This subject came up on "girlgroup" a discussion group on yahoo for women journalists, and seemed blogworthy. Mentoring is a sacred trust, like parenting. Barbara Ehrenreich and Ellen Willis were two great goddesses who showed me the way--these two intellectual powerhouses were fired up with social justice, not ego concerns or careering agendas. Through them I learned the craft, the game and also the ethics of intellectual labor. Joey Ramone too, devoted himself to nurturing the local scene and never cared if it was trendy or topical--it was from the heart and that made it real. Up until his death, he loved the world and tried to make it a better place. He mentored young musicians, and helped bring Ronnie Spector to an new generation of music fans.

I'm trained as a sociologist and was also employed as social worker in child welfare for many years before I ventured into journalism, which I saw as a means to an end: making social theory more accessible, and reaching more people on critical issues like youth suicide, class, and the redemptive power of subculture (i.e. music).

Early on, my work put me in an unanticipated role as a mentor and "auntie" for young people who continue to seek my advice on everything from career opportunities to body hatred, love, sexuality, creativity, family violence, addiction and faith. I've found much more joy in this than any of the big New York stuff we come to think matters so much. At the end of our days it won't matter if we had 2 books or 20, wrote for Rolling Stone or the local Pennysaver, appeared on OPRAH or made the guest list. What will matter most is the love we made, what we gave back of ourselves to the stream of life. Be generous, the more you give, the richer you are.
Happy Birthday Joey Ramone, May 19.
"Today your love, tomorrow the world"