If you've slalomed through the stroller-filled sidewalks of Portland, Ore., Park Slope or San Francisco, chances are you've encountered the hipster parent phenomenon: moms and dads as devoted to their too-cool style as they are to their babies swaddled in locally sourced diapers.
Novelist Monica Drake is especially familiar: Living in the hipster haven that gave rise to "Portlandia," her brand of hipster parenting was passed down from her own parents, poets who kept not only multiple typewriters but also a salvaged mimeograph machine.
In Drake's new novel, "The Stud Book," a group of friends in Portland figures out how to be new parents. There are plenty of literary precedents--as Drake points out, literature has been littered with hipster parents from the beginning: The donkeys of "The Bible" prefigured fix-gear bike culture; "War and Peace" features "an early mustache fetish" and Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the book on "rewilding."
How many lit-hipsters does it take to birth a trend? I'll hazard a guess and say generations. Gen-er-ations! It's a mingling of the Beats, Bohemians, Moderns and your grandpa's old sweaters, spilling a PBR on that worn copy of Bukowski's "Factotum" and calling it art, calling it meta.
You don't get generations without a few parents in the mix. As a strategy, hipster parenting is an effort to cling to a cultural foothold--crank out the zine, play music, make a film--while giving in to the homogenizing process of changing eco-friendly (or not) diapers, each of us parents suddenly a servant to those endearing little poop machines.
Now as I write, publish and parent, I thought I'd consider the stories that shaped my view of parenting and creative work. I hope these books might help you in the dark of the night when the baby cries, or in the morning facing the blank page, or in those awkward bar moments, or just at the beach when sand gets in your beer and the nachos run out. Cheers.