As part of The Great Interview Experiment, I signed up to interview this fascinating individual. I learned a lot, and now you can, too!
1) I haven't happened upon your blog in the past, so let's start from the beginning. Why do you blog? What got you started? What part of your life are you trying to share?
I started reading blogs a few years ago and I was really inspired by a few of the women I was reading at the time. As a writer, I wanted to practice my craft, and I hoped that a few people out there might find something I had to say interesting. I tried a few different sites, but didn't really get into it until I started my blog at http://weightofmyworld.spaces.live.com. At that point, I was trying to lose some weight and thought if nothing else the blog might make me a little more accountable. It turned out that once I got started I didn't really want to stop. And I had a lot more to talk about than weight loss, although that did seem to be my main topic. I eventually switched over to Blogger and when that happened, for some reason my focus changed. I started broadening my topics and began touching on other areas of my life more than my weight loss issues. I think in general, I'm just trying to share my perspective with others, whether that be my struggle with weight issues, my political opinions, my book choices, or the random thoughts I had last Tuesday.
2) You mentioned in a recent blog that being a feminist has become a bad thing lately...that people put such a negative conotation on the word. What women have inspired you to boldly proclaim yourself a feminist?
My mom used to play I Am Woman by Helen Reddy when I was a kid and I distinctly remember sitting in the back seat of our station wagon singing it at the top of my lungs, so maybe it's just been a part of who I am for so long that I didn't even know it was there or that it had been inspired in me. I honestly think that it only recently occurred to me that my beliefs and values placed me in the feminist camp. Feminism, in my opinion, isn't talked about as a movement nearly as much as it once was and I think that makes it difficult for some people to understand and/or identify with it. I guess I wanted to start talking about it again to try and reduce the stigma of the term and, personally, to claim it as part of who I am so that I can begin to live it more.
3) You've written about a great deal from home ownership to exercise to diet and politics. How have you developed your thoughts on so many topics? Is it all personal experience; do you educate yourself on certain topics? In other words, what inspires your blog?
A lot of what I write about has to do with my personal experience. I'm a bit of a nerd, though, and I tend to research any topic that interests me in the least bit. Initially my inspiration came from my struggle with my weight (particularly at my first blog). Once I got more comfortable with blogging, I was able to open up a bit more about other areas of my life. I've tried to focus my blog on one or two topics, but ultimately I end up writing about whatever is happening in my life at the moment, whether that's decorating my house or losing the 15 pounds I gained after buying it.
4) Considering that my own blog is (perhaps overly) filled with postings about my various romantic entaglements, I am, of course, curious about the love lives of other, but I notice that, with the exception of some mentions of "My Love," your romantic life is curiously absent from your posts. What are your reasons for not disclosing this type of information?
That's a really good question and I ask myself that sometimes. I think it started out that the focus of my blog was my weight loss struggles so my relationship didn't really come up much. Now I think I avoid talking about the relationship because I don't want to get into the habit of airing out my dirty laundry, so to speak. I know myself, and I'm pretty sure I'd start posting about the things he's done to make me mad (and not so much the good stuff). Usually, once I've gotten the emotions out, I let things go. I think it's better for our relationship if I "get it all out" by communicating with him rather than venting online. Plus, he's a pretty private person, so I don't know how he'd feel about me telling the blogosphere about all of our ups and downs.
5) Writing seems to be your natural place in the world -- the area where you have the most talent and are most comfortable -- when did you decide you wanted to pursue writing as profession, and how did you get started?
I've always loved books, and I always liked to write. As a kid, I wrote letters all the time, some super short stories, and some terrible poems. I'm pretty sure that even then I knew I wanted to write the kind of stories that I was reading. There was a long period of time when I didn't do much in the way of creative writing. It didn't seem like a feasible option for me for a number of reasons that I won't get into. Still, I always liked writing--give me a 20 page paper over an exam any day. I took one writing class in college, and I think that's when I started to wonder about writing as a profession. I didn't really get serious about it for another five years or so. But once I did, I realized what I'd been missing and I've been pursuing it ever since.
6) You write for a couple of blogs, are a contributing writer, cover topics from going green and healthy living to buying a home -- you cover it all -- what's your favorite thing to write about? What are your ultimate goals as a writer?
I like to write about topics that can help other people, particularly health and fitness topics because they're of personal interest to me. In general, though, I like to learn about things and then teach people what I know through my writing. I also love to tell people's stories. If all of my writing dreams could come true, I'd like to be able to make a good living as a freelance writer and become a regular contributer for a major health/fitness magazine; write and publish a few non-fiction books, including a memoir or collection of personal essays; and write and publish several novels. If you're going to dream, dream big, right?
7) You own your very own home! What's your favorite part of home ownership? Would you do anything differently in your home search process if you had it to do again? What?
There are two things that I love most about owning my own home: the confidence it's given me to know that I'm capable of doing such an adult thing all by myself; and the ability to decorate it exactly the way I want it (even if I don't always have the money to do it right away). I know if there's anything in particular that I'd do differently, but knowing what I know now about how the market turned around, I probably would have waited another year for prices to drop and saved more money for the down payment.
8) What dream do you have for yourself that you have yet to meet...or even pursue at all?
Number one on my long list would be to get married and start a family. If you ask My Love, that will be happening "soon" but his soon doesn't seem to be quite on the same time scale as mine is. There are the writing dreams I mentioned above. I also have a lot of travel dreams--I want to see places like Australia, the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Paris, the list goes on and on.
9) Who do you want to be when you grow up? By that I mean, pick a person, living or dead, whose life you wouldn't mind emulating just a little bit. You needn't pick someone famous.
This is a really tough one. I try not to compare my life to others because I know that what I see is not always the whole truth; in fact, it rarely is. That said, I'd like to grow up to become someone noble and compassionate like Mother Theresa, someone passionate and courageous like Martin Luther King, Jr., someone loving and nurturing like my mom, and someone wealthy but extremely generous like Oprah or Bill and Melinda Gates. I know that's not one person, but I tend to set high standards for myself.
10) So, I wandered over to your "Weight of my World" blog, and I noticed a post where you mentioned your love for the show Heroes (you love it so much you turned it on during your TV turn-off week). In all honesty, how bummed were you that the season ended so early this year? Are you missing your show at all, or have you gone on to find so many other things with your time?
I was bummed out initially when Heroes ended so quickly, but I try not to watch too much TV during the week any way. And Lost just started, so that gives me something to look forward to each week. I'll be happy when next season rolls around, though.
11) There have to be writers who inspire you. So, they are going to come over to your house for a dinner party. Who are they, and what are you going to serve them?
Definitely Anne Lamott, Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, along with Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle and maybe Stephen King. I'd probably serve something Italian, like lasagna or spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, with a big salad for a side and cheesecake for desert. Simple but tasty, nothing too involved, so that we can spend most of our time talking.
12) And, last but not least, what is your greatest fear, and how do you plan to overcome it?
This is probably going to sound crazy, but I think my greatest fear is getting exactly what I've been dreaming of and wishing for. I'm a perfectionist, so the thought of finally selling one book and being expected to write another that meets some standard I've set sometimes scares the crap out of me. I wonder if I'll really make a good mother, and the daunting task of raising children that turn out to be good people seems REALLY difficult and frightening. Creating a marriage that is healthy and happy is a lot of work and I don't know if I'll be any good at it so that makes me fear getting into one in the first place. Traveling to new places tends to make me really anxious. All the things I dream of are things I fear getting in some way, so the only way to overcome it is to push past each fearful thought and continue to pursue my dreams anyway, one day at a time, one challenge at a time, until they all come true and I realize there was nothing to be afraid of.