Get to know the (Her)oic EK Bayer

EK BayerWhat is your writing life like? Do you write during the day, after work, etc.?
I used to write only when I was alone. Since March, my kids have been learning over Zoom, my wife has been working from home, and I am never alone. Writing, especially editing my book, requires a focus that I find very difficult to come by without solitude. Being in the anthology is amazing, as it forces me to remember that I write, that I have aspirations beyond surviving the pandemic with my home and family intact.

What are a few of your favorite essay or memoir writers? Why or what do you love about their work?
I recently read “Eye Of The Heart,” by Cynthia Bourgeault. It was an amazing read, and I have to read it again. She goes deep into the study of other realms and makes a case for humanness being a necessary component of grace, disproving the more common belief that the trappings of being human should be transcended. She is devoutly Christian, but her open-minded approach and memoir format is broad enough to include me, who is not.

Why do you think people should buy and read the anthology?
The stories in the anthology take me on such beautiful and profound journeys, I can’t choose one to highlight. I am humbled to be among this group of writers. Seriously, some are brilliant because of the artistry in the writing, others are raw and vulnerable windows into another world.

Did culture or identity play a role in your piece? Can you share more about how that cultural or identity experience has changed or been a part of your pandemic experience?
In my piece as well as through the pandemic, my queer identity is a backdrop. I’m never quite sure how it plays into my experience of motherhood. Very few of my gay friends became parents; most of my mom-friends I met through my kids. I wonder how this impacts my sense of community. Do we not have another family to pod with because our family doesn’t fit the moms-in-the-kitchen, dads-in-the-den thing? Are other straight moms as isolated as I am? It’s easy to blame being gay, but I think community is more complicated than that.

What is the theme in your piece (grief, love, hope, etc.) and how does it come through? Is that an ongoing theme in your work?
My anthology piece is about the struggle to remain connected to and supportive of my kids, which is an ongoing theme for me. I am perplexed by how open and connected we are with infants, and how that feeling erodes over time. I’m struck by this from my experience as a kid as well as a mom. I write about it a lot.

Did the pandemic affect your career? How?
The pandemic has totally stalled my writing career. My upcoming book publication has been cancelled with the same lack of a plan as my kids’ school reopening. Truthfully, the peril our country is in, between the pandemic, climate change and human rights, makes my book about having kids feel a bit off-topic. Then again, a story about human connection might be just what is needed right now. Anyway, I have to remember it’s not my job to judge, it’s my job to get it done.

How will your life be different than before the pandemic?
A lot has changed over the past year. Between the pandemic, politics, moving to a new home and peri-menopause, I can’t remember what life was like before. It will be a whole new era once we’re able to move on. Just like with every evolution, I hope to keep the good things I’ve learned and let go of the bad. Like – I’ve had more time to listen to my own voice, which is a double-edged gift, but I hope to keep the clarity that gives me. And, while my kids miss their friends and connections desperately, the isolation has freed them from some peer pressure. They are less inhibited now, so I hope to keep that.

Having been commissioned without pay by the CDC to isolate in a bubble with her wife and twin-boys due to a pandemic, EK has discovered she is not cut out to be a short-order chef or a homeschool teacher. Success is currently getting the twins out on a walk in their San Francisco neighborhood. If politics wasn’t so distracting, she could finish her novel. Find her occasionally at

“Mama” on PBS

RIP Notorious RBG: May her memory be a revolution


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