Monday, May 5, 2014


If Andrea from About 100% asked me to hike part of the Appalachian Trail, I'd price hiking boots.  If she suddenly showed up at my house in a rental, a feathered boa, and a flimsy reason why, I'd drive us both to Vegas.  Actually, I would probably head to Nashville and tell her I'm horrible with directions. Since she has recently asked me to take part in a blog tour about our writing process, I'm all in.

What's a blog tour?  Not sure exactly.  But I do know what a writing process is because I spent 9,4245139587103758 hours in writing classes while lamenting about what I wanted to do with my life.  That's like eating twenty stuffed olives while rooting through the fridge for what you might like for a snack.  One Psychology then Journalism then Philosophy then Veterinary Medicine then Gerontology major later and I'm standing with weepy eyes before a Career Counselor the last semester of my senior year.  All the while, eating stuffed olives.

So, here's a failed psychologist/journalist/philosopher/veterinary student's take on writing.

1) What am I working on?

Foremost, a writing schedule. There are stories my kids ask me to tell them all the time ("Please, the one about Uncle Eric and you chasing him with your hairbrush!  The one about your dog getting stuck in the sewer at Thanksgiving!) that I want to compile in one spot for them.  I'm holding my feet to the fire until I finish that in the fall.  Another writing project I'm working on is sorting through all my old poetry from the 90s and seeing what can be shaped into what two decades later.  What's most interesting about those old writings isn't my sappy perspective or nostalgic heart. Tiger stripes, those are.  What's most interesting are the doodles.  There is something so therapeutic about those sketches.  Like silent flares and tiny explosions of encouragement from the sidelines.  Keep going, they say.  We're here to help, they promise.  Whose days couldn't use more suns bursting through the lines or curling gardens of teardrops in their margins?

2) How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
I might be one of the few who writes a blog but doesn't consider herself a blogger.  Through the years, I've learned that bloggers network, comment on each other's work regularly, and attend functions with other bloggers to grow and develop.  I tried for a while and spent most of that time hiding in a deli with a spoon in my mouth.  For that reason, my writing differs because I'm comfortable with or without an audience.  My audience here is an intimate group of intelligent friends (some I've never met) who come here to visit, nothing more.  They're not looking for advice or guidance.  They're not here for a revolution.  Neither am I.  Any time someone leaves a comment or sends an email, it's like we ran into a cafe from out of the rain, sharing an umbrella.  Unexpected fun.  A welcome surprise.

While I do appreciate readers, I write for myself as a rule.  For a later time when I can pore over the details of this busy life as a mom who knew she was missing the point sometimes.  For a later time when I want to remember who my children were before pessimism and teenage swag.  For a later time when I might not remember things so clearly and it begins to bother me.  When you write for yourself, realism and romance are your sanctuary while details and specifics become your stained glass.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Oops.  Got ahead of myself and already answered this question in number 2.  I do make a concentrated effort not to confuse my stories with anyone else's.  When starting this blog, I vowed not to write about anyone else's experience but mine- thus the name, One-Sided Momma.  It's becoming a fine line for my kids as they get older.  My comfort level with sharing them has changed since starting this blog.  I'm going with this recent evolution and feel happy to embark on a new path.  Fewer mommy stories and more about a lady trying to live her own personal truths - personal, professional, and sometimes spiritual.  Of course, this will necessitate a new blog name soon, I think.  Any suggestions?  

4) How does my writing process work?
Man, this question makes me feel like I forgot to study.  My writing process doesn't exist.  Or maybe it does but it's in my head.  Typically, a post is written in my head while I shower, mow the lawn, untangle my dogs on a walk, marry socks, or drive home in a quiet minivan.  Then, if there aren't any other pressing priorities, I jump on my husband's computer, twist my legs into an anxious uni-limb and type frantically until I feel an exhale coming on.  Every period is an exhale.  Every comma is an invitation for me to rewrite the sentence. I'm a huge comma splicing maniac.  Always trying to better the structure but forever leaning on old bad habits.

One thing my favorite English prof taught me was to learn all the rules first, follow them well for a very long time, then dance.  I probably dance too much.

Thank you for the visit.  It's always a pleasure sharing an umbrella with you.


Elizabeth Payne said...

I SO love this, E. You don't seem to dance too much, in my opinion! This photo, boy oh boy, I sure love it! It so catches my eye! Reading this all and writing to you, is grounding me (so thank you!!)...I'm sitting here studying and thinking thousands of things, but very few related to the task at hand, lol. Process, phew. I sure found mine in art (and other things) but it's often times, it's just a tool, like the number on a scale telling us how much our body weighs. Whoopie! (A little sarcasm). Like art's final product hanging on a wall and the number on the scale representing the body's mass (and the answers I have to calculate in statistics), it's not just what you're doing and the results that doing produces, it matters how you feel and think during the process. And not so much the mechanics or infrastructure of the whole shebang, but your feelings, thoughts (i.e. reactions) to that process. Those to me are the real meat and potatoes of the operation. I just so love your writings, and your project of stories for your kids! What a precious gift, one of the best to give and receive!!!! Ah, memories!!! One of the reasons I love photos so much, but the words, what a treasure when you can have both those and the pictures! You're a many-sided Mama =) I was also a major changer - I wanted to do it all - it killed me to have to face the choice of one.

Andrea Mowery said...

I love everything about this post. I admire you for your own path, for staying true to your voice and your experiences, for knowing so well your purpose as a writer. You have a solid talent, and I am so happy to know you and read what you have to say. And I'm happy you wrote this.

A Speckled Trout said...

There are always olives in our fridge. I suck at getting from Point A to Point B every single day. The thought of a blogging conference gives me the heebie jeebies. I think you're too tall to be my sister, but I swear......

Dia said...

Blog name: Tales from the Other Side. Been to a blogging conference. They pretty much blow.

OSMA said...

Liz - "I wanted to do it all - it killed me to have to face the choice of one." Yes, just what you said. The tough thing is narrowing don which is a common theme in my brain lately even all these years later. Thank you for leaving such an awesome comment and for reading what I have to say. Sending restful vibes to you. :)

Andrea - Glad you didn't unfriend me. My process is not having one maybe but I'm inspired by writers like you who make a time and a place to get it done. Fitting it in works when things run smoothly here. But that's averaging two posts a week so ummm, fail. ;)

SpeckT - I'm the tall, wallflowery, twisted sister you've been missing all these years. It's good to be back together :) May we enjoy together a jar of olives at a restaurant our GPSes help us get to one day.

Dia - LOVE it, gonna use it. Thank you. The one I went to blew, for sure, but only because I didn't get it. I wanted to see NYC and share dessert with bloggers instead of taking classes with them. I had it all wrong, sistah, alll wrong.

OSMA said...

Oops, Andrea. I meant to write two posts per month which feels very anemic to me.