Something a bit different today. I’m doing one of these Blog Hop thingies. For those of you not hip to the lingo, it’s kind of like the blogging equivalent of a Tupperware party. A whole bunch of people write on the same topic and then enlist a whole bunch of other people to write on the same topic. Some write out of a sense of obligation and kindness to their host, some write because they actually want to write. I was nominated by Kim Upton from ihearttuesdays via One Small Life blog. Thanks for the tag.
Funnily enough, I actually wanted to write about why I write. Not that I really expect anyone to care. So care, don’t care. Whatever. We cool. We’ll resume our usual programming shortly, after this small and somewhat self-indulgent break.
A Bit Of Background
I guess I’ve always been a writer, in hindsight.
I still remember a story I wrote back in kindergarten about being abducted by aliens and taken back to their planet. I remember making my own school newspapers at home when I was eight years old. I remember a poem about a witch and her coven of freaky friends.
I remember a hilarious play I wrote on holidays when I was ten, which featured a rousing cast of Native Australian birds. I remember writing a story during my Year 10 school certificate about a woman who threw a meat cleaver at her philandering husband’s head. It was a comedy, and it was one mark off a perfect score. I still remember the story I wrote for my Year 12 exam, which was about people lining up for the apocalypse like they were lining up for a ride at Disneyland.
For the record, I have a shocking memory. I literally struggle to remember what I did three days ago but I have vivid memories of things I wrote three decades ago. This is the crazy work of a brain that says “this is what is important to you”. These words, these stories, this thing called writing.
I’ve been a fanzine writer and a blogger most of my life. I’ve written sarcastic feminist tracts for university newpapers. I’ve written satire for a community radio program that never made it to air. I’ve written a terrible NANOWRIMO novel, a faux-memoir of my tumultuous twenties. I’ve freelanced and worked in publishing.
I actually call myself a writer now. I even get paid to do it. But I still feel like a pretender.
What Am I Working On?
I’m always working on overcoming fatigue and trying to unearth the best posts from what is left of me at the end of the day. I am a work-at-home mum who freelances after the kids are in bed and tries to fit my own writing in around that. It gets messy. A typical day starts at 5am and finishes late at night. The free time I have at the end of the day is when I am good for little other than collapsing into bed, or staring vacantly at whatever happens to be in front of me at the time. Usually the TV. Or a blank word document on the laptop if I’m feeling ambitious.
How Does My Writing Differ From Others In My Genre?
I have come to realise that my writing style and approach differs tremendously from most other mummy-bloggers. I don’t take parenting as seriously as others seem to and I seem to be in deficit of whatever hormone it is that makes mothers earnest and sentimental. My writing is sardonic and sarcastic and strident and unforgiving.
I take glee in subverting the typical cliches about motherhood as marytrdom, and motherhood as “the best job ever” and empty platitudes like “…but you’ll love every minute”. I like lampooning the ridiculous aspects of modern parenting. The stupid rituals. The obsessive navel-gazing. The self-indulgent preoccupation with guilt. The idea that gestating a foetus and pushing a child out of your vagina and raising a tiny human is some form of spiritual enlightenment. It’s not. It’s just breeding.
It’s not an overly popular perspective and some find it offensive. I can’t help it. I call bullshit when I see it.
I think what a lot of people probably don’t realise is that Hugzilla is a caricature, a parody of myself. It takes the way I see the world and filters it through several additional layers of snark and hyperbole. I also suspect that people interpret my posts as a form of individual judgement cast against other people’s choices, when it is not about that at all. I don’t give a shit if you do a gender reveal party or dress your daughter in a pink princess frock with heels. Knock yourself out. I’m a graduate of the behavioural sciences. I’m far more interested in looking at things from a societal level and poking fun at the stupid things we all do as part of this parenting culture. And yes, I include myself in that too. I’m not exempt from stupidity.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I write what I do because my children have colonised all of my time and most of my brain space. I actually feel less intelligent since having them. I am certainly less well-read than I used to be and (lamentably) lack the time and energy to keep up with current events, so I write about what I know; which is the shit I have dealt with on a daily basis since my first child came screaming out of my nether-regions four years ago.
How Does Your Writing Process Work?
I write when the inspiration takes me, and I’m not someone who can sit down and write successfully to a schedule because more often than not it ends up feeling forced and dull. I wish I could do that but experience has shown I work at my best when the muse shows up, takes my hand and sits me down at the computer.
The downside of that is that the majority of the time my children are around to shoulder the muse out of the way, and I often wonder how many brilliant posts have been lost to my kid’s bowel movements, demands for more jam toast or another rousing rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus”. I hazard a guess it’s a lot.
Sometimes, when the muse is unsually persistent, I will – shock horror – sit my kids in front of a “Dora the Explorer” DVD and bash out as much I can before the final credits close. I don’t feel guilty about that. My kids get so much of me all the time, I don’t think it’s selfish to re-colonise tiny portions of myself while the ruling class are looking the other way. It’s a little act of rebellion that reminds me I’m still alive.
Once I have everything down I will edit the shit out of it. I am an editing fiend. I will literally edit for hours if I have the time, and I have been known to jump out of bed to furiously make more changes when I really should be sleeping. Everything needs to pop, and because I write humour everything needs to be lean and mean and punchy. I am very sensitive to places in my posts I feel are flat, so I will keep riffing on them until they become more dynamic.
And then, I let the buggers go.
At this point I am meant to tag three bloggers and enlist them into this. I’ve never been one for chain letters, but I will link to three bloggers here I think are awesome and leave it up to them if they wish to participate or not. I know what it’s like to be busy and I don’t want to add to anyone’s already formidable “To-Do” list. Go read their stuff anyway, it’s funny.
My favourite mummy-blogger. She’s funny. She’s interesting. She gets it. She has also been tremendously supportive of my blog the whole time, even though she is in no way obliged to be because we’ve never actually met each other.