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My guest this week is Lena George, an author from Baltimore USA and mom of one son.
Lena has been creative her whole life, growing up in Pennsylvania she played guitar, violin and flute, as a youngster she would dictate books and stories for her mom to write and Lena would illustrate them. When she was 14 she started a Zine and published that for a while, and when In college studying visual arts Lena wrote a live journal blog. She moved to Baltimore in 2008.
Lena was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager, She began a blog in 2014 and from this released her fiction work in 2019 under her own name Jaclyn Paul around this topic called Order from Chaos - The Everyday Grind of Staying Organised with Adult ADHD.Her writing about ADHD has appeared in ADDResources, ADHD Roller Coaster with Gina Pera and Houston Family Magazine.
Lena's debut non fiction novel She's Not Home will be released in April this year, It explores the relationship between a mother and her daughter. shared grief and coming of age. She started writing the book in 2009, before she had a child, and put it away for a long time. When Lena came back to it, she wrote in significantly more of the mother's perspective, after becoming a mother herself. The book is available for pre order now here
Lena's website / instagram
This episode contains discussions around ADHD and road accident fatalities.
If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here
Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum podcast, where I, Alison Newman, a singer songwriter, and Ozzy love to enjoys honest and inspiring conversations with artists and creatives about the joys and issues they've encountered. Trying to be a mum and continue to create. You hear themes like the mental juggle, changes in identity, how they works, being influenced by mother, mom guilt, cultural norms, and we also stray into territory such as the patriarchy, feminism, and capitalism. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the shownotes along with a link to the basic place, how to get in touch, and a link to join our supportive and lively community on Instagram. I'll always put a trigger warning if we discuss sensitive topics on the podcast. But if at any time you're concerned about your mental health, I urge you to talk to those around you reach out to health professionals, or seek out resources online. I've compiled a list of international resources which can be accessed on the podcast landing page, Allison dotnet slash podcast, the blog, the traditional islands of the land and water, which his podcast is recorded on has been abandoned in the barren region of South Australia. I'm working on land that was never seen it. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. My guest this week is George Lincoln is an author from Baltimore. And a mom of one son. Lena has been creative her whole life. Growing up in Pennsylvania. She played guitar, violin and flute. As a youngster she would dictate books and stories for him to write, and Lena would illustrate them. When she was 14 she started a zine and published that for a while. When in college while studying visual arts. Lena wrote a Live Journal blog. She moved to Baltimore in 2008 Lena was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager, she began a blog in 2014 and from base released her fiction in 2019. Under her own name, Jacqueline Lena George is in pain for nonfiction book is called the everyday grind of staying organized with adult ADHD, providing a sense of add resources, ADHD roller coaster, genius hero and Houston family medicine. Lane his debut nonfiction, she's not fine will be released in April this year. It explores the relationship between a mother and her daughter shared grief and coming of age. Lena started writing the book in 2009, before she had her son, and she put it away for a long time. When Lena came back to it, she wrote in significantly more of the mother's perspective after becoming a mother herself. The book is available for pre order now. Links are in the show. This episode contains discussion around ADHD, and Brode accident fatalities. I hope you enjoy today's chat. Thanks again for tuning in. Hi, Lena, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It's such a pleasure to welcome you.
Yeah, thank you for inviting me. I know. This is I'm excited.
Well, it's my pleasure. So we're about to you based in America.
So I'm in Baltimore. That's I mean, I've learned after moving here, that's the Mid Atlantic region. So just I'm originally from Pennsylvania, and associated more with the Northeast that way, but yeah, kind of in the middle of the right smack in the middle of the East Coast.
Yeah, right. What state is that in? Maryland? Ah, you're the third person I've had on from Maryland. There's something Maryland. Sorry, I gotta say it right. Something going on with it part of the world at the wire. It's pretty cool.
That's very funny, because it's not a big state.
Yeah, there you go. Because yeah, I'm getting better with my geography. I know which side of the like the east or west of the big cities are on, but I'm getting better with my little other places.
Oh, even people who live here are not so good at outside of their region. i It's very funny because when I meet people who are from the Western United States, I, I just I obviously know where the states are, but the size of them is they scale up as you as you go out there. And just sort of what's close to what and and I've been laughed at many times
Such a big country. I mean, it's Yeah. It couldn't be blind for not knowing every inch of it.
Yeah, it's impractical on many levels. Yeah.
So what what brought you to that part of the world? You said you're from Pennsylvania originally?
I am. So we came down here. So Pennsylvania and Maryland Shara border. And I live about two and a half, three hours away from most of my extended family. So we're not super far away. My husband got a job down here in 2007. And I was a little bit adrift. So I just came along. And now here we are quite some time later.
Yeah. Oh, very good. So you're a writer. And I'm gonna ask you this name, you have a pen name of Lena George, how can we do that?
So I just started that pen name for my fiction work. Because I am already a published nonfiction author. And I am somewhat widely known for my niche nonfiction work. And even though I always tell people do, do not order your books on Amazon, go to your local bookstore. The reality of it is, as a writer, you do have to think about the Amazon algorithm. And I created a pen name for my fiction. So I could keep things kind of cleanly delineated that I have to, you know, I'll have two catalogs of work nonfiction under my given name and fiction under my pen name, and there will be audience crossover. But I didn't want to him myself into kind of needing to have the same audience for both. And that's why I went back and forth on it a lot whether I should do the pen name. And eventually I just decided to do that and keep things simple. But yeah, so it's a little weird. I, it's my first book under that name is coming out in the spring. And I'm just starting to try to figure out oh, okay, so when I'm interacting with people in person, like how do I introduce myself, it's very especially locally here in Baltimore, because it is a small town. And I know a lot of people at this point, and they recognize me by my given name, so it gets a little bit more muddled around here then out in the wide world where no one Yeah.
Oh, do you? Oh, yeah. It's it's makes sense, doesn't it to do it like that? And just iron out the little details of how you deal with certain people face to face. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
How long have you been writing your whole life? Are you doing that as a kid, you're really creative.
I think writing is the thing I've done the longest I have had many creative pursuits in my life. But even before I was a great like physically at writing, I, before I went to elementary school, even I remember sitting and I would dictate book your quote unquote, books, and stories to my mom, and she would write them into these construction paper books, and then I would illustrate them. Yeah, so I went to kindergarten having, you know, written some weird one page story about a toy ghost I had, and it escalated from from there. And I went through phases, I really thought my pursuit in life would be music, and then it wasn't and then I went to school for visual art. And that wasn't it either. And then I came back to writing so
so you got back into writing. Can you tell us a little bit about the books that you've written? So I
have one published book that has been out for a few years and it's called order from chaos. The everyday grind of staying organized with adult ADHD. So I started writing a blog years ago 20 In 2014 And I sort of spun what I had the work I had done there into the book. And now most I feel like a lot of people encounter me now via the book, the book is more popular than the blog ever was. And so Oh, I didn't know you also had a blog. Yeah, that's kind of where it started. But I yeah, that's been ironically, my my most full focus nonfiction work I've done when I was in ninth grade. So yeah, when I was 14, I started a zine. Which is maybe dating, dating myself a little bit. But I published that for a while and then went to college. And then we had Live Journal and I, you know, wrote a Live Journal blog. So I did a lot of like, personal experience writing. For myself, and then pretending it was for other people, too. But then I tried a few like more adult blogs, when I was out of college, and this is the one that stuck and really like it. My work started resonating with people. And that made it easier to stick to because I felt some, you know, accountability there to a community that I had built. And so that's, that's where my nonfiction writing mostly has been. For the past, I guess it's almost nine years now.
Yeah. Right. So, obviously, based on your own experiences of having ADHD, so when were you diagnosed with ADHD?
Um, well, so I, I guess I figured it out on my own when I was in high school. I, when I was 17, I asked a therapist to, like, do she did some sort of evaluation on the computer. And then she was like, Alright, so what do you want to do with this. And here, if you are a minor, to get a diagnosis and evaluation, it, you have to involve your teachers and your parents. And they have to fill out these questionnaires. And I had kind of hidden all of that away. And so at some point, if you are good enough at hiding your struggles, or if you are in an environment where there's a certain ethos around, like, what kind of struggles are okay? Or, or expected, or like everyone deals with that, or you just have to do this try harder. I just didn't want to involve anybody, because I was terrified of them. Just saying, There's nothing actually wrong with you. You just can't deal with your life like, but that's you. That's not something that we need to fill out a questionnaire about. And it wasn't until I was in my mid 20s, that I kind of hit a rock bottom point and pursued it again. So it was I was like, what the classic late diagnosis? You know. Looking back at my elementary school paperwork, like Yeah, okay, like one of the professionals in the room should have probably noticed this, but I was the gifted student. And I think it just slips by, if you're the gifted student, you then if you have behavioral or social problems, or if schoolwork is extra super hard, it can really mask the true struggle. And it's like, well, you need to learn how to control your behavior or, you know, apply yourself and your schoolwork. And, yeah, yeah, so it's it. That was kind of a long journey. That I guess it started in high school that I like, asked for something. But then it wasn't until I was like, well into homeownership and adulthood that came to a head.
Yeah, right. It's almost like like I've had, I work in the early childhood education sector. So I've come across a lot of children with ADHD, and my own son has had some issues as well. So I can relate to what you're saying, from an educators point of view. So almost like they said, that, that you weren't a problem for them. Right. Your behavior was, you know, everything was they didn't have to do anything. You know, if it had been a child that was having issues with behavior or couldn't get their work done, then they would have had to do something, you know what I mean? Like it's, that's a horrible thing to say. They didn't think like that. But yeah,
yeah, but it's like if you don't have to try I in school, then it masks a lot because I wasn't failing school because I could coast. And I certainly didn't challenge myself as much as I could have. But because I was very selective about where I was comfortable being challenged, my academics were always okay. And then the behavior stuff was just like, well, we need to address this as a behavior issue. But even I mean, that's 30 years ago, and even now I know, educators who say, Oh, yeah, we can't really do anything, intervention wise, if the academics aren't being affected, which I think is terrible, because I'm like, Oh, I wish that things would have gotten better. Because, I mean, because my son is the same way that his not he's not failing, grades wise, but in terms of his own, like, like mental health and happiness. If I hadn't known what to look for, then his teachers might have been in a position where, like, the academics aren't being affected. So we really can't push this with the parents. And, you know, it's, yeah, it makes me sad, because I'm like, a bunch of kids are still being like, left behind and thinking that they are just a problem. Yeah, and yeah, that's
really horrible to hear, isn't it? Hmm. Because there's so many other things in life that are important, other than just having good schoolwork results, you know, like you said, the social Yeah.
Yeah. There's more beyond school and work that makes us happy. And, yeah, with ADHD, it's that a lot of the focus is on. Well, how are you doing at work? How you doing at school by the numbers? And, you know, if that doesn't look terrible, then what are you complaining about? And well, okay, but yeah, it does make me sad that like things haven't come a little further than that, since I was, you know, my son's age for sure.
So, tell me about this new book you've got coming out in your fiction section. Yeah. Lena, George, how'd you come up with that name, by the way? If you don't, sorry.
Sorry, I'm, I have known people who have renamed themselves and adulthood. And I just didn't appreciate how hard it is to come up with a new name for oneself. So my maternal, paternal great grandfather, I guess. He wrote a novel that was never published. He died in 1941. So I absolutely never crossed paths with him. And also, it was not spoken about that he wrote fiction. I think my great grandmother, were very German in that way that she just did not speak about him. Really, I think it is, it was a painful topic. And she had really had to, like, get up by her bootstraps and be a single parent at a time when that was not the norm. And yeah, she did not like sit around and share reminiscing about him. But after my grandmother died in 2020, I was given this box that had this the hovel manuscript in it, and I was like, Oh, that's funny. He played the violin. And now I learned that he's a novelist. This is the person I apparently have the most in common with and I never knew but his first name was George so that's where the the last name is a is a nod to him and then I eventually I was trying to do to family names and it just wasn't working. So I just found I just like okay, well what's like a what's a German first name with a nice ring to it? And I came up with Lena and so that's yeah, Lina George, but it's a kind of an A in honor of For the family that I writers on both sides who like did not share their work.
That's interesting, isn't it? Do you think it's like, sort of, of the time that they were just too busy working and having, you know, their life that you couldn't indulge in these other sort of things? I don't know.
I don't maybe because my great grandfather, George, he worked in finance. And I, I get the idea that that kept him rather busy. So he didn't probably feel like he had a lot of time to sit around and dilly dally with this. But he also he did share his work with other people for feedback. There's like someone he wrote to who gave him you know, some very critical feedback in a letter, which is really funny to read. But then my grandmother on my mom's side, apparently wrote stories as well. And she would submit them. But then when she got rejection letters, she would just get rid of the stories. And
like, oh, no, but do you know how many rejections some very, very famous authors got before? They made it? Don't throw it away? Yeah. But yeah, apparently she didn't keep her stories. And it was at the time typewriter. So you threw it out? It was just gone. Yeah. Which, you know, my mom is like, I can't believe she did that. Because she would love to be able to read them. But um, yeah.
Hey, guy. I'm glad I asked you that question.
The weird, the weird family history. Our. Yeah, but my grandmother. I mean, she wrote stories, but she also was, you know, she had four children. So that's another another person who probably did not have oodles of free time to write stories. And maybe that's what I don't know. I guess we'll never know why she got rid of them. But as you know, is it was it a perfectionistic thing? Or just a? Well, you know, I guess it's a waste of time, then.
Yeah, there you go. So your walk is called? She's not home? Can you? I mean, obviously, don't give us any spoilers, because we want everyone to read it. How does what's the GST?
So the gist is the so it's told from two perspectives. A mother and a daughter, and the daughter is 17. And it's, the book starts just before her senior homecoming dance in the fall at her high school. And 10 years prior to this, her older sister, her only sibling had died in a car accident on the night of Homecoming. So in the intervening years, her mother sort of transformed from, you know, the kind of the fun parent into this, she just did not address her grief around this and instead just became very controlling of the surviving child because she was terrified of experiencing a loss like this again. And so the fun carefree lifestyle didn't do it. Okay, you know, I need to become a different parent to this child, so that I like, there will never be an opportunity for her to be in a situation where something like this would occur. And part of that is her envisioning of how this accident happened. And the daughter is obviously feeling a bit suffocated by this at this point, and everything kind of comes to a head for them around this homecoming night. And the daughter discovers how things actually transpired for her sister. And she ends up running away from home. And the to the story is her running away and having to deal with this. Even though it's you can understand in the moment, the impulse to run away, it's still like the people left behind. She being a kid and rather impulsive, did not fully comprehend how many people would be deeply affected by this and that it actually is kind of a terrible thing to do, even if it's understandable. So it's, we see her kind of coping with the fallout from her choices. and having to decide like, well, then I thought that a fresh start would be so clean. It's not, but how do I rebuild my life and become a whole person again? And does that in any way include like reestablishing contact with my family? Like, can I do that? Do I have the courage to do that. And then meanwhile, the mom is is left to to reckon with, like, not only losing another child, but losing another child in a way that feels like very much on her. Yeah. Like, after all these years of trying so hard to insulate herself from this trauma recurring is like that. Those efforts have then, like, in a way brought it about the thing that she most feared. And you know, how, how can she actually like heal from that and figure out like, who she is in the world?
It's almost like, the mother sort of had a self fulfilling prophecy that she sort of created this. Yeah. Yeah. Right. So is that just complete fiction? Or have you sort of, is your own your own influences? In there since you became a mother?
It definitely I don't I don't know if I could have written. I don't know if i. So this story has been around quite a while I wrote the first draft of it in 2009. Before I had a child. Yeah. And I, you know, I shelved it for a long time. And when I came back to it, I actually wrote in significantly more of the mother's perspective. And the issue had always been that she was a little bit two dimensional. And we didn't get to, like meet her early enough in the story, like from her in, in her own words. And once I wrote that, I mean, the book is a lot better now than I think I could have written it when I was younger. But the inspiration for it actually came from a what if line of thought involving my sister, because I have a sister who's significantly younger, and we grew up in a rural area with like, lots of hills and winding roads. And at least when I was a teenager, everybody drove all the time. And looking back on it as an adult, I'm like that was outlandish ly dangerous. How did our parents bear to let us drive around in cars that did not have safety features, like we have now. It just, it's mind boggling. But I you know, I know, several, former, you know, high school classmates who did not see their 21st birthday, who did not see their 18th birthday, you know, because of car accidents. So it's a very present thing. And I just went back to visit my dad recently. And it was the first time that I really thought about, like, what does it mean to grow up, surrounded by like, roadside memorials to people who have died very young. But my inspiration for writing this book in the first place was actually thinking about my sister and how, you know, I had a friend who died when we were 17 in a car accident, and it seemed very chancy to me that I was a good driver for a teenager. I was careful for a teenager. But even so, I mean, it's still a lot of it as fate. And you know, what would have happened if something had happened to me and like, how would my sisters growing up experience have been changed by that? And how would like she as a person be different if my absence had loomed so large? In our family? And yeah, but the family does not resemble my family at all.
Yeah, I can relate to what you're saying about these roadside memorials. I live in this I was born in this area, I've always lived here and it's it's a rural slash sort of mean whether they say the way the biggest city and city are putting in quotes because we're not a city. We're a big town, outside of Adelaide, in my State of South Australia, and a lot of kids like there's not a lot to do so the kids go driving, right? And yeah, there's been a lot of accidents over the years use particularly boys, they seem to the boys getting the cars together and to know if they get each other on to take risks or whatever, but Oh,
yeah, well, I think if you get the more young boys you get in a group. It's the collective decision making ability goes down. It's Yes, the boys are are. I've warned my he's nine. And I've worn my son about this already. I said, Look, if you're in a group, and it's all young boys, just bad decisions can happen. Be careful. Yeah. Yeah, no, it's a lot of driving. And it's not all sober driving. Yeah, they, I mean, they say that kids aren't getting into as much old fashioned trouble anymore.
Because they went to computers to when they fly.
Yeah. Which is its own kind of risk factor. You know?
Yeah. If I remember growing up, dad would always he was my dad's from this area, too. He's from an even smaller town. And he would like say, don't ever get in the car with anyone don't get in the car with boys like because I think he knew, because they've done it himself. But yeah, there's a real Yeah, sure of it. But you're right. I think yeah, it's definitely it's shifting because yeah, of this online world. They're, they're sitting at home playing fortnight or something instead of being together, but I don't know. Different. Yeah. But ya know, I can definitely relate to that. Yeah. So you're talking about your son, if you've just got the one child? Yeah, it
was just just him. Yep. So he's nine. Now. The? Yeah.
So you started the first draft before he was born. And then you kept writing? In my face, you know, there's additions. So how we, when it came time to write, were you just like up all night? Or like, early in the morning? Like, how did you physically fit in your time to write.
So I'm not so good at that there are people who will get up at five o'clock in the morning, there's on Twitter, I think for a while there was a 5am writers club hashtag that a lot of and a lot of them are parents who get up in for the hour before their kids woke up, they would write. And there I have a author friend who is a real night owl, and always up until you know, midnight or whatever, writing. And I just am not good at that at all. I'm like an after lunch writer. So that definitely became very challenging when I especially when he was much smaller. And now. I mean, he's, sometimes he wants to hang out with me, but like, often not really. He has his own stuff he wants to do. But, you know, yeah, like naptime. I would get a little bit in. And then at the time, my husband had a job, where he was gone for like the whole day, he would leave after breakfast and come home after I went to bed. But then he would like build up extra Lake comp hours at work and have to take some time off eventually. So my dad's family has this little beach bungalow, and I would go and just hang out there for a few days and just, you know, write a lot and make a lot of progress. And then that makes it easier to do the like naptime segments. But yeah, I'm still that way. I'm still an after lunch writer. That's like when my brain does it best. But it did. Like when he was smaller, it made it a little bit challenging. And I don't know if there had been more than one of him. I might have had to I might have had to learn how to write earlier late. If I want to get it done. Yeah.
So were you after he was born? Like in those early stages, we were you able to write them? Like did you find that that was important for you to still have something for yourself? Or was it just like, not even on your radar?
I was I think even from the beginning I was thinking, okay, when am I going to phase it back in before he was born? So I quit my job like a couple months before he was born to finish the book that I was working on and you know, get do things for myself because I knew that that was going to be more difficult, but I also remember saying to someone, yeah, I'm thinking I'll take Get a couple of weeks totally off. And then, you know, I'll like get get back into it. And now I tell people, if they're expecting their first I'm like, Alright, so this is what I thought was gonna happen. And it is so absurd, I feel embarrassed even saying it now, don't expect that of yourself at all, like the first three months are like, just don't even, it's, it'll just be a black hole in your memory. And then the first year actually is like really hard. And then it starts to get a little easier. But it's so the first year was that was a tricky negotiation. Because and I was I was kind of, like full time, parent, but I was still trying to, like wedge the writing work in. And it sometimes was not successful. And it's just, as soon as I guess, when my son was two, he started going to preschool two days a week. And then three, he went three days a week, and now he's in school five days a week. And I can have a much more like, adult schedule. But ya know, but it was hard. Because I was home, I wasn't making money off of my writing, but I was still doing it. And so the the really like full time stay at home parents in my circle, would always have stuff going on, like, Oh, we're going to the storytime today. You know, there'd be something on the agenda every single day. And I just really could not manage that. Because I wouldn't have had any time to like, do work on my stuff. Yep. And so I kind of felt bad a little bit and, you know, caught between two worlds because I wasn't like, I didn't fit in with the working parents and I did not fit in necessarily the like, full time. stay at home parents. Yeah, and I still don't but that's all right.
All right, differently prepared.
Yeah, exactly. But the at the time when he was in the first and second years of his life, it was kind of a weird landscape. Because I yeah, I felt kind of alone in that. No Man's Land. of you know, I wasn't Yeah, I wasn't beholden to clients or an employer. But I was still trying to, like, keep momentum on my own projects, because I felt like I needed to do them. And so I just like, No, I can't, I can't go to a different storytime every day. I can't just drop everything and go to the aquarium. And know if my kid would have wanted that but.
You're listening to the art of being a mum was my mum, Alison Newman.
You mentioned there about the writing. And at that point, not making money from it? Was that something that sort of was a bit of an internal conflict for you at that stage?
Yeah, I, I, I definitely grew up with and still kind of have to do battle with in my head the idea that if, if you're going to demand time and space for something that you're doing like that, the money kind of legitimizes it. And, you know, my book has been pretty successful. And I've tried to be careful with the way I think about that, because it's like, well, no, but it's not. It's not worthwhile because it it made me a certain level of income. Yeah, yeah. It's, you know, it's worthwhile because it it had an impact on people's lives. And it's important and I thought it was necessary for me personally to do. But it's yeah, it has been challenging. And I think it's over the years to I think my husband and I have under like had much more of an understanding than we had at the beginning about why it is important for me to do my work. And, and I've also tried not to put pressure on myself. have to, like make money with it because that's when I start get tempted to, oh, maybe I should like get some extra like freelance work or this that and like pad my income a little bit. But that's taking time away from the sort of career projects that I shouldn't be working on. And there's no reason that I need to be making, like, X number of dollars every month, it just is not even before. Before kids, my husband was complaining about my job. And he said, you know, you don't have to work like, we could survive if you didn't work. So if you want to just like if the job is bothering you that much, like just just quit and like work on your writing, and do that, and see where that takes you. And I was like, No, I need to have a job. What are you talking about? Looking back, I'm like, why? Like I was being underpaid at that job. And I should have just quit and like, pursued my writing earlier. I didn't feel like I had to, I didn't feel like I had the freedom to do that until I became a parent. And that was kind of my reason, like, oh, well, I don't have to have a job. Because, you know, economically, it makes sense for me not to have a job. While you know, the baby is small, and then I can like also work on my writing that I wanted to do. And oh, but if I would have done it sooner, like that kind of thing. But ya know, it is it's tricky. And it's, yeah, we don't live a lavish lifestyle. So I have as I have a lot of leeway with my work, and I don't have a huge amount of pressure to hit, like an income target. And so, you know, whatever I can pay myself is good. But I think the pressure is like all from me. It's not from Yeah, so I feel
like that was my music because I don't earn very much at all for my music, and it cost me a lot to make something that I really, really love doing. I wouldn't be able to not do it. So it's like I don't know, my husband's a financial advisor. So it makes life a bit tricky. Sometimes he reminds me
What's ironically, I'm, I've been our homes like financial manager for as long as we've been a household because my husband has no, he has no interest in any of that. And so he just, you know, it's, it's funny, and but like, wow, you know, I'm earning my keep by just me like making sure the money goes where it's supposed to win. But it's, yeah, it is. It's not always practical. But I was just reading this book called fair play by Yves Brodsky. And I got to this chapter that was, I think the title, the chapter was reclaim your right to be interesting. And it was all about how, you know, when women become mothers, they often just allow that to like subsume their whole identity. And whoever is expecting us to do that, no one is happy with the results when we are not doing the things anymore that like make us interesting to ourselves, let alone anyone else and that she had asked all these men, you know, can you say, Can you name something? A way that you are proud of your wife. And a lot of them would say, wish she's a wonderful mother or he I don't know what we would do without her. She keeps everything together? And she said no, no, no. But something about her that you are proud of external to what she's doing for you. And then so many of them had nothing. They couldn't name anything that they were proud of their partner for. That didn't revolve around domestic responsibilities. And I say oh, that's That's so sad. And I realized you it hasn't always we haven't always been in complete agreement about how each of our time should be divvied up here, but I know you know, my husband says all the all the time is, uh, you know, Oh, I'm so proud of you. Like you're doing these like really impressive things. And, you know, I feel like what am it I'm just going and like by I'm writing, as I know, that's cool too. But you know that, that it's, I didn't mean to do do it for that reason. But I, as I read that chapter, I was like, oh, that's what we did, though, is that we made room for me to keep doing my creative work. But that's the thing that sort of makes me who I am and makes my my life interesting. And, you know, if I'm not, if I'm not doing it, I'm not really showing up as an ideal person to live with. I can relate to that. Yeah, that's what I'm, I don't think of it as like taking resources away from your family, because you need to invest some resources in your own, you know, intellectual sustenance, or else, it's just, you're not going to be showing up as the person that you want to be eventually.
I couldn't agree with that more. That's, that's, that has put it so well, I'm taking that quote. And you're gonna hear that quote, In your introduction? Because that is spot on. Yeah, absolutely.
Do you feel that way with your son? I mean, he's nine. So he, you know, he'd be aware of what mom does. Do you feel like that's important that he sees you as more than just want to say just mum, because we never just mom, but you know what I mean?
Yeah, no, that's very important to me. And even before he was born, I, I wrote down somewhere, I would say, I want him. I want him to see me, as you know, a parent who does who like achieves things. And who wants things for themselves and who does something. And I, yeah, and I, even when he was very small, and I was doing less of my own work, I started to realize how important to me it was for, for him to see that. And not just see me like keeping the house and my husband going out and doing things and having an interesting job that he went to. And then I don't know, I would, I was a child of two working parents. And I just remember seeing my mom worked so hard, and she still does, like where she's like, one of the hardest working people I know. And she, you know, she would dabble in things, you know, crafts and stuff that she did just for herself. But I remember as a kid, you know, wishing that she had like, there was more space for her to do things like that, or what? Even when I was a kid, obviously no kid ever asked to say, Mom, what did you actually want to do? Before you had a child, or, you know if you could have had any career because she I mean, she worked at this store. And you know, did I think that her dream in life was to like work at the store. Yeah, that's what she ended up doing. And like, we all have something we ended up doing. Like I didn't become like a famous musician as I planned, either. But yeah, it's interesting, even as a kid, and especially after my sister was born, and she was working like an overnight shift, and she would come home and like, take a little like, hour nap and then take my sister to preschool and like, go back to work. And even as a selfish teenager, I was like, how is she doing this? Like, how does she how is this like, survivable for her? And I mean, I think Mountain Dew was the answer. When I asked her she's like I drink a lot of Mountain Dew. but I just I wanted, because I had the privilege to do so. And I was aware even as a young person that my own mother did not have as much privilege as I have to pursue something that like, I alone could not live off of my, like, my contributions to our household are not like, paying the mortgage and buying the groceries. But I, yeah, I like I wanted my son to see that. I have, you know, an identity, and aspirations and things that I am doing. Because I think it's a lot also to put on a child. If they are, like, everything you have going on. It's just, it just feels like maybe that's a maybe that's a like a heavy thing. Like, if, if I am the thing that my parents is like living through, you know, what does that what expectations does that put on me and like, how I enjoy and experience my life? And yeah, you know, as opposed to if we are to humans who are very much enmeshed in each and each other's existence. But also, like, it's, yeah, when I, when I was younger, I had some relationships where I just did not realize that you should always have something else going for your own, like mental stability, like you shouldn't put all of your eggs in one relational basket, you know, because stuff falls apart. And you know, it's, if your kid is having a hard time. And that's hard time for you, like, having something to turn to. Hmm. That's it,
isn't it? Yeah. Yeah.
So that if, if I'm having a big parenting struggle, you know, hopefully, I'm not also having a big riding struggle. But even if I am, it's the way out of those struggles is very different. And the amount of control I have over the resolution of those struggles is very different. So it's definitely a little bit of a balancing thing.
Yeah, I think even Yeah, even before kids are involved, or even if they're not involved, I think it's so important for, for couples to have something that that isn't each other. Something they can go and do by themselves. Because we all need space, you know, we all have to Oh, yeah, have to have time align and do things we enjoy and reset, spend time with other people, and then we can come back fresh and, you know, give each other time to miss each other. You know, we're not in each other's pockets all day long.
Oh, we are, especially now that I mean, we've been both working from home since 2020. So if you don't have something else going on, I feel like that's a that's a problem. But yeah, my mom always told me that when I was I was as a child very a I get very attached to like one best friend. And then, you know, I when I was in high school, I had, you know, boyfriend and so then like, I focused all my energy on that. And my mom always told me, she's like, Yeah, this is you. You never know what's going to happen. And you should never like, just have one person. Because what if you get into a fight, then you're just alone, you know? And, but it's, it's very true that it's, yeah, like, even without kids. It's too it's too much on one person to make you know, this relationship, like the thing I have going on. Yeah, it's, yeah, the ability to like leave and come back. And, you know, my, I guess my parents set an example of that, for me, because they like their extracurricular activities outside the house. We're, I'm trying to think if any of them were like things they did together. I'm not sure they were. Yeah. That, you know, my mom had stuff that she did. She like, did bowling and you know, my dad would go on golf trips with his friends. But yeah, it's, you know, they didn't. They didn't feel like oh, boy, I have to include you. Yes. So,
yeah, that's awesome. That's it. It's very important. We call it mum guilt, mom guilt, mommy guilt, whatever you want to call it. How do you feel about that? Do you? Do you resonate with that at all? Or something you don't even? Not even on your radar?
Oh, it's definitely on the radar. Yeah, so when my son was very small, he did not really get upset when I would leave to go, you know, if I went to the beach for three, four days to write, he was fine. And I, I'm trying to think when it was it, it's like the, just the past maybe two years, I feel like he's become much more attached to me. And started to develop a very different relationship with his dad than he has with me, which makes sense because like, we're very different people that he gets very different things from. But he it also means that he like actively, like, vocally misses me when I go away. And he'll send me messages from his iPad. It's like, I miss you so much with like, the crying face emoji and like, and he'll, you know, he'll be really sad. And I've, like, I feel, you know, what, it's hard. Because then even before when he wouldn't get that sad, even though you know, right before, it was like, the day that I was leaving, I would always feel guilty. Like, is this? Like, should I really be doing this? You know, is it really worth all this to like, leave my kid behind. And now, you know, now that he's older as I go, I'll miss you so much. And it's very sweet. But it's also it plays into that guilt of, like, is this like, really? Okay, for and in logically, I'm like, of course it is. Because he needs to learn how to, this is like a human experiences, like people go away, and we miss them, and they come back, and we're happy to see them. And that's a very normal and healthy part of existence. And someone should have told me that and said, Please, like, don't miss out on the opportunity to study abroad in college, just because you don't want to, like, miss someone that you're dating. Like. That's, that's not acceptable. But, um, yeah, so of course, I know that it's like a developmental thing. That's good, you know, for him to learn that I will leave and then also come back. And that is, that is okay. And we can all survive. But yeah, it is, especially if he's like, going through a tough time. Where, you know, maybe he's been like arguing with his dad, or like, he got in trouble in school or something. And he's feeling extra, like needy of the, like, emotional, like, sit around and talk support that he comes to me for, you know, then I feel extra because I'm like, Oh, this is a terrible time to be leaving him. Like, why am I leaving him now? But, yeah, it's so it's hard. And then when, at the beginning of at the beginning of this year, I worked a lot to do developmental editing on this book that's coming out in the spring, and I didn't pay attention to my own social life or my family or anything. It was it was attractive as a dark time. But he like basically organized his own birthday party and like, set everything up outside and I felt a little bad because I was like, oh, no, you know, I didn't even like, I didn't even get it together to help my child. Like, just put tape on me. He's like, carrying the folding chairs outside. Yeah, so it definitely I adapt honestly feel it. And even though he like, thinks it's very cool that I'm an author, I think he thinks that authors are like, famous and make a lot of money. Yes, I want to be a writer when I grow up too. And I was like, Well, if you're doing it for the money, I'm, I'll tell you right now. That's, that's not the way but yeah, so like he thinks it's very, very cool. But I still do like, especially when I go away. Yeah, if I travel to like, I do a writing retreat with a friend every year, even if I just go for a couple days to the beach to to catch up. Yeah, it's like, it's like, right before I leave is when it's the worst. Yes. And I just have that like, avalanche of self doubt. That's like, but like, I should be here for him. And, you know, always sad and. But
and then do you tell yourself that's not true?
Yeah, I just tried to tell myself. No, that's, and of course, my husband says he'll be fine. It's fine. Like, he'll like when you leave, then he'll just like, you're gone. So it's not like you're leaving. It's you're already gone. And then he just will find others. He'll find stuff to do. And I'll be fine. Sorry. Okay. Usually,
yeah. Oh, yeah. What sort of music are you doing?
So my, when I was a kid, I was involved in a lot of community groups, my favorite was pit orchestra for musicals, operas, and stuff. That was a lot of fun. And I did some chamber music, which was also fun.
And I plan to go to school for it until I didn't. And then
was that violin or cello what we've learned.
So I started on the violin, and I picked up the flute in fourth grade. And that was where I had the most aptitude. It's hard to find a place for yourself as a flute player sometimes. So I played violin, in some groups that were looking to fill in a big violin section, and if I actually had to be really good, that's when I got the flute I, you know, for orchestra or band or something needed someone to fill in for a concert, I would just like kind of drop in for the dress rehearsal and play the concert the next day and have a good time. I could do that on the flute. I could not do that on any other instrument for sure. Yeah. But it was it was a ton of fun. I miss it a lot. Doing that stuff. But
yeah, do you play it oh, now just for fun.
I haven't in a while because it's a the flute is really a group instrument as far as I'm concerned. And when I moved down here, I did not have a group I didn't I wasn't plugged into all the music community people. I no longer had a community where people would just kind of call me and say that they needed someone. And I didn't know quite how to find that. I'm not the most outgoing person anyone has ever met. So I kind of fell out of it. And then I got a little rusty and I got sad about that. And so now I sort of dabble with the piano and the guitar because they're solitary, more so or they can be but I would love to get back into it. I'm actually looking to scale back some of my other volunteer responsibilities so that I can go back to that again, because it was something that was very nourishing to me at one point in my life and it feels wasteful. It feels wasteful to have a like an outsize ability with something thing and then just to not do anything with it. And I know that's not always the best way to think about stuff but it you know, it's in the back of my head sometimes. Yeah, that was the thing that was the thing you were really good at and be it just didn't do it anymore. Why not?
Well, like Yeah, yeah, but no.
Yeah, you never do you know, and I I did you know post something online in the spring just to see if anybody had suggestions and I got a whole list. And so I figure when I'm feeling bold and brave, and I've, you know, quit a couple of other things that I need to pass on
so you said your books coming out in spring? So what month what month? Is that?
So it's April 25. Is the launch date? Yep.
April 20. We have that's like our, you know, how you have like Veterans Day or something like that. What do you have? Not Memorial Day? What's your
memorial Days in May? Yeah. Veterans Day is in November. Yeah. Okay,
we have this that our Anzac days kind of version of that we remember the people that went to war in the First World War. So yeah, 25th. There you go. I won't forget that date. That's important that whereabouts will people be able to get your book from when it comes out?
Well, so it's actually, I'm just about to launch into the shameless self promotion phase of things. That's going to be really hitting in January. That's the most uncomfortable part, I think of being an introverted artist of any kind. But it is actually available for preorder now. Yeah, so it's on Amazon. And there's your if you go on indie bound, you can get it I always tell people to get it from the independent bookstore. I know some people buy it on Amazon anyway. But the the local bookstore is where it's at. But then it'll be Yeah, it'll it should be available in ebook to Apple books and can and Kindle. But yeah, I can, I can give a link that has all of that in there. That'd be great. Even though it's the the really like heavy duty promotion is still you know, few weeks, maybe a month away the the preorder links are up and an active and testing.
So I hesitate to ask then is there another book in your, in your future?
So that's, yeah, there is there's more than one actually. And that's been my big struggle. This year, is getting this one is done. And I now have two or three books that are waiting to be drafted and unfinished. And I don't have anything in between. And it's like having children with a huge age gap. Between them, it's, it's a little disorienting, and you know, it's because 2020 everything shut down. And we had a year and a half I think of virtual school. You know, for which I was the point person. Yeah, so I really like the deep dark days of the pandemic and virtual school time. I did not do intensive like writing projects at all. And because it just was not it wasn't possible. Yeah, I know it was for some people it was was not for me. And I did you know my little podcast for my Patreon people and I did blog posts. But you know, I books were not getting written during like virtual school and trying to figure out how to get like canola oil on toilet paper, it just the in terms of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we were really stuck at the base for a long time. But now this year, I have come out of that I've had a lot more time to work. And it's but it is very difficult to come to terms with the work that didn't happen during that time. Because that work that didn't happen means that I don't have books that are well into the editing phase now that I've I'm like, Ah, I have to you know, really kick it into high gear and draft up these books and get them you know, somewhere. But yeah, but it was a little demoralizing for a moment. And it still is sometimes. Just just how much time I lost. And I'm sure many, many parents in my similar situation. Have that.
Yeah, it's like, your, your thing had to just completely stop so that your children's things could happen.
Yeah. And just that we were all all of us here all the time.
Yeah, yeah. So the books, you've got your, in your head that are going to happen, are they fiction or nonfiction ones?
So I have my next novel, pretty well planned out. And it's just a matter of drafting it. I've never had quite so much a plan before. I mean, it's a very loose plan, because I don't, I'm not a heavy outliner or planner for fiction. And nonfiction, I have an essay collection that I've been working on. That's my, my next two nonfiction books are going to be much less prescriptive than, than the first and much more like personal experience writing like memoir style. Because that's a lot of people seem to have connected with my writing makes you feel seen. Yeah. And to have an experience similar to their own, like, articulated in a certain way. And so I'm excited to really, like lean into that.
Yeah. It sounds good, to be very valuable, you know, people feel like what they're going through is legitimate, I guess. And you talked about that community that you've sort of built around your first book. Yeah, yeah. So important. A
lot of people have written and said, you know, thank you for putting this out there. And I thought that I was the only one who had this experience. And, you know, it's reassuring to know that it's not just me. So
good on Yeah. Because it can be quite daunting to sort of share like that, to put it all out there. And did you have moments like that when you're writing the book, you're thinking or do I? How much of this do I want to share? I suppose, or are you just passionate about getting it all out
there. So as a nonfiction writer, I, I don't have a whole lot of a filter. I although I will say some of my most successful writing has been the stuff I was most afraid to put out there. So that kind of says something. I actually feel a lot more anxious about putting my not my fiction out into the world, which is an interesting thing. I think it's just because I know not everyone's gonna like me. And so as a nonfiction writer, you know, if people don't, this is who I am. And if it doesn't resonate with people, or they, they don't like, they don't like me or my take on the world, then it's, in some ways easier for me to just be like, okay, like, really, I've, I've never been for everyone. And I don't need to be the likeable character in your story, either. So that's okay. A lot of people are responding to it. Yeah, but fiction and something that's entirely your own creation. It's, it does feel very different. Because it's, yeah, it's something that I created specifically to resonate with the most people possible. But even so, if you've ever been in a book club, it no book is for everyone.
Yeah, I kind of feel like that. Like, we've, in general, like, I mean, I love I love and respect every artist that I meet because of what they're doing, just because they're doing the thing that they love, and they getting it out there. But I don't necessarily resonate with every kind of art, you know, and same with music, ya know? And I think that's fine. That's what makes us human and different. We're all different. And that's fine either. That's, yeah, that's completely normal.
Yeah, that's resonating with someone it's, you know, it's and but it is interesting because I it occurred to me at some point this year, so I'm a lot more nervous about this book launch earlier on, than I was with the last one. The last one was like on launch day, I kind of had a little bit of a panic. Just like what if this is actually terrible, and no one told me but You know, which this book is not self published. So it's I mean, I, I've had like a whole team behind it. It's not terrible and no one said anything. It's still like, I know, because I just know people, you know, people are gonna get on Good Reads and write some scathing criticism. And it's just it's going to happen and it's why they tell you don't read your don't read your own reviews.
Yeah, it's better not to know. You just gotta be what you've done. And if people message and say how much they loved it, that's what you hold on to.
Yeah, no, I have a whole folder of those like, I never get rid of those. Those reader emails, I just drag them all into the into the little folder. Alright, whenever I need this.
Yes, that is awesome. Yep. Good on. Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on today. I really enjoyed chatting with you. It's been a pleasure to meet you. All the best with the with the release that's coming out in April, and with your future work, and I'll definitely share anything I say because I just think what you're doing is awesome. And yeah. Thanks again.
Oh, thank you. Yeah, no, this is nice. I appreciate it.
The music you heard featured on today's episode was from Elim, Joe, which is my new age ambient music trio comprised of myself, my sister, Emma Anderson, and her husband John. If you'd like to learn more, you can find a link to us in the show notes. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mom