Now I’m going to start off by confessing a little here—when I first started blogging Antique Mommy was one of the first five or ten blogs I found and I loved her writing right away. I lurked quite a bit but at some point I must have got up the guts to leave a comment because I still remember the thrill of finding a comment from her here at Scribbit.
So I had a hard time with questions this time but after you see how well she's handled my attempts at conversation I'm sure you'll be sold on her too if you aren't already a fan.
And I completely want to join her on one of those photo safaris!
I have to start by saying I’ve always been impressed at how friendly, generous, or accessible you are as a blogger (pardon my gushing). So I guess my first question is . . . how do you find time for visiting and reading blogs? Is it hard to keep up with this as your site grows? Any tips for those who might be struggling with this?
Wow, that’s really nice to hear! But in the interest of honesty, I have to tell you that I don’t keep up. The blogosphere has grown exponentially since I started blogging, and I can’t keep up with everyone anymore. Last fall I relieved myself of that expectation. When you come to motherhood as late as I did, time is always the overriding theme and the onus to spend it judiciously is pressing.
These days my blog reading is sporadic and serendipitous rather than systematic. I do respond to quite a few of my comments though because to me, blogging is a conversation, not a lecture. I’m in my email off and on all day, so it doesn’t take but a second to reply with whatever thought I had when I read the comment. If someone made me laugh I want to let them know. If they shared something, I want to acknowledge that. I think the comments are the best part of my blog.
You’ve written a short story serialized on your blog—have you done more fictional writing? Do you have any goals in that area?
I haven’t done any more fictional writing only because of lack of time, but I would love to do another serialized story for the blog. I have a couple of family sagas in mind, one that includes a scalping, as well as some children’s stories, which do not include scalpings, although compared to what happened to Hansel and Gretel, maybe a scalping isn’t so bad.
Again, it’s a time thing. I thought that once Sean got a little older and more self-sufficient I would have more time, but it turns out I have less, so it is increasingly harder to find a quiet time and space to write anything of length.
The categories that you assign your posts have some of the best titles I’ve seen—everything from “Tuna” to “Crow Casserole.” What kinds of posts are your favorite to write?
I love to write character studies and there is no shortage of characters in Tuna and Wal-Mart and the other places I find myself. I love to write stories that speak to the amusing and perplexing condition of modern life.
If I can get a little more personal here—though it’s on your blog so it’s fair game right? Within 10 years you seem to have been through tough things most women pray they never have happen to them. How do you think those experiences of being widowed, the joys of remarriage, then dealing with infertility and now raising a son at a later age has affected you as a person? How about your writing? Did you write before all of this?
I have always loved words and loved to write stories, but it wasn’t until I started my blog back in 2005 that a mechanism was in place for me to write consistently. I think of the trials of my life, those that you mention, as sort of these gritty wind storms that have swept through and chiseled me into who I am. There will no doubt be more storms to weather and more chiseling ahead for me. And while these storms have shaped me, they do not define me. I never wanted to be one of those people who made a career out of their woes.
After going through so much how do you view it all in retrospect? Could you go through it again? What would you say to someone whose life isn’t going quite as they’d hoped it would be?
I would go through it all again ten times over to be where I am today and who I am today. In a way, I feel sorry for those who have never had their boat rocked because it is the darkest and most uncertain moments of life that bring you face to face with your own frail humanity and powerlessness. There is a certain wisdom and blessing that comes from being so completely emptied, a truth so beautifully told in the book of Job.
What to say to one who is suffering disappointment? Sorrow is a complicated and personal thing and something that can’t be addressed on a bumper and I wouldn’t want to trivialize anyone’s pain by trying to do that here. “Keep your chin up” doesn’t quite cut it when you are broken and hurting.
All I can say is that Michael Angelo’s “David” was but a hunk of rock until he took a chisel to it. None of us will leave this life unscathed and having weathered a few storms, I wouldn’t even want to.
You’ve mentioned you’ve traveled quite a bit before you had a child. What are some of your favorite places you visited?
These days, there is no place like home. I’d just as soon go to Paris, Texas as Paris, France.
Any advice for women raising children later in life? Or grandmothers raising their grandchildren? Surely you have a pearl of wisdom somewhere you can share.
I’m probably the last person who should be doling out parenting advice. I have no idea what I’m doing. I mess up a lot. I’m quick to say I’m sorry when I’ve over re-acted or yelled and Sean is quick to forgive. My child knows I love him fiercely. I tell him daily that I was glad he was born, glad I got to be his mom and that he is a source of joy to his mommy and daddy, that we like him.
My prayer is that the tremendous amount of love I have for my child will cover over the myriad of mistakes I will make as a parent on any given day. That’s what I pray for anyway.
You take lovely photographs—have you had much training? Any tips for improving the photos on one’s blog?
Thank you! No, no training. I totally bumble around, the same approach I take to motherhood and life. I intuitively know how to compose a picture, but I have no idea how the box works. I am going to learn. As soon as I have time.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I keep a list of story ideas, little snippets of scenes from life I want to capture. When I get an idea it goes on the list, which is currently about three pages long. If nothing noteworthy has happened during my day, I go to the list. I’m an observer. To me, life is theater and there is always a scene unfolding somewhere that deserves to be put to words.
Now, if I were trying to write something profound everyday, I’d be in trouble. I’d have about three posts in my archives!
Do you see your writing changing as your son gets older?
Yes. The older he gets, the less the writing is about him. A boundary is emerging that increasingly shouldn’t be ignored or crossed and I want to be careful to respect that. I have watched a number of my blogging friends with children a bit older than Sean negotiate this and I’ve taken heed.
If you could take tomorrow off and spend the entire day pampering yourself (just hypothetically right?) what would your day include?
I’m a simple girl; I don’t require much physical pampering. For me, pampering means the opportunity to indulge my creative spirit which I guess would be a pampering of the soul. I would get up very early and slip on a pair of old cargo pants, flip flops and a tank and then I would jump in my car with my camera and go on a photo safari.
In the afternoon, I would go into my studio and work on a painting using one of my photos as inspiration. In the evening I would have some good Mexican food delivered and I would sit down with a glass of Sangria and work on a story. Obviously my son and husband are off on an all-expense paid trip to Lego Land.
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