Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Someone I'd Like You to Meet: Antique Mommy

Antique MommyNow 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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Anonymous said...

What a wonderful interview! She just charmed her way right onto my blog roll; thanks so much!

jacjewelry said...

What a terrific and powerful interview - I am going to check out her blog! Thanks for sharing.

JanMary said...

Loved the interview.

I am another huge fan of Antique Mommy and was thrilled when she visited my blog.

Also visited here today to tell you how much I am enjoying your ebook on blogging. Wish I had this resource when I got started! I should be doing laundry, but keep reading just another chapter....and so it goes on!

I have finally, after 2 years, switched to my own domain name - woohoo!

Enough rambling, this is supposed to be a comment, not an essay.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading posts from you Interviews and Guests category. Your more in-depth look at these people helps me know them a bit better. And if they are bloggers, will I follow them. That answer is usually yes!

Your interview with Antique Mommy was no exception to the rule. Her down-to-earth persona and writing is something I can learn from.

Thanks, Michelle, for another post that is not only entertaining, but helpful. I especially liked the thought of releasing myself from certain blogging expectations. I agree time is precious and I want to be wise in how I spend it too.

Omah's Helping Hands said...

Really enjoyed the interview. Thank you for introducing her. She seems like a lovely woman. Can't wait to visit her blog!

tjhirst said...

Thanks Michelle for continuing to host the write-away contest and to Antique Mommy for judging this month. I find wisdom in her words and draw strength from this line "And while these storms have shaped me, they do not define me."

I believe we are so consumed as women in defining ourselves or proving ourselves to other people. This statement allows the events of life to shape our character rather than present a picture for thew world of who we are or who we are not.

Renna said...

AM was also one of the first blogs I discovered when I began reading blogs, and I love reading her blog as much today as I did when I first began reading it.

It's hard to put into words how great her writing is. It's so simple, and yet so profound. She makes you think a little deeper about things which could so easily be overlooked as mundane.

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, and appreciate the well thought out questions you presented to her!

Tom said...

One of my most favorite bloggers interviewed! What a cool thing!

I completely understand the notion of time becoming more scarce as your son gets older. I'm finding that to be true in my case too.

Excellent interview and insight into a truly enjoyable mom/writer/photographer

Angela said...

What a delightful interview. Her answers were all fabulous and well-thought out and some very poignant...but I'd be remiss not taking the time to compliment your journalistic skills. You asked some very insightful questions. You both are not only gifted writers and classy ladies, but almost intimidatingly intelligent as well.

Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed this interview -- thank you! I've been a long time reader of Antique Mommy and while I think I've only commented a handful of times, please know I've laughed, cried, pondered and been inspired to enjoy life a little more by your posts.

Take Care,

k and c's mom said...

Antique Mommy was the first blog I read. I remember the post clearly: it was written around pictures of her son running from some dogs. That she could take that little big and make me laugh out loud--I was hooked on her posts. Thanks for a great interview!

Pat said...

I've been reading Antique Mommy for some time and she's a favorite! And now I'm glad she's directed me to you. Great interview!

Beverlydru said...

A.M. was also one of the very first blogs I read. I found you through your comments on her blog. I like getting to know people that way. A fascinating network of friends. Fabulous interview. I like hanging out with smart women!

Mommy Cracked said...

AM is also one of my favorite blogs to read. The questions you asked her were very interesting, as were her answers. Great post.

perilloparodies said...

she sounds like such a neat blogging friend to have and quite an inspirational one at that!! well done, Scribbit! that was very enjoyable, and i will be stopping by her blog very soon. :-)

Hope you are well and having a great day...

Hey, a thought, when you have trouble thinking of a Writing Contest theme, she seems to be a great person to ask for ideas. my thought... Tuna, Chiseled, boundaries... just from your own choice words... :-)


(hosting a giveaway!! come on by and see!)

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

What a great interview Michelle!

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Great interview--I'm always fascinated to hear where writers find their inspiration... it really is the little things that bring out the best in the written word. I, too, keep a notebook of "scenes" from my day--funny things the kids say, stories that unfold at the grocery store, snippets of conversations I have with my girlfriends. I go nowhere without it! Glad to see a fellow writer finds similar joy from this.

I'm new to your blog and must say that I thoroughly enjoy it! Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful conversation; I'm definitely going to check out Antique Mommy's blog, too.

CountessLaurie said...

I love that Antique Mommy makes sure her husband and son are having the best time ever so she can indulge. Says a lot about her as a person!

(Need a blog etiquette post. When commenting about someone in someone else's blog, do I direct my comments to them or about them?)

Thanks to both of you for a great interview!

Anonymous said...

Antique Mommy was the very first blog I read when I started reading blogs. Thanks for this interview- it was a great way to learn more about her!

Headless Mom said...

I love her!

And I love your interviews! Great questions, M.

Patois said...

Great interview on both ends. I remain, as always, big fans of you both.

Scribbit said...

Ah gee, thanks for all the nice comments--and Laurie don't worry, you're about the most polite, sweet commenter I know :)