Written by Emily
This summer, I tried my hand at online dating. It started like all online love interests, I’m sure: biting my nails in my pajamas while crafting responses to little web exchanges. Devotees to eHarmony, Black People Meet, Zoosk, I was with you, wading through the emotional trenches hoping to come out on the other side with some semblance of dignity and, with any luck, a soulmate.
I usually build relationships face-to-face while I stumble over small talk speed bumps, so this was uncharted territory for me.
It started innocently enough with tweets and retweets and private FB messages. It was casual. Easy.
We graduated to phone calls, a huge step because voice is everything. I’m ashamed even saying that since a doctor’s office once asked me if my mother was home to which I replied, “I am the mother.”
While I waited for the first call, I pictured my father pantomiming in the background, pressing his hand from his chin to his chest over and over, willing my voice to drop 17 octaves into a range just between a post-pubescent girl and someone named Glitter who answers 900 calls.
Forty-five minutes later, I knew this relationship had potential.
We talked two more times.
It was time to meet.
We chose to have our first date in Washington D.C.. And we were going to go all the way with dinner and a hotel stay.
My outfit rested on my dresser, the rejects in haphazard piles on my bedroom floor. I showered. I shaved. In my thoroughness I found a patch of hair on the back of my thigh that I’ve been missing since 1997. If nothing else, that could be my positive should this whole meeting take a turn for the worse.
Thankfully, the positive turned out to be Carisa Miller, the writer behind the computer I opted to meet for a long weekend without my kids. It was a good. Carisa is clever and quick, positive and charming. She is very much the woman who comes to life on the computer screen when you read her work. Check out her latest piece on Scary Mommy and then head over to Bon Bon Break to read “Mama, Dance for Me”. It makes me wish I had the grace of a real dancer. When you’re finished practicing your ballet moves, spend some time on her blog. You’ll want to meet her, too.
Why do I write?
It’s the same reason I exercise: for my mental health. There’s stuff buzzing around inside me like insects trapped in a jar. When I write, I open the lid and suddenly I don’t feel erratic emotions crashing into the walls of my chest. I can breathe.
What does my writing process look like?
I used to fill floral journals with bad poetry when I was in elementary school. I could feel a kind of magnetic pull to the journal section of Walden Books, a stop we made every Friday night after mom and dad cashed their checks. The smell of books. The possibilities of blank journal pages. It was heaven inside a mediocre mall under florescent lights.
I don’t journal much anymore, though I do have a little notebook in my purse in case inspiration strikes. My journal has been replaced by the bright screen of my computer, and I take to it after my little ones are tucked in for the night.
Why am I different than other writers?
My voice is my own, and it was born out of experiences that are distinctly mine: the whirling thoughts while I curled up on our faux leather chair as a child, the characters I imagined in our mimosa climbing tree, the vignettes I crafted in the mirror, observations like my grandmother’s Scotch taped hair, the stories my dad whispered to us in the night. I could go on forever. We all have them, pieces of our history that speak to us in the quiet.
While I hope that others can relate to what I write and that my sentiments and observations resonate with others (certainly my parenting ones), the way the sentences are pieced together, that is mine.
What am I working on?
A million things and nothing. I’m working on being a more attentive, patient parent first. My children would probably say, “You are?!” And when those cherubs sleep, I write. I wrote a novel when I was pregnant with Sylvie. It’s in the documents folder of my computer, and it has been there for a long time. It needs revising and editing, the grueling detail work that requires focus and time. Someday.
I’m also working on a children’s book, which thrills me. The illustrator is phenomenal and has totally captured the heroine. I can’t wait to take the next steps in that process.
I’ll continue writing to the sound of my children’s heavy breaths and subtle snores. And I’ll breathe.
Our next stop on the tour is Meredith from Perfection Pending. I first discovered Meredith through Stephanie Sprenger. She wrote a great parody of “Say Something” that totally captured my dinner table battles: “Eat Something.” With lines like “I’ll make hot dogs if you want me to”, I had to check her out after making sure she wasn’t standing outside my window mocking our mealtime charade.
Meredith’s blog is a fantastic collection of heart, parenting insight and recipes I can’t imagine her family doesn’t devour. She writes honestly, and I find myself nodding again and again. Her piece on Mamalode, “Be Brave” is so spot on, and “Racing” absolutely captures motherhood and really just the constant motion of living. There is so much good on her site. Grab a drink and curl up with Perfection Pending. It’ll be a great start to the week.
Happy Monday, friends!