A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by Parri Sontag, a fellow blogger, to participate in my first Blog Tour.
The idea is to tell a bit about ourselves, then share 2-3 of our favorite blogs with our readers. Not unlike speed dating, where you’re given a few minutes to get to know someone, until the bell goes off and you move to the next new meet-and-greet. I thought this sounded like fun, so I was in!
Parri Sontag is the hilarious genius behind “Her Royal Thighness,” which she tags “Torn Between a Little Waist and a Little Debbie.” Parri consistently makes you laugh out loud as she describes her relatable and universal real-life experiences. Parri and I were recently named as two of the BlogHer Voices of the Year in the Humor category. She’ll be presenting her hilarious award-winning post, titled “My Sister of Another Mother,” at BlogHer14 next month in San Jose. We’re going to be roomies, and I can’t wait to meet her IRL!
The instructions to the Blog Tour included answering four questions, so here goes:
1. What am I working on?
Right now, my focus is primarily on my upcoming book about living and laughing with Parkinson’s. I’m beyond excited about this. Taking a concept from an idea in the bathtub to an actual, hold-it-in-your-hands published book is exhilarating, exhausting, thrilling, and scary. The book is a series of humorous stories and anecdotes about my experiences with a progressive disease that makes me shake, rattle, and roll, and struggle with medication side effects ranging from an overnight delivery from the cankle fairy to voices in the dark from people that aren’t there, all while hoping no one will notice. I offer up my most embarrassing, but entertaining moments, in the hopes that they will resonate not just with Parkinson’s patients, but anyone living with a chronic disease.
I’m also working on getting more public speaking gigs on comedy and chronic disease. Research shows that many people fear public speaking more than death. For me, standing up in front of a group of people and making them laugh is a rush that can’t be duplicated. It’s just fun. And when someone tells me, “I have Parkinson’s, and this is the first time I’ve laughed about it,” I feel like I made a tiny difference in that person’s life. It doesn’t get any better.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve read many other posts on this Blog Tour, and most of us answer this question in the same way. My work is different from other humor writers because it reflects my voice. But I always try to connect with the reader emotionally. An endorsement for my upcoming book graciously describes what I’m striving to achieve, and I hope that this is true. She wrote, “Vikki Claflin’s writing is so relatable, her words and stories transport you to your best friend’s kitchen table where you shared your funniest moments and deepest fears over a cup of coffee. Her stories wash over you, bathing you in humor and cleansing your soul with laughter, leaving you wishing you knew her well enough to pull up a chair for her at your own kitchen table!” (Thank you, Leah Vidal, Author, Red Circle Days.)
3. Why do I write what I do?
This one is pretty simple. I can’t not write. I know, grammar Nazis, that’s a double negative, but it’s still true. It’s the way I see the world. In snippets, stories, and anecdotes. When a stranger backs into my car at an outdoor restaurant, directly in front of a table full of police officers (true story), or when Hubs sets himself on fire making s’mores (post on that one coming next week), my first thought is “Grab a pen and write that down.” Life is just too full of goofy moments not to share.
4. How does your writing process work?
Most of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night, in the shower, or in the car, none of which are conducive to note-taking. I try to have a pen and tablet with me at all times, but the morning after a 2 a.m. creative surge, I get up to a note that says “MemOez nurph Blink,” with absolutely no memory of what I was thinking. Notes written from the shower are usually too soggy to be of any use, and notes in the car become less legible with every pothole I bounce over.
But once I mentally retrieve a lost idea, I scramble to get down a rough draft, reworking it until it’s as hilarious as the original nocturnal flash of comedic genius. Then I walk away for a day or two to let it “gel.” Return later and determine that I’m a hack and the piece sucks, and what the hell was I thinking??
Two hours later, after relentless editing, copying, pasting, deleting, adding, and rearranging, I start to feel that little flutter that says “I can do this. This is good.” Click “Save.” Wait a few more days for any last-minute editing epiphanies, until finally I click “Publish,” irretrievably sending it out into the blogosphere and hoping it doesn’t become cage liner for some unknown and unimpressed pet parrot in Botswana. Repeat weekly.
The final instruction is to list three bloggers that I love, that I think you should check out!
Marcia Kester Doyle, author of the humorous blog Menopausal Mother, where she muses on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. Marcia is one of those writers who intimidates the hell out of me, and I love her anyway. Yeah, she’s that good. Marcia has been featured on Scary Mommy, Lost in Suburbia, Erma Bombeck, and Huffington Post, among others. She’s the author of “Who Stole My Spandex? Midlife Musings from a Middle-Aged MILF,” and a Humor Voice of the Year recipient at BlogHer14. Go to her site. Go now. You’ll be glad you did!
Angela McKeown is another one of my faves. Her blog Momopolize was in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Family Blogs. She’s been published in the best-selling anthology “Parenting Gag Reel, Hilarious Writes and Wrongs,” and will be published in the upcoming “Not Your Mother’s Book” series this fall. Angela writes about her four boisterous boys and even pokes fun at living with Lyme disease and Lupus. Check her out!
Karen and Wendy Irving are Canadian sisters who write the wonderful blog After the Kids Leave. The tag “First, We Rent Their Rooms” had me laughing before I read the first post. Their blog delivers a delightful mix of opinions, tales from the empty nest, travel, adventure, and general mayhem. It’s like visiting your crazy aunts…the ones who wear red hats and double-fist their coffee while dishing on the other members of your family. Pure delight!
And that’s a wrap.