In a short period of time, it seems that I’ve gotten an awful lot of questions about the blog, or my writing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had more lunches out than usual, or certain posts strike a nerve, but the emails and face to face questions seem to be the same. I figured it is the perfect post for The Middle.
Houston, I Have a Problem!: Boy did I get a lot of comments and/or questions about this one! Lots of advice too. So, the update: I cleaned up one of the closets mentioned, but still have some more clearing, in there, to do. My office: Magazines from my office are all gone folks! I held onto 2 from 2011 that still have articles I want to read, but got rid of about 40+ others. Most went right into recycling, but friends nabbed a few others. I’ve donated about 60+ books as well. Many were books I thought I’d hang onto forever, but when I got in the groove, the box filled itself. Off to the Middle School book fair. I shredded 300+ pages of graduate work (all hand typed… 25 years ago)! That was tough, at first, and then I really got our shredder heated up! As I did it, Denmark and U.S./Little Man shrieked: “What are you doing!!” Little Man added: “You’re shredding your memories!” Oh my; I’ve ruined him already! I reassured them both that I still have my Masters, I shredded only the papers. I kept about 30+ pages that had personal writing, worth keeping. Some of which, I’m sending to an old friend’s daughter, who was the subject of several entries (child development). She was thrilled. My office is still crazy, but it’s getting there. I’m working on picking smaller projects and tackling them one at a time, in the hopes of seeing bigger progress. Thanks for all the good ideas and encouragement! (^^That is what 300 pgs of graduate work looks like, shredded and in our compost bin. The roses were accidental, but how appropriate.)
The book: I will not hear anything from the publisher until at least April 1st. I feel like thousands of college applicants feel right now: waiting to hear something good, and making back-up plans. Thanks for all the well wishes. It’s an enormous long shot, so I’m working on next steps. I’ve met with a few knowledgeable people, and have started a new writing project. Lots of options to consider, but all of them overwhelm me if I think too long about any one. Such odds stacked against me is daunting, but I love the writing. I’m digging in my heals.
Main book question: Yes, it is definitely fiction. However, it also uses lots of my own life experience or my feelings about things. Some will read it (if it’s published) and say, Hey! I remember that. In the end, it’s fiction, despite plenty of familiar details. I recently read that nearly every first novel is mostly memoir. This is fictional memoir at best, but lots of fiction.
Asked too many times lately: It’s amazing how many people bring up the blog to me, or think that I’m worrying about whether they read it. I don’t. If I mention it, it’s not to test whether you have read it. I really don’t worry about that. In fact, I forget that so many people I know might potentially be reading this, and then when I see them, and they ask about something personal, I’m often thrown off kilter. Like singing in your car, you wouldn’t necessarily get up and do it at open mic. I don’t keep track; I can’t, other than to see how many hits it got on a particular day and from where. I don’t think about what I’m saying and who will read it. Each post just comes out the way it is in my head… for better or worse. I write therefore I am, kind of thing. Most posts, like the novel and the project I’m working on now, just start writing themselves in my head, and then I sit down and type them. I don’t think about how much of my personal life you are reading… good or bad. Yes, there are moments when that is scary and strange, but in the moment, I forget that. Basically, I live in my own little writing bubble… thankfully.
Cathartic: Yes, writing is cathartic for me and I do work out lots of things as I write. Like the last post, many are purging/cathartic get it down posts. I get asked that a lot!
Permission to use material: No, I don’t ask, per se, my kids/husband/family/friends/etc for permission to use what I observe. That said, I try to be respectful. The kids know I will use things, and if I’m in doubt, I ask them. For instance, U.S./Little Man, when asked by a friend of mine if he minded me printing things, specifically: she was asking that day about the Wenis. He replied, “The minute it came out of my mouth, I knew it would be in the blog. It was pretty funny… how could she resist?” He clarified to the friend, that there has been nothing he’s minded so far.
Does my family read the blog? Middle Man never reads it. If he does, he denies it. I’ve asked him to read 1-2 posts, and he has, but says that he knows my voice, and it’s strange to read my stories here. Principessa reads them occasionally, but not all of them. She’s too busy getting ready to graduate from college. She tells me what she thinks, when something strikes her. Little Man is proud of my writing, but only reads it occasionally… he’s living the dream; he doesn’t need to read the post about it. My husband reads some, not all.He likes the writing, and thinks many are funny, but he’s busy and probably prefers to hear it first hand. He didn’t love the nickname “Hubby,” but neither did I. I think he feels “Smart Guy” is much closer to the mark… He isn’t as quick with sarcasm, clearly.
How do my kids feel? Again, they don’t read most of my posts. Principessa/Israel has firmly requested that I don’t use pictures of her or too many specific details. She cares the most about what I put down. Middle Man/Canada doesn’t read them, but has said clearly that he thinks it’s great that I’m doing it, and that “it’s my thing.” He also points out, that if I write too much and become “famous,” he can write a “tell all” book and bring me down. Hmm, clever boy. Little Man/U.S. is very good natured about it. He’s proud of my writing and thinks it’s a good thing, but doesn’t want to see too much of himself show up in here. Denmark is A-Ok about it. She reads most posts and comments privately to me. She’s also passed it on to Denmark (the country) where I’ve picked up a few readers! China does not read it, but rolls his eyes when I tell him I’m putting something he’s done, in the blog. He seems to be ok about it.
China and Denmark: The both arrived the end of August and will return to their countries in June. That will be a VERY sad day for our family. We have become a family, and will miss them both very much. They have both had an amazing year here so far, and are great kids. I skype with Denmark’s parents and would be friends with them if they lived closer. China’s parents don’t speak English, but are very nice. China is funny and has improved his understanding of English, and American customs so much… though he still tends to bring us all to our knees with the things he misses. Denmark is savvy and sharp. She gets accused of being my favorite, and Ms. Perfect by the boys. I have to be mean to her sometimes, to prove them wrong.
Do we really laugh that much? Yes! We do. This year with China and Denmark has been a LOT of laughs. A friend keeps telling me that her kids want to be an exchange student in our house; ha! I am a crazy ass person, and that can be good or bad… depending on the day. I think, overall, both China and Denmark would definitely tell you that they have been very happy here, and we have loved having them. There are still chores, arguments and less funny moments; but yes, we do laugh that much.
Blog Stats: I get a daily update of how many hits there are to the blog. The stats show me which posts are being viewed (some may click on it and not read it); these are “hits.” I do not see who these people are; there are no names or personal details connected with the hits. I admit to some degree of obsessiveness in checking these stats, and definitely check them each day. When I get a new subscription, I only am given the log in that that person chooses. So, if someone I know uses their name, I am told that name has subscribed. Numerous people subscribe and choose to keep their name private, and then I am told “someone” has subscribed. The same goes for comments: I can only see what someone wants me to see. For quite a while I had comments from someone who went by “artlover.” It was only after I left a response that made it clear that I didn’t know who it was, that I found out artlover was an old friend, from out of state! The newest WordPress detail is that they show me from which countries my hits come. That is really fun and has added a lot of cool factor to checking the stats. It’s way cool to see Estonia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Czech Republic, on the list. That 25 Canadians read the blog today, despite my Oh Canada post a while back, gives me hope that my Canadian readers have a sense of humor… even if they make going to my local Costco crazyville. (Humor folks!) I started June 28th and I’m fast approaching the 20,000 mark… for Sweet Mother: I believe I just covered most of your checks for blog arrogance.
Finally, a challenge to readers: In my quest to get rid of stuff, de-hoard, clear things out, reclaim my office and closets… I’m offering a challenge. For each new Like on my Tales from the Motherland Facebook page, I will donate 2 things. If you want, I’ll donate it in your name! I’m currently at 71 likes and hoping to get to 100. My cousin A is the most recent Liker, so found 10 more books and put them in the donation box. Hit the link here, and then hit the like button for the page… not the post, for the page. (Read this, if you don’t know what I’m talking about) Trust me, this is a big step for me… but clearly I’d sell my soul to the highest bidder!
Stop! Really. Read this. Please note: Check out the Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland. Please take a moment and like the new Facebook page (the page, not just a post). If you enjoy these posts hit “Like” and make me smile. It also helps my blog grow and that is the point. Go back and hit Like. Thanks. Then, be a good dooby and “Share” them with others; it’s nice to share. Better yet Like them; Share them and then do something nice for yourself: “Subscribe.” You won’t get any spam, you can sign up with an anonymous name (I won’t know who you are, unless you tell me), and you will get an email each time I post. Think of it as a free gift to yourself. You know you want to. Go ahead, make my day (sorry about the gun, but this is serious business).