My Next Big Thing

I rarely participate in chain letters anymore. No matter how many chain letters I sent out as a gullible hopeful youngster, I never got anything back, even though I was promised millions if I just I added my name to the bottom of the list and sent one dollar to the person at the top. Any day now, I’m sure.

The last chain letter I did — reluctantly — involved stickers for my kid. And I only agreed to participate in that one over the summer because another mom friend arm-twisted cajoled me into it, promising, “It’ll be fun for the kids to get stickers in the  mail!” How do you say No to stickers for kids? So I dutifully mailed a packet of sports-themed stickers to the first kid on my mom friend’s list; moved her kid’s name to the first slot; added my own kid’s name to the next slot; sent out six letters to other friends’ kids in the hopes that they’d join the “fun”; then sat back to wait for the deluge of stickers to come our way. We got exactly one package back. At least it was better than I did as a kid.

So, jaded as I am with regard to anything chain related (well, other than those of the 14K or platinum variety), you’d think I’d have dodged something like a Blog Hop, like a hard-thrown ball in phys-ed class. A Blog Hop is exactly like a chain letter. Except … when Susan Bearman of the Two Kinds of People blog (http://2kop.blogspot.com) posted on Facebook yesterday that she was looking to include bloggers in a Blog Hop post about her Next Big Thing, answering a few questions about my Next Big Thing writing project sounded like a whole lot more fun and satisfying than waiting for crumpled dollar bills to arrive in the mail. For starters, I love talking about my work. What writer doesn’t, right? But, bonus!! I got to find out more about Susan’s latest project, Animal Store Alphabet Book. And the memoir that Nancy Hinchliff, the blogger who originally tagged Susan, is working on. And this Blog Hop thing has also given me the opportunity to reach out to other bloggers whose work I love, so I can arm-twist cajole them into talking about what they’re working on these days too. In the next several days, I’ll be posting their links here, so please check back … and check out what Susan Bearman and Nancy Hinchcliff posted about their writing projects too at the links above.

So, without further ado, here are the questions I was asked to answer.

1. What is the working title of your book or project?

It’s a collection of humorous essays, based on this blog, about stumbling through parenthood, called Don’t Put Lizards In Your Ears … And Other Totally Bizarre Things I Never Thought I’d Do, Say Or Think, But Absolutely Did After I Became A Mom.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

My son was 18 months old when I caught him jamming something rather determinedly into his right ear. Q-tip? Pencil? String bean? Exact-o knife? Who knew what he had. But after I vaulted over several pieces of living room furniture to reach him and unfolded his tightly clenched fist, I saw he’d picked up a dead, desscicated lizard, something one of our cats had carried in from the patio. “Don’t put lizards in your ears!” I scolded. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I burst out laughing. That’s a totally crazy thing to say. And I immediately thought, That’s the perfect title for a collection of essays about the crazy things that happen to you once you become a parent.

3. What genre does it fall under, if any?

Humor and memoir. Everything in it is true, but I’m known to play it broadly for laughs.

4. If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

If I ran the zoo (or production company), I’d tap Winona Ryder to play me. Eons ago, maybe back when she did Heathers, a friend grabbed an issue of Esquire with her on the cover — she could have been my twin. Greg Kinnear would play my husband Stewart. I’m not up on the current crop of child stars, but I’m sure we could find someone adorable and precocious to play my lizard-loving son.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

A “snap-shot” style memoir in essays about the ridiculous things that happen to you once you become a parent.

6. Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m hoping an agent will pick it up, but one way or another this baby’s getting published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ll let you know when I get there. I’m more than a third of the way through now.

8. What other book or stories s would you compare this story to within the genre?

It’s in the style of Justin Halpren’s Sh*t My Dad Says. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

I specialize in “fish out of water”-style essays about the often-strange situations I’ve found myself in — living off-grid in a solar-powered house, setting a world record during a masturbate-a-thon. My son just provides me with bizarre situations on a daily basis.

10. What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

Anyone who’s been flummoxed by parenthood will relate to these stories. And isn’t that just about every parent, at some point? Stay tuned!

 

These writers will be writing about their Next Big Things on their blogs. Please visit and comment. 

December 6: Cindy A. Brown Everyday Underwear: Do You Read Me? I Could be the Next Big Thing.

Cindy talks about Forty Days Without A Face, how a 40-day “fast” from hair and makeup “shed harsh light on her fears and insecurities, ripping away the mask she wore to hide her disturbing past.”

December 7: Liane Kupferberg Carter http://lianekupferbergcarter.blogspot.com 

In my memoir Love Is Like This: A Family Grows Up with Autism, I explore the uncharted terrain of raising the older child with autism into adulthood. Many autism narratives focus on recovery.  But the truth is that most children with autism are not “cured.”  And while much has been written about what it’s like raising a young child on the spectrum, few books tell you what really happens in the two decades after that diagnosis.  How do you make the trade-offs you must to create an ordinary life for a family, while dealing with the extraordinary needs of a disabled family member?  How do you keep your family intact?  How do you survive – and even thrive?

 

Photo credit: Deliormanli