice from the Trenches on Pregnancy, Childbirth, Cool Names, Clueless Doctors, Potty Training, Toddler Avengers, Domestic Mayhem, Support Groups, Right Wing Losers, Work, Day Care, Family Law, the Evil Patriarchy, Collection Agents, Nervous Breakdowns, p. 68.

Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2001, review of Breeder, p. 81; January 9, 2006, review of The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, p. 29.

OTHER

Annabelle, http://www.annnabellemagazine.com/ (November 26, 2006), interview.

Ariel Gore Home Page,http://www.arielgore.com (November 26, 2006).

Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (May 3, 2005), Elizabeth Klein, "An Interview with Ariel Gore."

Here,http://www.heremagazine.com/ (November 26, 2006), Katie Haegele, "Somewhere to Run To: An Interview with Ariel Gore."

Hip Mama Online,http://www.hipmama.com (November 26, 2006).

The New Homemaker,http://www.newhomemaker.com/ (November 26, 2006), Lynn Siprelle, "Ariel Gore: A TNH Interview."

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Gore, Ariel 1971–

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