Monday, January 21, 2008

guest blogger: Lis Garrett!!!!

My old pal, customer and neighbor Lis Garrett asked if I would mind being interviewed for her blog, A Writer's Woolgatherings. Mind? Mind? I posted my part a week or two ago and she is featuring it today. I turned it back to her: she answers some questions, then some more questions! What a fine writer and interesting person. Check this out:

1) Describe your day as a mother, blogger and writer:
I get up a 5:45, turn on the coffee pot, and take a quick shower. At 6:00, I wake up Hannah (8) and get her in the shower while I prepare school snacks and lunches. At 6:15, I get Jacob (6) out of bed, bathed, and dressed. Feed the kids. Mediate a few arguments. Drink a cup of coffee. Put the kids on the school bus at 7:15. Another cup of coffee and breakfast for me, Ian, and Bridget (2.5) Dressed and working by 8:00. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Bridget goes to preschool. On those days, I have from 9:15-11:45 ALL TO MYSELF so that I can work uninterrupted. On the days when she is not in preschool, I work in 10-15 minute increments while she is playing with toys, with me, or watching TV (yes, I allow her to watch some pre-approved programs so I can work). Work consists of preparing blog posts, working on article ideas and queries for print publication, answering and sending emails, and paid contract work. Work also includes cleaning, cooking, laundry and general kid/household responsibilities. Hannah and Jacob are home by 2:15 - more mediating physical fights and arguments, preparing snacks, helping with homework, fixing dinner, a little more work, a little more cleaning, dinner, bedtime books, more work, pass out on couch. Rinse. Repeat. (with some variation, every now and again).

2) Do you enjoy writing fiction sometimes or only expository, non-fiction, informational pieces?
When I first started writing as a little girl, my stories were frilly and romantic. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school - awful, awful metaphorical BS that was so angst-ridden and wrought with tales of unrequited love. I was always the "friend" and never the "girlfriend," and no one would mistake that when reading one of my writings. I do like writing non-fiction, because it is very straightforward. However, my kids and I are working on a collaborative creative short story (for toddler age) about a cat named Lewis who likes to get into trouble (based on our cat, Louie). So many people have dreams of writing a book for children, but I want to write one that is successful. Finances aside, having a book that little kids love and adore would be the icing on the cake for me. In my opinion, writing a book geared for toddlers is terribly difficult. It has to be simple, yet engaging.

3) Give us three other bloggers who you HAVE to read each morning.
Only THREE?? I guess it depends on what mood I am in. Believe it or not, yours is one of the first I check (even though I don't always comment). I like to see what projects you have going on. If I need a bit of motivation to write, I check Freelance Parent, Confident Writing, and Writer Mama Riffs on . . . If I want something pretty to look at, I check Confessions of a Craft Addict, Beebee Mod, and Living and Loving Every Minute of It. If I want to check in with my "friends," it's Interrupted Wanderlust, Nothing of Importance, and Metropolitan Mama. If I want snarky commentary, it's Avery Gray, Uppercase Woman, and Adventures in Baby Fat. But really? All the blogs on my blog reader (now displayed nicely on my site) are worthy of recognition. They all offer a unique voice and satisfy some different aspect of my personality - whether it's my creative side, my no-nonsense attitude, my sentimental maternal instincts, or my I-wish-I-had-the-guts-to-say-that desire.

4) How about a favorite recipe???
Oy! I love food (except seafood - blech!). I have a weakness for French Onion soup, which I posted here

5) Getting personal here: I have one weakness and it is:
Not just one - many. I am REALLY impatient, and I like things to be done MY way. And I tend to take things personally. And my husband says I like to act like a martyr. And I curse, curse, curse like nobody's business. So if you ever hear Bridget say "Jesus Christ," at the site of a very large dinner roll, you'll know where she got it from.

6) But on the other hand, I have these three strengths:
I am PASSIONATE about my convictions. I would give you the shirt off my back (metaphorically speaking, of course) even if that means shorting myself in some way, and I am very loyal.

7) And lastly, the funniest________________
There's certainly nothing funny about me. Weird, maybe. My kids are the funny ones, and they never cease to make me laugh with things they do or say. Hannah, when she was 7, saw two horses doing you-know-what while on the way to school one morning. Of course, she thought it was funny that one was giving the other a piggy back ride. So now, "piggy back ride" is our code word for, you know . . . (too much info?). The BIG talk is coming up soon, needless to say. Bridget recently acquired an imaginary dog named Bob, and Jacob, well, all you can do is laugh at/with him or tear out your hair in frustration!
So . . . now you know a little more about moi. ;-)"

I wrote back to say she could emphasize strengths more if she wished and Lis wrote back:

"Yes, I've heard "self-deprecating" many times.
Hmmm . . . .
strength and possible weakness - I have an incredible work ethic, which makes finding "balance" difficult. For example, if I weren't married and didn't have children, I think I would have gone to medical school. In fact, I had plans on studying to be a nurse midwife, but I dropped out of nursing school because maintaining a 4.0 GPA began to take precedence over my husband and children (YIKES!). Above all, I consider myself a mother and wife. I am constantly reevaluating the different hats I wear and rearranging them so that my family comes first.
It took me a long time to realize that, even though writing has always been a passion, it might be THE career for me. Even though most everyone in my family questioned why I never pursued writing until now, it's because I thought, rather naively, that I wouldn't be able to help support a family on a writer's income. I thought "real writers" were those people on the best-seller's list, and very few people make that list. Things have a way of working out, though. Although my current job is not my dream job, it's at least a steady paycheck while I work on my own projects. Ultimately, working on my OWN thing is what I want to be doing anyway. (Incidentally, I just got off the phone with the school district's head nurse talking about none other than LICE. Yes, Hannah's recent demise has been a source of inspiration. I'm hoping to submit an article to one of the local papers soon). I feel like I am on the verge of something great. Truly, each day brings something new to the table, and I *love* being busy.
Perhaps this is a little narcissistic, but I would *love* to be the Zagat's of family-friendly sites and products. While I have shied away from writing paid reviews (no one wants to pay you if you're ultimately going to trash his product) I am starting to write paid endorsements on my sites. So far, I have only written two, and these have been for people I know. BIG COMPANIES, the ones who can afford to pay but don't, constantly solicit bloggers for FREE marketing. I provide my rates (which are quite reasonable for a writer, as some charge $50 and hour), but am constantly turned down or ignored. As you recall from one of my previous posts, this practice ticks me off a bit. I devote a lot of time and effort to my paid endorsements, and even those that I write on my own. Ultimately, I would like my opinion to count for something. I want to be the one telling people what to buy or not buy, what to do or not do - LOL!
A part of me is insecure. I don't have a degree . . . in anything . . . and that matters to a lot of people. I was recently told I have "raw talent," but personally, I don't feel like I can compete with someone who has a degree in English or Journalism or Marketing. As much as I want to go back to school, doing so with three children and a husband who constantly travels makes it difficult.
Really, I just think I know how to BS!
Okay, I've written a book, and this is probably WAY more than you wanted to know. :-) Good luck putting it all together! "


Lis Garrett said...

(GASP) I feel so exposed . . .

gr said...

Unlike you, I, um, didn't put anything together. You seem to have an easy way with words!

denis said...

i wish lis was my neighbor.

Susan as herself said...

Nice interview!

Gordo said...

Very nice and I, for one, see nothing wrong with self-deprecating humour. I may be a nutbar, though. ;-)

Lis Garrett said...

Thanks all!

Kate & Jim said...

Isn't it nice to know a little bit about the people that visit here. Very nice interview, Lis, I liked your answer to #3 and #6, of course #7 just made us laugh out loud! :)