Rita Waterman, Soul Mother. A conversation with Ariel Leve
Play • 32 min

When I started this podcast just before Mother's Day 2020, my main goal was to shine a light on extraordinary mothers. I figured the world was plenty sated  with books, articles, films, blogs, and podcasts about ways in which women fell short as mothers, and, given that we could use some uplifting stories, devoting attention to those who were simply great mothers seemed like a good idea.  In other words, narcissistic/dysfunctional/dud mothers need not apply.

Which brings me to Ariel Leve's story. A few months ago, shortly after I interviewed Will Blythe, whose mother, Gloria, and her "invisible love" for her children made for an engrossing conversation,  Will suggested I interview the writer Ariel Leve. Her biological mother was difficult (an understatement, I was to learn later), he said. "Thanks but no thanks," I said.  But he wouldn't take no for an answer, and he told me about  Rita Waterman, the woman Ariel considers her surrogate mother and guardian angel, her soul mother. Without Rita, Will said, Ariel would have had a much tougher time in life. I was intrigued.

Ariel's 2017  memoir, An Abbreviated Life, is a riveting read, "strangely mesmerizing," as The New York Times put it . And throughout the book's pages, Ariel pays tribute to  Rita, who is as good a soul as you can hope to find. So yes, this episode breaks a rule,  but it was one well worth breaking.

Don't forget to visit us at ourmothersourselves.com. And while you're there, please contribute your word to the mother word cloud.

Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry.
Artwork by Paula Mangin. (@PaulaBallah)
Producer: Alice Hudson
Intern: Rosie Manock (@RosieManock)

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