I Hate Decisions: I Need Help Picking an Author Headshot

I am trying to decide on my new profile picture for my book jacket.  I am seriously thinking about self-publishing and I need to move forward from the whole mine field of thinking an agent is going to be the most important thing for me to get published.  The whole thought of I. Need. An. Agent. To. Validate. My Skills. As. A. Writer.  I am a writer, aren’t I?  This is where you can validate me.  Ha Ha.

Truth be told, I have contacted the agent that is reading my motherhood memoir and I have not heard back from he/she.   Granted, a hurricane is headed towards NYC and my polite check-in via email is the least of his/her concerns, but I would like to know where I stand.  Is it great? Is it bad? Is it marketable? Better yet, is it sell-able?  Does he/she love it ? Does he/she hate it?

I am a curious creature.  I will admit I crave validation.  I was a stand-out athlete in high school and I played soccer in college (Division I — do you hear the horns tooting?)  It strikes me as funny and a little pathetic now how I love validation.  But nothing holds a candle to how I feel when I just do it and write.  It feels good to get all those feelings and thoughts down on paper –or rather squeezed out in a sentence which turns into a paragraph which turns into a page and then it is like skating on a frozen lake you know every corner of…just magic. Let the blade slice into the ice and off you go.

One of my favorite quotes is from guess wh0 — yes, Anne Lamott.

“The great writers keep writing about the cold dark place within, the water under a frozen lake or the secluded, camouflaged hole. The light they shine on this hole, this pit, helps us cut away or step around the brush and brambles; then we can dance around the rim of the abyss, holler into it, measure it, throw rocks in it, and still not fall in. It can no longer swallow us up. And we can get on with things.”

Well, that is what my book is about — the water under the frozen lake of motherhood.  There are some deep cold pockets in that water, just as there are some beautiful snowy, sugar white sparkly — stop you dead in your tracks kind of awe and wonder.  Motherhood, she is one complex braided rope –somedays there are rope burns and somedays this very rope saves me.

I have had time to process how I feel about this over the weekend, as I have not had a response.  The truth is I have to be prepared to put my book out there with or without an agent. I am apprehensive about publishing this book because it is a creative nonfiction account of my personal feelings about motherhood.  There are no quirky characters to hide behind –just this quirky character and my beautiful son (whom I do worry about reading this book later). I did not have an easy go with motherhood.  I have my own issues (which will be discussed in another memoir which I am working on) but I also had to contend with infertility, postpartum depression, intrusive thoughts, nipple scabs, bleeding nipples, anxiety and among other things — the inability to stop farting.  What the heck is up with that? (It should be noted this is under control now)

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anyway, I detailed my journey as I was taking an independent study course I designed in graduate school, in which my primary focus was to intellectually study my emotions and feelings and write about it.  As most of you know, I don’t like to sugar coat things. So this memoir is one big diaper bag full of angst, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, wonder, depression, internal judgement, self-doubt, confidence, miracles,  happiness, joy, amazement, and a whole bunch of diapers, stuffed animals, other mothers, and just about anything that happened to pop up in my feeling mom jack-in-the-box that day.  One thing I discovered as I was writing this memoir was that I was practicing attachment parenting and I didn’t even realize it.  The theme of this memoir is how attachment parenting helped me find my way and the security that I was doing it right.

Here is a piece I recently wrote for APtly Said — Attachment Parenting International’s blog, which I am a regular contributor to.  This piece also talks about my independent study course, Motherhood: The New Frontier.

So, without further ado — can you help me pick a photo to slap on the back of my book?  I’d like to at least look my best as I prepare to get slaughtered by the judgmental moms out there.  It’s brutal in Momville somedays.  I do find that most moms when you have them cornered and there is good coffee on hand, will freely admit to how difficult it is to be a mom.  The juxtaposition of feelings.  The loss of identity.  The loneliness. The boredom. The joy. The stress. The calm. The pain. The smiles. The backbreaking daily labor.  The lulls in-between. The long braided rope, complex and multi-layered.

So I will label the photos I had taken by a professional photographer and if you are willing, write a quick comment on your favorite.  I hate decisions. I will admit the best decision I ever made was to be a mother.

Photo #1

I really like #1.

“Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.” -Erich Fromm

Photo #2

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.” -James Joyce

I like this photo because my antique typewriters are showing.  I love those babies of mine.  If they weren’t so heavy, I would put them in a sling and baby-wear them around town.  Just kidding, but kind of serious.

Photo #3

“With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood.” -Isadora Duncan

Photo #4

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  -Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

Photo #5

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Naps: The New Nightclub

Exhaustion fluttered into the window, as small pockets of afternoon light leaked into our 1880 Victorian home.  We snuggled as a family on the couch in the living room, each of us fitting into each other like puzzle nuzzle pieces.  The silence of Saturday serenaded us with peace and calm. Our heads drifted back in relaxing curls against the couch.  Together we napped.  This was well needed rest.

I asked my mother just yesterday, shouting for her to hear me over the phone, “Were you and Dad always exhausted when we were young children?”

“Yes, of course,” she said as if it were well-known knowledge.

Parenthood leaves me exhausted each night, desperately trying to gain the strength to write each night. Instead, I veg out to a TV show I can watch online. Family obligations, cleaning, re-cleaning  dressing toddlers, changing diapers, making meals, doing dishes, cleaning floors, vacuuming, checking in and tagging in and out with my husband leave us both depleted.  At the end of each task, I feel there will be some sort of feeling of it all being done, but it starts all over again, as if a train on a schedule.  “All aboard,” the train of responsibility chugs along the track of parenthood.

I guess it is just the story-line for this chapter in our lives.

Ben snuggled deep into the white comforter cocooning into our bodies like jello, soft and malleable.  Finally comfortable and not irritable, he drifted off to sleep. My husband and I both off to sleep just minutes after him.  This cocoon was just what we needed.

Naps — they are the new nightclub — just as exciting and just as cool.

“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.” -Ovid

Confession: I Hate Dressing Up For Halloween

Fall Foliage

So I have confession to make — I just am not into Halloween (well, the dressing up part).  I never have been.  Sure, I remember my favorite costume–my mom made it for me.  It was a mouse costume, with huge stuffed mouse hips and butt, complete with a tail with a mousetrap on it.  It was precious.

Other than that — that’s all I got for Halloween memories of dressing up.  What I did enjoy was going to haunted houses as a kid.

I do remember going to the rich neighborhood as a kid because they had houses that gave out regular size candy bars!

It is fun getting allllllllllllllllllllll that candy.  It is a holiday for kids.  OK — now that I am writing about it, I am sort of getting into it.  Reminiscent of popcorn balls (if someone gave my kid one of those–it would go right in the trash).  I remember having to go through my candy as a kid in the 80’s and look for candy with razor blades in them because of it happening and being warned either at school to check my candy or from the news.  I am now the adult who wants to give kids pencils and apples.  Practical and healthy.  But I probably will opt for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M & Ms (my favorite candy).  I’d give Snow Caps if they came in mini boxes.  Those are my favorite movie candy.

I have already devoured the Kit-Kats I bought (and the Starbursts).  I have vowed to lose 20 pounds.  But most likely I will gain 20 pounds with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas around the bend.

“Trick or Treat”

Here is a kale bouquet!

ha ha

Anyway, Happy Halloween. We still have to get our pumpkins to carve and costumes.  I don’t dress up to give out candy, nor do I decorate my house.  I usually go to another neighborhood — in search of the big candy bars! ha ha

Be safe. No popcorn balls unfortunately   Gone are the days of knowing and trusting your neighbors.  We live in a different time now.  I do remember how much fun it was to go off alone with my friends trick-or-treating as a kid.  I think I will escort Ben until he goes to college.  Just kidding.

Ben did not like this costume. This is a photo from his 1st Halloween. We opted for a striped onesie with a lion hat instead.

Maybe sophomore year in high school I will just follow him around in a car.

Here are some spots you can read some of my work out this week:

  • Attachment Parenting International’s blog — a piece on postpartum depression and struggles with breastfeeding — well, actually struggles with the whole new mom gig: Motherhood: The New Frontier. ‎”It wasn’t until I allowed myself to follow my instincts and relax that I realized there is no manual to being a mother. I just followed my heart.” – memomuse
  • Talenthouse’s blog — an interview with me about photography, Wyoming as my inspiration, cowboys, and rodeo: Featured Photographer: Megan Oteri.  “Beneath every artist, is a scar that never quite healed.” – memomuse