"Show some self-respect and reclaim your freedom."
“I was so honored tonight to be hosted by the Princeton Tory, the Witherspoon Institute and the Tikvah Fund. The undergraduates I met tonight were clear sighted and brilliant and astonishingly well read. There’s so much on their shoulders. Here was my message to them.”
The question I get most often—the thing that most interviewers want to know, even when they’re pretending to care about more high-minded things—is: What’s it like to be so hated? I can only assume that’s what some of you rubberneckers want to know as well: What’s it like to be on a GLAAD black list? What’s it like to have top ACLU lawyers come out in favor of banning your book? What’s it like to have prestigious institutions disavow you as an alum? What’s it like to lose the favor of the fancy people who once claimed you as their own?
So, perhaps I’ll begin by telling you a little bit about myself mainly because I’m not so different from many of you. I grew up, daughter of two Maryland State judges, in a multi-racial suburb in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I attended a community Jewish day school, which I loved. In high school, I worked as a stringer for the Washington Jewish Week and edited my school paper. I attended Columbia University, where I received the Kellett Fellowship for two years of graduate study at Oxford. From there, I earned my J.D. from Yale Law School and then clerked for a Clinton-appointee on the D.C. Circuit.
At the beginning of my clerkship, I accepted a setup with a guy from Los Angeles, and by the end of that year, had decided to follow my then-boyfriend to California. I took a job with a terribly prestigious LA firm, whose daily tasks nearly anesthetized me. I married my boyfriend, struggled to hold onto pregnancies, quit law firm life and had three children. I taught them to read and sang them songs very badly and wrote a series of unpublishable novels. Most people who’d known me before wondered what the hell I was doing.