Life with Teenagers

the writing life

with 5 comments

I love to read about how other writers and artists do what they do. When Zsofi McMullin asked me if I wanted to participate in a blog hop, I didn’t hesitate. I think it’s important to reflect on the creative process, because it often gets me unstuck and moving again. I left my job the other day on a whim and drove to Portland Maine to hear Kate Christensen talk in a library about her latest book and why she writes. It proved to be a good jumpstart for me to get back to my own work.

1. What am I writing or working on?

I write an autobiographical blog about living with my teenagers. When I first started it, I wrote several posts a month. But lately as they get older, and as I get older, I write a little less often in that format. I’m focusing more on writing essays and poetry with the goal of having more of an established background (meaning published) when I approach editors with a finished novel. I’m working on that, too.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess my blog fits in with the genre of “mommy blogs” although I write about parenting teens and not babies. I also write about food and the conversations that happen at the dinner table, and the little moments that are worth noticing in a life. My blog is also about my same-sex marriage and having a blended family (shared pets, an involved ex-husband down the street) and midlife for me at the intersection of my teens who are embarking on their own adult lives.

3. Why do I write what I do?
I am trying to find my own writing voice and having a blog about daily experiences as a parent helps me stop being too earnest and just write stuff. I like the way a blog post is just a slice of the now, a chance to find a little hook or arc of an idea, but not something to agonize over. On the other hand, the novel I’m working on is sheer terror and pain. Sometimes I get in a groove and characters and chapters seem to be making some sense and appear to be carrying me somewhere, but other times I have to put it aside for long stretches and hope I will remember what I’m trying to say when I come back.

I didn’t set out to be a writer in college. I wanted to be a visual artist and I made “film poems” with a super 8 camera in the 80s. I do web and print communication work now for my job, and have theorized about feminism, romanticism, and female masculinity in grad school. Now somehow all of this makes total sense to be showing up in my novel.

4. How does my writing process work?
I don’t have a process right now that works for me all that well, which is one of the reasons I love to read how others juggle their creative work with their lives. I struggle with balancing a demanding job, a long commute, and a lot of harsh voices in my head that are worried about making enough money to pay for two teens in college and who say constantly: “you are getting older, you know” and “why haven’t you published more than this?” and “you really don’t have the luxury of being a writer.” Ha, that one is my favorite. As if it’s a luxury to be writer.

But whenever the writing is going well for me, it’s usually because I have realized again the importance of filling the well. I can’t write at all when I haven’t made space for music, for art shows, for weeding my garden, and for reading about and talking with other creative people.

And now to pass on the baton…

Julie Silver is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music today. She tours throughout the world, and has been engaging audiences with her lyrical guitar playing, her dynamic stage presence, and her megawatt smile for over 25 years. “As a songwriter, I just write and sing what I feel and hope it resonates with people,” she says. [Kris writes: She also writes a blog called On My Mind and her facebook posts can make me literally laugh out loud.]

Cheryl Perreault is a poet and spoken word artist. She is also executive producer and host of a monthly poetry and music venue at HCAM TV Studio called Wake up and Smell the Poetry which takes place before a live audience and is aired on HCAM cable television in Hopkinton. In addition, she co-facilitates the monthly Women’s Art Forum, a program of the Hopkinton Cultural Arts Alliance in Hopkinton. [Kris writes: Cheryl is a real force for the arts in the Metrowest and an inspiration for everyone who has something to say. ]


Written by kmguay

June 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Posted in dinner, mothers, teenagers

Tagged with , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. A blog “helps me stop being too earnest and just write stuff.” I love that. Thank you for your post!

    Susan McCulley

    June 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    • Thanks for reading Susan!


      June 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

  2. I really loved this, Kris! Especially this sentence: “I can’t write at all when I haven’t made space for music, for art shows, for weeding my garden, and for reading about and talking with other creative people.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I am so glad we “met!” BTW, where do you live, that you drove up to Portland? I used to live there (in fact, I am sitting in my office right now that is still in Portland), but I moved to CT in February.


    June 10, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    • I work in Cambridge. It was a long drive but sometimes you have to escape the second you get the crazy idea.
      Thanks for reading! maybe the FGP crowd can do a meetup somewhere?


      June 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

  3. Hi Kris, Glad you are still blogging here! Congrats. Your email didn’t work anymore. Just wanted to throw out my Women’s Summer Writing Adventure in Ashland. It’s called Find Your Sassy Voice! If you want the password, please email me via below email. thanks!

    Giulietta Nardone

    June 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

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