But today, I get to be interviewed by the one and only Mel (of Melanie in Orygon http://melinor.blogspot.com) and it's a whole different animal - it's like walking on stage in the spotlight and having a seat on David Letterman's couch. Only Mel's a lot cuter... So sit back, grab a cup of joe (or a stiff drink if you feel the need) and enjoy the witty banter, er um... the answers to Mel's pressing questions.
1. You told me that you'd started to write a book, but that you'd stopped. Do you plan to go back and finish that book, or write a different one? (In my opinion? You should.)
Neither and both. I was typing away one night, letting my story flow out of my fingertips and onto the screen when I had a little niggling thought about how "correct" my "facts" might be. I emailed an expert, explaining what my story was, what I thought might become issues, and asked how would a certain item behave under various conditions. Turns out that you can't bend mummies. If you did, they would break. But if it wasn't dried out, it would be quite a heavy burden to tow on the back of a bicycle. So while I wasn't quite back to square one, I was stymied as to how to proceed. Since I am not in the habit of murdering people, I would need to either rethink my method of demise, or alter the method of disposal. Then I began to wonder if the dead body I needed to dispose of was, in fact, my book. Rather than dispose of it, I put it aside to marinate and got on with my life. I have hopes of resurrecting it, fixing it, and continuing though, because I believe in my heart of hearts that it really IS a good story.
I also have another story simmering in the back of my head. It's about the AIDs epidemic in the elderly. Listening to the radio one day, I heard someone say that the over 65 population has the fastest growth in contracting AIDs. They don't like to talk about sex much, but apparently they love doing it, because they are infecting each other at a rather alarming rate. That spun off into another story idea which hasn't seen paper yet but I'm hoping that once my move is finished I will have a chance to put it down in writing.
2. On your blog, you talk a lot about KenPo; this is a two-part question. Did you start taking this class because of Z-Boy only, or was this something you wanted to do for yourself, as well? Besides the improvement in your walk, how do you think it has benefited you since you started?
Oh, one of my favorite topics (can you tell?)!!!!
When I was little, my brothers took Judo. I would sit and watch those classes and take everything in, but I didn't take Judo myself. Whether it was because it wasn't something that "ladies" did or because it just didn't occur to me to ask to do it too, I don't know. But I do remember feeling intensely jealous of them for being able to do that. So I watched and the next time my brother John irritated me, I flipped him. He wasn't happy about that because no matter what he tried, he couldn't do the same to me (he says he doesn't remember this...). When we grew up, the boys returned to martial arts. John has a black belt in TaeKwonDo (as does his 16 year old son), Andy has one in TaeKwonDo as well. Matt is working on one in Cuong Nhu.
Early on, I realized that my son was going to be a big boy. And knowing my family, a less than graceful one. So I decided that he would either take some kind of dance class or martial arts so he would have more grace and control of his body. One day I was reading the paper, and saw a self defense class being put on by the local police department and the KenPo dojo. It was free and I decided to take my son. I was so impressed by the instructors that I decided to sign Z-boy up and myself as well. If I didn't do it now, when would I ever? I had the perfect reason! My husband came to watch Z-boy's first class and he signed up on the spot too! So it really has become a family hobby - which is very nice.
The benefits of doing this have been many. Not only has it improved my ability to walk and slowed down my osteopenia/porosis problems, it's made me stronger. I haven't really lost weight doing this, but I can see muscle tone that wasn't there before. I know how to defend myself should I need to. I feel confident in myself and my ability to take care of myself and my family. That in and of itself is priceless. I am not interested in cowering my whole life. I want to meet it head on. Being strong and confident is a good way to approach life.
3. You talked about not recognizing the woman in the mirror not too long ago, in a beautiful and frank post. Was it hard to write that post? Did it please you to discover that so many of us think you're beautiful, then and now?
It was incredibly difficult to write that post. It addresses the thing that I feel the least confident about - my appearance. I find it so odd and distressing that my outside doesn't match who I am inside - and I know that I am not alone in this. My grandmother used to talk about it. She always felt about 16 but was always shocked at seeing that old woman in the mirror. She told me this when she was 80. It made me realize that EVERYONE has some kind of issue with their appearance. Old. Fat. Wrinkled. Baby-faced. Too much hair. Not enough. I think most people can relate, which is why I went ahead and wrote about it, as hard as it was to admit this to anyone - including myself! But I think the response I got was so supportive, so uplifting, because so many people feel the same way. My son is wise beyond his almost-8 years. It IS love that makes people beautiful. In which case, I may just be one of the most beautiful people in the world. I love my son. I love my husband. I love my family and friends. And I love talking to all of you. You make my world so much bigger and more interesting.
4. The parenting experience is so varied from person to person. For example, I'm asking a 24-year-old about her experience with having kids in her teens, as I did. Do you think your experience of having a child in your mid-thirties has been harder, or easier, or just different than a person who started parenting in their teens?
I think it's been all of the above.
It's been harder because I'm older. I don't have the unlimited reserves of energy that a younger person would. My concerns about the world have moved on to larger issues rather than just what affects me (that seems to come with age). People wonder if I'm Z-boy's mother or his grandmother and it doesn't help that my granddaughter is only a year and a half younger than my son.
It's also been easier. I'm more steady. I'm in a relationship that I know is going to last. I have a good job that is very family friendly, more so because I've been there for a long time and they trust that I will get the work done even if I'm not actually in the office. So when the kid is sick, I work from home. When he needs me to be at school or take him to the dentist, I can do that. I have seen much and little my son does surprises me (in a bad way). I am more able to focus on him and enjoy him than I would be if I were younger and still trying to get my life underway.
But it's also been different. Having a child at age 37 radically changes life as you've known it up until then. You have to plan your life differently. Use your money differently. Take things into account that you never dreamed would be an issue. After 37 years of pretty much doing whatever I wanted to when ever I wanted to, the change was quite shocking, even if it was welcome.
5. This is a question I'm going to ask everyone I interview: Do you think that blogging has changed the way you write or the way you approach writing? If so, how?
Yes! For one thing, I actually DO write now. I was a terrific letter writer when I was young. It was my primary means of communicating with my grandparents and their families who live in England and N. Wales. Phone calls were so outrageously expensive and so poor in quality that writing really was the only way. When I went to school, I wrote stories and assignments the same way - informative, to the point. Expanding when necessary. Then... I stopped writing. Phone calls became cheaper and better quality. I got busy. And finally, I didn't feel like I had anything to say.
That changed when I had my son, but then I had no TIME. I turned to the computer and joined eDiets. I didn't get anywhere as a dieter, but I met some people that I "talked" to and realized that a whole new world of people were out there. One of my friends told me about her blog and the rest was history. I decided to write something everyday. Even if no one ever saw it, I would know I was writing again and maybe that would get me on my way to fulfilling my life-long dream of becoming an author. So while blogging seems somewhat self indulgent, it is setting up a habit that may just change my life into something I have always dreamed of. I would say that is a big change.
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