Monday Museletter May 14 – Drowning


I feel like I am drowning in the realities of being a stay-at-home mom to a two year-old.  I can’t get anything done, except clean the house when I am motivated enough.  I wish I could stop the chatter in my head and the CONSTANT need to achieve, but I can’t.  Writing keeps me alive inside. Otherwise, I just am a mom. It is not enough.  I am mom enough though.  I want an agent to sweep in and hold my hand through the writing process. As if an fairy godmother agent will fly through my window and offer child-care (of course on the dime of the agency), pay me a big ripe advance, and then here is the kicker — the agent will ask me what other projects are you working on?

Seriously.

I know.  Too bad I can’t afford therapy, otherwise, I’d be there right now.  So, here I am at my free therapy — writing on my blog.

I worry that an agent will read this post and say, “Too high maintenance.”  I am so sick of trying to impress someone I have never met. In fact, I am sick of trying to impress people I don’t even know.  Geez.  How about trying to impress the people I do know, like my own son.  Today, I am leaving an impression of exhaustion on him.  I managed to deep clean the living room and it is the only clean room in the house.

Elmo is singing about imagination.  My imagination is on vacation.  She bought a one-way ticket outta my mind after I got an email from an agent that is not interested in reading my collection of essays about the first year and half of motherhood, which is a collection of journal entries and essays, coupled with anecdotal Attachment Parenting information.  I am an Attached Parent, aren’t we all attached.

The recent cover of Time magazine has everyone is a sh$tstorm.  Enough of the clotheslining and headbutts.  I saw this posted and thought it was well put:

“API Advisory Board Member Isabelle Fox puts it so well.
The question should not be, “Are You Mom Enough?” The questions should be:-Are you responsively parenting your child in a timely way?
-Are you attuned to his or her individual needs?
-Are you providing a safe, protected and predictable environment?
-Do you understand and respond to the developmental differences between infants, toddlers and older verbal children?
-Are you available and empathetic when your child needs you or is under stress?If the answer is “yes” to these questions, you are practicing attachment parenting. You can reasonably expect that your child will become emotionally secure, will be able to give and receive affection, and will lead a productive and successful life.

~Isabelle Fox, Ph.D., author of “Growing Up: Attachment Parenting from Kindergarten to College”

I don’t even care about the cover or what people are saying.  It just doesn’t interest me anymore.  Well, maybe it does, as I am trying to jump on the opportunity of the media storm to let agents know, “Hay, I have a thesis all about Attachment Parenting, from the trenches of motherhood.”  I didn’t even know I was practicing Attachment Parenting until I posted an essay I wrote in a mom forum, trying to get enough clicks on this essay, Love is Not Always Flood Lights and Fireworks, But Sometimes It Is, at Mamalode to get $30.  The Executive Director of Attachment Parenting told me to submit the essay to the Attachment Parenting International website.  I’ve been a regular contributor for API Speaks ever since.

I was asked to write a post on motherhood for the API Speak blog, well before the Time cover came out.   Mother: I Was Desperate for the Title was posted on Mother’s Day.

I thought, yippee — instant fame.  Well, it got some attention, but the phone isn’t ringing off the hook.  Remember in the movie, Julie and Julia when the agents and publishers call her after she is put in an article in The New York Times?  I want that to happen to me.  But I want them to call and tell me, “We will help you with the editing and organizing of your book.”

I know — head in the clouds.

Photo by Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved

Anyway, I’m exhausted from motherhood, and life, that I just am not finding the balance I need to write a novel.  I hate this.  I am burning inside to write.  But the chatter in my head gets in my way.  And the fact I can never find any of my notebooks because my toddler grabs them and hides them.  I didn’t understand when my mom told me I used to hide her valuable jewelry because I would wrap it up and lose it in the process of wanting to give her presents.  I was like, How could you lose track of valuable jewelry?  I think the term two year-old toddler has to be learned by experience.

Blah blah blah.  I don’t even know if I want to post this as I feel like I sound like a whiner.  Then again, here I am trying to impress people I don’t know.

I met several deadlines in the past couple weekends.  Two of them were the API Speaks blog post about Motherhood and a food review I did for Dassant at Grocery.com: Dassant Vanilla Bean Cake.

I know part of the writing process is dealing with the rejections from agents and publishers, but it stinks.  I did see this quote today that shed some light and I have to reread it every ten minutes. ha ha

“One must avoid ambition in order to write. Otherwise something else is the goal: some kind of power beyond the power of language. And the power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.” – Cynthia Ozick
She also said, “The engineering is secondary to the vision.”  That particular quote makes me think of my book project, The Original Journal, where I ask random people and strangers to sign my journal.  I want to create a website that mimics actually signing a real journal with pens, markers, crayons, and paint.  I just don’t have the Graphic Design or web skills to create it.  SO if you are a graphic designer, and you want to design the website pro bono, give me a shout. I am putting it out there in hopes the magic will come.  “If you dream it, you can achieve it.” Didn’t Walt Disney say that?

The Original Journals — filled with signatures of “Original Journal” signers
© Megan Oteri – All Rights Reserved

The thing about The Original Journal is that if it gets published or a left brain fairy comes to my rescue (to create the graphic design elements needed with the hand written signatures and to create the website where you can turn the pages and write in the journal) I am going to set up a foundation to benefit artists, creatives, and eco-activists that will help people get their “wish” granted to make their dreams come true.  So many artists struggle with the publishing process because of the left brain skills that are needed (marketing, computer skills, and all that razmataz).

I’d love to have the resources to be a fairy godmother to artists and creatives. The world needs creativity and it is not being fostered in school as it should be.  It is the foundation for brilliance.

Anyway, that my Monday Muse.  I hope you are having a good day.  I actually am feeling like I am doggie paddling now because I fired out another query letter to an agent, pitching my Attachment Parenting memoir of motherhood (the first year and half).  It is actually my thesis I wrote in grad school.  Of course (this is for agents trolling my blog) it would include more than just the first year and half.

This is me and my favorite horse.

Since I’m Feeling Pissy, I’ll Post Some Pretty Pictures


I’m feeling pissy.  So I’ll post some pretty pictures.

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Photo not labeled in slideshow are from Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The ones with the farm animals and wide open spaces and big sky.  Yep, that’s Wyoming. 

I found out yesterday I have to go back to the drawing board for my thesis.  I don’t totally have to redo it, but I have to reorganize, restructure and also think about it differently.  I guess. 

My thesis advisor told me my Writer’s Notes are where my voice is — where the story is, instead of my essays that focus on capturing the beauty and love of motherhood.  My advisor sees this thesis (the essays and writer’s notes) eventually as a book.  Plus 9 months of pregnancy before that and years of infertility. 

Right now, I just have to get 50 pages ready for my thesis and that means thesis quality.  I had 65 pages of essays for first draft of thesis and 75 pages of Writer’s Notes. 

But how do I pick just fifty pages when I have gone through so much in the last 18 months.  My thesis is on motherhood.   It feels like trying to stuff the ocean in a sandbag.

Pretty picture: (Can’t resist an opportunity for a picture of the ocean!)

Ocean photo by Megan Oteri Copyright 2011

* Writer’s Notes = basically a diary/journal on being a stay at home mom and pretty much raw, honest, unfiltered rants (because who seriously writes in a diary when they are feeling super happy and content, at least I don’t.  I enjoy the feeling of happy and do what happy people do – I do things.)

My thesis advisor told me my Writer’s Notes are where my voice is — where the story is, instead of my essays that focus on capturing the beauty and love of motherhood. 

The thing is, I’m honest, but I’m not sure if I really want to be that honest… ya know…at least on paper that gets bound in a book with my name on it.

Here is a pretty picture:

Kangamangus Highway in New Hampshire photo by Megan Oteri - copyright

Seriously, advisor is telling me that my rants and first draft diary entries are my thesis heart.  I don’t know what to do with this.  It’s like being told you have to make scrambled eggs after working on eggs Benedict. Anyway, I am pissy today. 
 
A pretty picture:

Magnolia II Photo by Megan Oteri 2011

My husband called me out on it this morning when Momzilla got up and while I was opening a package of bacon (some days you need bacon) and frying it up in a pan.  He said, “You’re just pissy because (advisor) said you have to rework your thesis.”  What preceded that was, “Just tell me you like going to work.  That it’s hard watching a toddler.”
 “Yeah, I just told you that.  I told you he was a monster last night while you were at grad school.”
“Yeah, but tell me, it’s hard.  Tell me you like going to work.  Tell me your job is less stressful.”
He said, “My job is a different kind of stressful.” 
 
More pretty pictures:

Budding ~ photo by Megan Oteri - Copyright 2010

 The stress of being a mother to a toddler gets to me.  I feel like a freak, even admitting it, even though I know every mother at some point, huddles on the kitchen floor in the fetal position, lost in the insanity of toddler screams.  By the way, as I write this my toddler is trying to mop the kitchen floor.  He is actually pouring an empty vinegar bottle in the blue plastic bucket.  He has the mop and is trying to mop the floor.  Go for it, I say.  Another reason I am pissy is the house is an absolute mess. And I don’t want to clean it.  At all. 

More pretty pictures:

Blue Wheelbarrow Photo by Megan Oteri Copyright 2010     So much depends on a blue wheelbarrow…

 So I will ignore the wet floor in the bathroom where my toddler poured cups of water from his Tasmanian Devil cup onto the floor.  I will ignore the laundry, so badly in need of doing, that there are no clean towels to clean up the wet floor in the bathroom, and I am wearing an outfit I would wear to work as a teacher (although I made the decision to quit my job last year around this time to stay home with my son).   I usually wear yoga pants and the same red sweater.  I have a mom uniform I usually wear too – jeans and the same black long sleeve shirt.

What I can’t ignore is my toddler’s need for food. So we’ll be back.  Maybe I won’t be so damn pissy.

Later in the day and not so pissy…

FYI:  Momzilla didn’t deserve this, but my husband, came home for lunch and I was napping with toddler (feeling sorry for myself and my damn thesis) and husband cleaned the kitchen while I napped extra.  I just laid in bed and felt sorry for myself.  But sometimes you just have to wallow.

 I’ll go back to the thesis and figure out how to scramble those eggs.  On a good note: my thesis advisor is preparing me for the caliber of writing that is needed to get published in the real world.  On a pissy note – my thesis is due before Christmas break.  So there really aren’t enough photos to post to punch through that pissiness.  But here is one final pretty picture, because tomorrow is another day.  And I do have an amazing husband and son.  And a great group of friends and family to help me crack some eggs!

The reality of writing is that IT IS HARD WORK.  And I do it because I love it.  Because I need to.  Because I want to… 

I Want To Run Photo by Megan Oteri 2011

The Original Journal Video


Untitled Project.

I created a video with images from The Original Journal.  Click on the link above that says, “Untitled Project” or the hyper link “video.”

How tall are your dreams? Dare to dream, dare to wish, dare to hope, dare to be…

Be…

bold

brave

beautiful

be you…

Photo Credit: http://www.unblogindue.it/?p=441 (beautiful B & W photos on this website)

I am meeting with two literary agents this weekend at the South Carolina Writers Conference.  Both of the agents, Bernadette Baker-Baughman and Sorche Fairbanks) I am meeting with are looking for gift books.  So I am really excited.  I feel that the time is right for The Original Journal.

I really believe everyone has a story to tell – a journey to journal…

If you like the video, please take an extra minute to like it on facebook (see the side panel on my website). 

Journal Your Journey ~ memomuse

PS – Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

hope wish dream be copyright Megan Oteri 2011

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