My good friend and fellow writer, Tamara Sellman tagged me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour this summer! It’s a good thing too, because I have abandoned this blog all summer.
Tamara Sellman is a published writer who has worn many literary hats in the last 30 years: food blogger, poet, writing coach, developmental editor, magical realist storyteller. She is currently wearing the science writer and essayist hats, depending on her mood and deadlines. Her blog is Rhymes With Camera.
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1) What are you working on?
Oh, what aren’t I working on? I’ve been very busy this year. I wrote my first 10 minute play that was selected to be produced for our local 10 Minute Play Festival later this month. I’m not going to lie, that shit is VERY exciting to me!! Having watched rehearsals I can tell you it is incredible to see words you’ve written and characters you’ve created come to life. I’m very much looking forward to the performance.
I teach social media marketing workshops and have been writing up my lesson plans for the myriad of classes I’ll be teaching this fall. Name a social media platform. Yes, I’m teaching how to use that.
I’m also, at long last, making headway with my memoir. It’s the story about how difficult it is for women of a certain age (read: Generation X) to figure out what to do with our lives. Our mothers and grandmothers paved the way for us and now we really can do anything. Choices aren’t always a good thing. If you choose to stay home with your children what does that say about you? If you find out after several years of being home with your children that it’s really not all you need to feel fulfilled and of purpose what does that say about you as a mother? I don’t know, but you’ll have fun reading my book. I bet you’ll find yourself in the pages.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Memoir has been a hot commodity in the last few years. Mommy memoir is pretty high in popularity as well. I would say that my work differs from other memoirs in that my writing is very raw and real. I don’t mince words or sugar-coat things. If I might have had an urge to cover my newborn with a pillow until the noise stopped, you’ll read about that. Also? You’ll laugh because I’m a very funny writer and story teller.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do because if I didn’t get out of my mind, spirit and body, the crap would kill me. I have a strong urge to not only get it out, but to make it funny and relatable. I originally began writing my blog as a catharsis for myself, but when several women commented, emailed, texted and stopped me on the street to tell me that they could have written a post they recently read, or that they were relieved to know they weren’t the only ones losing their minds I realized we all needed these stories. After all, misery loves company.
4) How does your writing process work?
I believe it was Hemingway who said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Yeah, that.  Like a lot of writers, I have a bit of insecurity surrounding my work. The voice in my head goes something like this, “This is crap! You are crap!” So I drink a little (a lot) to shut the voice up and lock her in a dark tiny closet in the very back of my brain and then I get to work. The next day I read it over and edit it. Or not. Sometimes I just go for raw (and bad grammar).
—–Here are the three writers I have tagged for next week. Please visit their blogs and read how their answers to how we writers write. I’m sure it’s a bit more interesting and intelligent than my answers.  There is so much to learn (steal) from each other as writers. I know I’m constantly asking writers how they write and about their process.

Jessica Star Rockers  http://jessicastarrockers.com  I grew up in the farmlands of Illinois and through my education and travels eventually made my way to the Pacific Northwest island I now call home. I have an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and Literary Editing & Design. After graduation I worked as an editor for several lit magazines including Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review and the strange fruit. For a while I taught college writing classes.  My publishing credits include r.k.v.ry, NO, Melusine, 27 rue de flueres, Feminist Review, and Emerald City, among others. In 2006 I released an album called Beloved On Earth, and toured for a year playing my folks songs to anyone who would listen. (A handful of people even bought the album!) These days I write about faith and addiction and help lead worship at Cedars UU church. Sometimes they even let me preach. My essay “Jesus Loves Me,” is forthcoming in the anthology Potty Stories & other Bathroom Mishaps coming out in 2015 from Monkey Star Press.

 

Jennifer Kakutani http://mermaidcity.blogspot.com   Jennifer made a promise to herself within this often wild and harried experience of being at home with two small children: She created lifelines in the form of writing and photography.

Sarafina Bianco graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English. An avid reader and learner, Fina took her passion for words into a classroom until she found herself in a nightmarish, abusive relationship that ultimately ended in her losing her job, car and house before she freed herself from him. She started her blog to help heal the hurt caused by a monster she once loved, and the rest is history.You can find her words at http://sarafinabianco.com, until September 8th, when her first book The House on Sunset will be released. She has left the classroom for good, in hopes she can be an advocate for women, men and children who are still living inside the nightmare of domestic abuse. She currently lives with her husband and three dogs in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

I’ve been gone so long from this space, and I apologize. I’ve missed you! I’ve missed being here sharing scenes from my crazy life.  There are a few reasons I haven’t been here in a month.  The first is that I’ve been in a deep funk. A dark place. I’ve spent most of my energy getting myself out of bed by noon and getting on with the business of daily life with 3 kids at home for the summer. Fear not, the fog is lifting and I’m feeling like my old self again.

I’ve also been writing for our local  magazine. My deadline looms, therefore I haven’t had the time or energy to write anything in this space. I begin teaching social media marketing classes in the fall and have been preparing for those. One set is for writers and the other is for everyone. I get nervous and insecure about these things so a lot of my energy has been spent worrying about these workshops. I know, I’m a neurotic nutcase. It’s ok. That’s how I operate. I know I’ll rock the workshops, but in the meantime I freak out.

And you guys!!! My 10 minute play has been in rehearsals that I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to attend! (Not all directors will do that). I’m so excited for this play!

Lastly, my photog and my web designer are working to make this a brand new site! I’m so excited for that to happen! But I’m over the current site and don’t want to hang out  here. Very immature of me, I realize.

I promise to be back  here regularly again very soon. In the meantime here is a lovely photo of me (smoke + mirrors, I do not look like this in real life) the extremely talented Lisa S. Dunham of LSD Photography took of me. Wait until you see the others!! They’ll be on the new site. Stay tuned.

 

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You guys! Dig if you will this picture: I innocently walk out of my room into the living room this morning and it’s a fucking pig sty. Ice cream wrappers all over the floor, an empty box of drumsticks (ice cream), an errant strawberry under the couch, blankets and pillows everywhere and sleeping children. In the kitchen I find more of the same plus melted chocolate ice cream all over my counter top. I go into the bathroom and there on the floor are clothes and crackers. Did I mention the toilet hadn’t been flushed? Pigs, I tell you! PIGS! Animals. Drunken wild boar with no manners. Assholes. My kids.

I fly into a rage that sends each of them scattering – of course not to help me pick up, just to get the fuck away from the crazy woman on a rampage. I somehow get the youngest two out of the house and to their day camps. I spend the next two hours cleaning up their messes, muttering to myself and wishing I could just get drunk but I can’t because I have to pick the little shits up from camp.

Cut to this afternoon where I’m doing laundry, the kids have helped me pick up and I’m trying to go through their crap they brought home from school. The doorbell rings. A nice guy man is standing at my door with a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers with little airline bottles of vodka coming out of it!!!! Topped with a fucking butterfly! PEOPLE it’s like a gift sent straight from heaven. It was sent from an angel on earth, my sweet friend, Christina.

How freaking thoughtful and awesome is that?! Just when I was about to kill them all and myself too. (kidding, but you feel me)

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When I was in my 20’s what I desired most was to be someone’s wife and mother.  It was the 1990’s and my 1950’s yearning wasn’t very fashionable. Young women were forging their careers in finance, marketing, and a myriad of other professions. While I went to school full-time at night and worked full-time during the day as a secretary I harbored this secret wish of becoming a housewife. Completely unglamorous and completely lacking the need for any sort of brainpower.  Therefore, I had to pretend to have aspirations beyond housewife and mother.

In order to keep up the ruse of wanting to have a career I decided to get my law degree. Sure I had an interest in the law. My father was an attorney as were many, many, many of my friends (there will never be a shortage on lawyers in our country). I am a bleeding heart liberal who truly loves the law and is passionate about equality, justice and the Bill of Rights. But come on, I was never going to be William Kunstler or Alan Dershowitz. I’m a Gen Xer and lived up to that slacker reputation my generation had in our twenties. I didn’t have a strong work ethic.

In my late 20′s and early 30′s  I finally graduated from college (it only took ten years),  got married and earned my law degree.  In those years at law school I decided I actually did want to practice law. So what if I wouldn’t be the greatest civil rights attorney of my time – I could still help people. Also, it would be nice to pay off the student loans I (Big Daddy) was facing.

I studied for and failed the bar exam twice. I took the bar review course offered at my school and another big name review course I paid through the nose for. I hired a tutor. I failed. Twice. I was in the middle of studying for my 3rd attempt when my mother suddenly passed away.

My mother and I were very close; her death was hard on me. My husband and I moved in with my father the day she had her stroke. My father had Parkinson’s and needed caretaking.  It fell to us because we didn’t have kids and we could get out of our lease.

I went ahead and took the bar exam again. I don’t think I studied after my mom died, but I might have given it a half-hearted attempt. I was hoping all the studying I did for the last two exams would somehow get me over that finish line. I was wrong.

Two years went by and I had a baby. I decided I was going to go balls out and study for this fucking bar exam one more goddamned time and I was going to pass this time. I failed. Again.

Truth was I finally had my dream: a happy marriage with a wonderful guy, a beautiful, healthy baby girl and another baby on the way. Fuck the law, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, motherfuckers and I love it! I don’t need anything else.

 

Or so I thought.