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Interview meme

Here's how it works:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

haddayr asks me:

1. How do you primarily identify yourself?

The most frequent way I identify myself is "[Little T's] or [Special K's] Mom". I'm married to C, and I certainly identify that way, but I don't really identify as a wife most of the time, not having many domestic qualities beyond motherhood nor particularly wanting to. I also call myself a writer, disabled and Anglo-Burmese. Occasionally and especially this week I call myself a woman of color. Other labels fit, I'm sure, but are used less frequently and require caveats of various kinds.

2. Mountains, prairie, or ocean?

Ocean definitely. I love water. My name means water. I can't help it.

3. When you are writing, how do you feel?

It depends on what I'm writing. I tend to feel the same emotions as what I'm writing about.

4. How do you balance motherhood with working/writing?

I want both of my kids to know I'm always available to them if they really need me, but I also want them to know me as a person and not just "Mommy." I think it's incredibly unhealthy for both parents and children to have parents who live their entire lives revolved around their children. For one thing it makes it incredibly hard for the parents to let their children grow up and leave home. Writing is an important part of my identity. When I stop writing, it means that something's seriously out of whack with my life. So I don't feel guilty about any time I spend writing, that helps a lot.

I write in two different ways. The first way and the most frequent is to write when my kids are otherwise occupied. My poor son naps for hours every day. He has a lot to catch up. My daughter is old enough to entertain herself for some period of time and she alternates between wanting Mommy time and wanting to do things herself. Problem is I do get interrupted even when I have childcare. I have stuff to do. Kids want something. Still I get some writing done everyday.

I used to be anxious about how little writing I did, have a word quota, feel bad. C told me an apocryphal story about an author who wrote all his writing in the ten minutes between when his wife said "I'm ready" and she actually came downstairs. I realised somehow I'd written a third of my book, and my book proposal and two personal essays and a short story, so somehow I was writing, even though my output is far from Dickensian. So my only commitment is sometime during the day, butt in chair writing, when the kids are occupied and I don't have something pressing to do. Most days I end up writing, because I'm obssessed with my book.

I also meet a fellow writer at a cafe to sit and write one morning a week. Those chunks are more productive.

I think I would work also if I could find part-time work I enjoyed. Unfortunately I don't see how I can find the hours in the day to take Little T to all his appointments, manage his health care, work full-time and find any time for myself. I know some parents of very young special needs kids do so, but I think they miss the last part. We're very fortunate that we can live here on one income.

5. Do you feel "grown up" yet?
Most definitely. I think a big part of my definition of being a grownup is knowing who you are and feeling comfortable with yourself and where you're going. Ironically I think this allows me to be quite silly and childlike at times, because I'm not worried about being found out as a child pretending to be a grownup. Though most of the time I still feel pretty young. I want to live to at least 100.



( 12 notes — Leave a note )
Jul. 21st, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
I can never, ever resist this meme.
Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
As the Bryn Mawr step song goes:

Something pedantic, something semantic,
Something for everyone, the academic life!
Something rhetoric, something historic,
Something for everyone, the academic life!

  1. When did you decide you wanted the academic life as a career?

  2. Who were your particular mentors at Bryn Mawr?

  3. Would do you think Burney would blog about if she were alive today? Can you give us a sample entry?

  4. What do you think about when you paint portraits?

  5. How do you create your art?
Jul. 22nd, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
1. When did you decide you wanted the academic life as a career?

Well, when I was fifteen my mentor told me I would make a great teacher. I think the roots are there, though I think I've always been really driven to try to know *as much* as I could about something.

2. Who were your particular mentors at Bryn Mawr?

Well. Peter Briggs was my advisor and teaching mentor during the last 18 months I was at BMC, so he's the biggie. Joe Kramer was also a big part of my experience, as was Helen Rehl. Katherine Rowe was my supervisor when I worked as a technology intern, and from her I got a really honest sense of how academic research works. I had a semi-adversarial relationship with George Pahomov which was also very formative.

3. Would do you think Burney would blog about if she were alive today? Can you give us a sample entry?

Burney would have a largely private-locked blog, with some very tight filters, marked: Daddy, Daddy Crisp, Dr. Johnson, Sisters, etc.

It's cheating, but I think a lot of my life-writing is, consciously and unconsciously, informed by her talent for honesty and posing.

4. What do you think about when you create portraits?

It's a meditative experience for me, really -- truly paying attention to the other person, as best I can.

It's why I like to paint (for lack of a better verb) people I know or wish to know better. Someone once asked me why I painted in a style which can be fairly quickly replicated in Photoshop -- that's like asking why someone bothers to do photorealistic pencil drawings when a photograph could do better. The time, the process, is the value.

5. How do you create your portraits?

These days it's mostly done through Corel Painter, a program which simulates "real" media. I have a tablet and stylus which act as the input. Often I use a photo reference, but the correlation of color, etc., is never one-to-one.
Jul. 21st, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
I like the answer re. being a grownup. :)

Also, I am curious to be interviewed!
Jul. 22nd, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
  1. Are there any 80's songs you don't like? If so which in particular?
  2. Tell us the story of when you danced topless in front of dozens of complete strangers?
  3. And when you tried marijuana?
  4. How do you think having an autistic brother has shaped who you are?
  5. Do you feel you're a staple in every friend's diet? Why or why not?
Jul. 22nd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Jul. 22nd, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
I can't resist either. Interview me, please!
Jul. 24th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
  1. How did Charlotte come to be? I don't mean intimate details ;) but in general
  2. Do you consider yourself a mommy blogger? Why or why not?
  3. What did you do before you became Charlotte's mom?
  4. Where did you grow up?
  5. What's your favourite thing about Chicago?
Jul. 26th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
How did Charlotte come to be? I don't mean intimate details ;) but in general
Charlotte's conception wasn't necessarily intimate. I belong to the not-so-elite group of reproductively challenged. So, as we like to joke, there were 3 men in the room when Charlotte settled in--my husband, our reproductive endocronologist and the sonographer. Here's the scenario: Me on an exam table (you fill in your own details of my position and state of dress), DH at me left side, near my head, holding my hand, Dr. Kaplan on the pitcher's mound, as it were. Robert, the sonograper called the shots. Literally. Here's the conversation: "Okay, Kap, up a bit more, to the left, no back a bit, left. Good. Drop it there." It was everything we could do not to crack up on the spot.

More seriously, the decision to go as far as IVF was a bit less funny. We had always said that we'd not go to such extremes to get pregnant, that if it didn't happen "naturally," it wasn't meant to be, that we'd have a great life together regardless. We had even decided to renew our wedding vows in the event of no kids, to work with the Rabbi to rewrite them to focus on our partnership. But, the more we tried, the deeper we got into the possibilities. The more love we new we had to give. And so there were were, on 9/19/2004, with Robert calling the shots. And it worked, first time out of the bullpen. What a gift.

Hmmm. was that too intimate?

2. Do you consider yourself a mommy blogger? Why or why not?

In general, I hate labels. My original blog began as an email update on my pregnancy (once the heart condition was diagnosed) and Charlotte's progress. My mom (!) suggested that I turn it into a blog. I said, "Mom, do you know what a blog is?" She said, "No, not really. But you should have one." And Charlotte's Journey Home was born. Our hope now is that Charlotte's journey can help other parents of children with CHD and/or reflux. And, that perhaps I can figure out how to turn it into a book one day.

My LJ is an attempt to blog as me, as a writer, as a person trying to determine what to be in addition to a mother. That my username is Charlottesmom definitely shows that identifying myself beyond motherhood is a challenge for me right now. I'm hoping to add a weekly book review (kids' books mainly) and my own poetry for Friday Poetry at least once a month.

Mommy bloggers are cool--I'd love to in league with the Literary Mama group and such. But, I also don't want to limit myself to mommy blogging.

3. What did you do before you became Charlotte's mom?
I had a not-so-fulfilling career in Marketing for a major credit card. I left that job in May, 2004 and spent the year before Charlotte was born working on my writing and discovering that I love being a housewife. Seriously.
Prior to my 8 or so year stint in marketing, I was in academics. I have a doctorate in Film Studies, specializing in Latin American cinema. I was fairly well-published and presented at several conferences a year.I taught in and around the Chicago area, but was never able to land a tenure-track job. I left academics mainly because adjunct teaching doesn't pay the rent.

4. Where did you grow up?
Livingston, NJ

5. What's your favourite thing about Chicago?
The distance from NJ. Just kidding. I love that Chicago has everthing a big city can offer--great restaurants, superb theater, museums, parks--but has the soul of a village. I live in the city proper. You can walk to Wrigley Field easily from our house. But, you can barely hear the train, we have a backyard, and we know all of our neighbors. I've made my new mommy friends just by striking up a conversation at Starbucks, the park or Gymboree.

A friend once deemed Chicago the "land of the urban cowboy." I agree.

Jul. 24th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)
Jul. 24th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
  1. What's your favourite thing about Bryn Mawr?
  2. What's your least favourite thing about Bryn Mawr?
  3. What do you like the most about yourself?
  4. Was there a time when you were close to your parents?
  5. How did you meet Ben?
Jul. 27th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
I've posted my answers here.
( 12 notes — Leave a note )