Ilana Stanger-Ross Rotating Header Image

Just call me Angel

I am a novelist and a midwifery student—currently in full-time clinical placement–plus a mother of two.

Some days this feels untenable & crazy-making. Other days it’s just incredibly interesting, and a lot of fun.

Years ago, when I was a kid in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we’d drive all the way to Bay Ridge just to rent videos. (Years and years ago—we’re talking beta v. VHS, and everyone driving real distances to cramped and crowded video shops where stringy-haired teenagers in acid wash jeans paced the curtain that cordoned off the porn section, just waiting for the courage to pass through.)

Back in those days, there was one particular video in the drama section that captivated me. I must have spent hours staring at the cover, which was divided in two by a black line, with the protagonist, Angel, pictured on each side. “By day” Angel was a “High School Honor Student,” clutching her books against her blue sweater. By night, she became a “Hollywood Hooker,” all red pumps and hotpants.

Oh, Angel—how your double-life fascinated me! Looking back, I suspect that to my ten-year-old self, high school students and prostitutes occupied equally glamorous, unattainable worlds.

So here I am at 33, and if my life were a video cover (is that begging to be a pop song title?) it’d be ridiculously fragmented. Student Midwife by day…and night. Novelist …in between. Mother: throughout.

Okay, so still no hotpants. But like the rest of my generation I try to make the pieces fit. And even when they don’t: there’s a lot of crazy joy in the trying.

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