Rants in the Dark reviews

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Here’s the speech that Gem Wilder gave at the book launch. 

When Emily was pregnant with her delicious ham child, she was a wreck. Aside from incessant vomiting, she was incredibly anxious. About many things, but one of her anxieties, which those of you who have more than one child may recognise, was the worry that she might not love this child as much as she loved her firstborn, Eddie. If you know Emily the idea that she not have enough love to share with a new baby is absolutely ridiculous, but pregnancy and hormones and brains create weird vortexes of emotions.

Our friends rallied around her, reassuring her that she would love this baby, that she was a good mother, that she could do this. We reminded her that we would be there, loving her babies alongside her.

And then we got to work, making a quilt so that Ham could have a physical manifestation of the love we wanted to wrap him in. We are not professional sewers by any stretch, but I’m proud of the custom creation we pieced together.

One side was an homage to Emily’s true bogan heart. It features leopard prints and skulls, and a giant patch of Alice Cooper’s face. The other side is all bright primary colours, horses and birds, and some patches made from old pyjamas of Eddies featuring cute little baby dinosaurs.

You could say that the quilt represents parenting – the light and the dark – but we know it’s not that simple. Parenting is less black and white and more a haze of blurry grey areas. This is what Emily so perfectly captures in her writing. She knows that sometimes parenting feels like you’re rocking out wildly at a gig, having the best time ever, and the next minute you’re just covered in someone else bodily fluids, smelly and tired and aching and longing for bed. Sometimes parenting is sunshine and rainbows and cute baby dinosaurs, and sometimes those dinosaurs grow teeth – sharp teeth.

Emily knows these things about parenting. But what she knows, more than anything, is that when the dinosaurs start to bite you, when you think you’ll never find your way out of the grey fog, the most important thing is that you don’t feel alone. She wants to remind parents that someone is there, rallying, reassuring, loving their babies. She’s there behind her blog posts, she’s there editing The Spinoff Parents, she’s there creating opportunities for community, like Ballet is for Everyone, and The Lighthouse. And now, she’s there, right there with you, on the pages of this book.

This book is a gift. Emily has put so much thought into it, taken so much care to make sure it is just right. She acts like these things just happen to her – invitations to talk to Kim Hill, & Kathryn Ryan, a feature on a current affairs show, a book deal, the need to order another print run, and another, and another…these things happen and Emily says “I don’t even know why.” They happen because you make them happen. You work so, so incredibly hard, and you take the time to make sure that your words will make the world a better place. You deserve every good thing that comes your way. I knew this book was special from the first time I read the manuscript, sitting in a café on my lunch break, laughing out loud and scaring the other patrons. It is no surprise to me that people are flocking to buy copies.

Thank you, Emily. Thank you for the work you do advocating for parents and children. Thank you for writing this book, so that parents can know they are not alone.

I think Emily describes the book best herself, in the chapter “The World is Big”. She writes “It’s a call. Of some kind. To make a world where all of our children are safe and all of our children keep others safe. We need a big heart for this big world.” Congratulations to the woman with the biggest heart I know. We are here tonight to answer your call.