Girl.Body.Pride.

I've got a project in the works. You may have seen mentions on Facebook status updates or in my tweet stream. And maybe you've been wondering exactly where I was going to go with this Girl.Body.Pride thing I've been talking about.

So let me tell you.

Girl.Body.Pride will be a new website devoted to, well, the obvious. We are bombarded daily with messages telling us how we will be happy(er) and fulfilled once we've become thinner/gotten that nose job/had our boobs done/earned that next degree or gotten that next promotion. And while there might be some truth in that, we forget to focus on the fact that who we are right at this very moment is okay too. Even with our cellulite and Barbara Streisand noses and droopy pancake boobies and another day at a job we might not love anymore.

Our children are growing up in the same world that we did. The playground is still filled with cliques and bullies and feelings of inadequacy revolving around their off-brand sneakers because the cool kids are pointing and laughing and birthday party invitations that never show up and name calling and social hierarchy and who didn't make the cheerleading team. And those experiences will follow them and shape who they will eventually become. Some will say it makes them stronger. Some will remember that the only reason they never tried out for high school softball is because they were afraid of drawing attention to their curves in the form-fitting uniforms.

I was talking Girl.Body.Pride with a friend. I want her to write for us and found myself being asked to make it worth her while in the respect that before she commits, I need to define what it is that makes GBP stand out from other sites that carry a very similar message of self-love and self-acceptance. It's a valid point.

So I thought for a minute. And this is what I responded with:

It's that we are broken still but funny. Not sure of ourselves but damned sure we want our daughters and friends and nieces and that kid at Target we saw crying for a Barbie to grow up whole. We are proud of our nose rings but still worried that our family will give us shit about an extra hole in our heads even though we're 36 or 47 and have been married for 15 years so we tell them our husbands gave us permission and suddenly that makes our self-expression acceptable. We encourage our friends to love themselves because they are beautiful but make excuses and keep forgetting to buy a swimsuit of our own. We are here screaming words like pride and confidence and phrases like Inner Beauty and Happy Thoughts from the rooftops and thrilled to know our words make a difference for others, because we were really just trying to convince ourselves.  That's what Girl.Body.Pride is: an exercise in contradictions.

We mean it when we tell our best friends that they are beautiful but we really need to work on believing them when the compliment is returned. We love our curves & accept our hips but won't be caught dead in a bathing suit. We advocate self love while focusing on our own imperfections because things like that really only apply to others and if we continue to write and share and sing happy tunes that are mostly off-key, we may eventually convince ourselves we are worth it too. And if not, at least our kids will look back years from now and think we actually had our shit together.

Girl.Body.Pride will officially launch on Aug. 1. There will be sharing and supporting and forums to share and support some more. There will be stories mothers can relate to about raising their daughters and stories mothers will sit down to read with their daughters. Girl.Body.Pride will even feature a Teen Corner for our daughters with stories by a very talented young writer who is everything now that I am still hoping to become.

And then I remind myself. I am perfect in my imperfections. Just the way I am right now.

I look forward to taking this next stage of my journey with all of you.

Say it with me now: Just the way we are.

The Typo Queen (strikes again)

@aspiringmama: this might be a really funny story later. maybe. when i am dead.

Remember my pubic relations SNAFU?

I just topped it.

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are. I mean, really...sending off a cover letter for a pubLic relations job and unknowingly admitting that I'm an expert on pubes? How in the hell do you top that?

I'll tell you.

I'm in the middle of sorta kinda proving myself wrong. In the past three days I have queried four agents for Baby F(Ph)at. And before that? I sent off a query to another who's name I had already pink puffy hearted on my notebook. I'm not sure how you do it, but my little query method is to go into my Word documents, pull up the last query letter written, copy and paste into a new document, and then personalize accordingly. It's not a genius system, but it is working just fine for me and helps me keep track of where I am at in the process.

Also?

It's proven that typos are much easier to spot after hitting send.

Lemme expound on that.

I have one line in my query which uses the term "post mama muffin top." It's a quick and easy visual for the reader and a phrase I use so often on my blog and in real life I am considering having it tattooed on the actual muffin top which inspired the phrase. Right away the reader knows I am talking about having had a child, gaining weight, and then wondering why cellulite hasn't been reclassified as a substance stronger than crazy glue (read: the shit sticks like nothing else.)

When spelled correctly, "post mama muffin top" works.

When it isn't? When, say, the in on the muffin is somehow dropped in a moment of complete idiocy?

For those of you not keeping up with the program, let me (correctly) spell out my (incorrect) spelling for you.

My query to secret agent person had the phrase: "post mama muff top" in it.

As in "muff." As in my mind automatically went to a really dirty place when I read it 1,000 times after having copied and pasted the last query into a new document.Which led to a momentary breakdown and thoughts of suicide by chocolate and this tweet:

@aspiringmama: damn it. just. damn it. #neverrereadaqueryalreadysent

Also?

@aspiringmama: I should write a new book. #thetypoqueen. Just think of the money a publishing house would save on editing!

All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa, I hope this blog post finds you well.

I am sure you have already received Buttercup's Christmas list. And yes, I am perfectly aware that your sled is only equipped to carry so much,with the gifts for children all around the world thing and all, so I am already trying to explain to her that you probably won't be bringing everything on her list.

Don't worry. The Husband and I have got your back. We went out and bought a few things on your behalf and will sit back happily while she praises the man in the red suit who somehow managed to make breaking into homes not only socially acceptable, but a much anticipated event. Props to you, Santa.

Anyway, you can let the Elves know that the Sing-a-Ma-Jigs, Unicorn Pillow Pet, and Disney Princess Movies are already taken care of. We might even spring for the Dora the Explorer Power Wheel Jeep. But the rest is all you. And we'd appreciate it if you could possibly return the favor by sticking "Love, Mama and Daddy" on a few of the things you happen to drop off. Because really? It's only fair. And? We're now broke.

I've already had a few friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. I've already got my two front teeth, so that's out. And The Husband and I are already on the lookout for another puppy, so don't worry about poking holes in a box for something cute to breathe out of. But really? My list isn't really that long. I'd like a few books, maybe Stephen King's On Writing. Perhaps the complete Harry Potter series because I have never had a chance to read it. (I know. I know. Shut up.)

I'd also like something sparkly. But don't worry. I'll ask The Husband for that. So you're off the hook again. (See how considerate I am being?)

So what do I want you to leave for me under the Christmas tree? My laptop, opened and logged in to my email account (You got into my house, big guy, so let's not be modest here. We know you've got the skills), with a brandy new and very pretty new message from my dream agent. One that, very clearly, states they love me and my manuscript. A contract would be nice, too. But you can save that for my birthday. It's the day after. I can wait.

Just think! I'm saving you space in your sled again to allow for more Christmas cheer. I'm thinking that should count for some points, yes?

I've been a good girl, Santa. Pinky promise. And? I'm leaving you some cookies on the table. But forget the milk. Since Rudolph's the one doing the actual driving, feel free to help yourself to the liquor cabinet.

Sincerely,

Pauline (a.k.a. Aspiringmama)

On Me and the Speed of Molasses

Good gawd, I'm picky. I was when I was dating and I am probably worse with querying agents for Baby F(Ph)at. Case in point: I got my first boyfriend when I was 16, had three serious boyfriends before The Husband decided he was the Prince this Mexican Princess was looking for and answered my ad, and walked down the aisle at the ripe old age of Are you fucking crazy? You have your whole life ahead of you!!! 24.  Maybe I missed out on some singles fun by declining that Spring Break trip to Mardi Gras with the sorority sisters I wouldn't have paid to be friends with because I was too busy staring at the shiny new engagement ring on my finger prior to becoming Mrs. The Husband, but hell, I was happy where I was ( i had always said I would marry a guy who was half Mexican, taller than me, and spoke more English than Spanish. Guess what I got? Yep...exactly what I ordered). No need to go looking for what I wasn't.

Querying is very much the same for me. I have compared the process of searching for an agent to finding love a few times on the blog, and the comparison is still true for me. And? It explains why I have only queried 10 agents since July.

Namely? I am not a query slut.

(Don't get your panties in a bunch. I am not calling you a query slut. I am merely saying that I am not one. Big difference. Huge difference. Huge!)

Sure, I could have had my letter in the hands of 40 or 50 or more agents by now. Some may argue that I should have. But I respectfully disagree (in my case, anyway). Because when it comes to searching for an agent, I am being just as picky as I was when I was looking for my prince. If I don't get all super excited and start dreaming about how my first name would match his last how insanely awesome it would be to have THIS agent take me on as a client, then I'm not going to bust my ass to perfect the personalization on the query and send the damned thing out. It's hard enough when I want it to work out. I am not going to go that kind of crazy when I only have a name, an email address, and no idea who this person is or if anyone else has ever heard of them. (And yes, I did turn down one agent who refused to give details on her track record. Call me crazy.)

Which takes me to the search itself. I've gone through the requisite books at Barnes & Noble. I've highlighted names in my agent listing books. And? I have twitter-stalked enough agents long enough to know if I am going to continue following and query or unfollow because I'm not getting all googly-eyed at the thought of them calling me if I make myself pretty and send them a note with a box to check yes if they like me. Like my Husband requirements, my agent list is pretty specific. I'm betting she will be a mom, appreciate a properly placed F-bomb, and have an active twitter account or at least know what a tweet actually is when not referring to the sound the birds make in Snow White. Did I mention I was picky?

So maybe my search is moving slow. Okay, slow is an understatement. But that's okay with me.I'm still looking. And I'm not sweating the small stuff. The Husband answered my yahoo ad the day I was clearing out the inbox because I had decided I was going to take a break from the dating scene. The rest is obviously history.

Now...let's see how this agent match search of mine plays out. 'Cuz I could query her...or her...or maybe? Maybe I'll just wait for the next agent that has me doodling their name in hearts on the cover of my notebooks.

Aspiring Mama Seeks Anthology Submissions

It's time to change things up a bit. It's time to take the focus off of the baby f(ph)at essay contest and on to the actual anthology. I'll be honest, I'm not cut out to be a contest blogging mama. It's why I gave up my old blog and hopped on my own little wordy bandwagon over here at Aspiring Mama. But I am all about connecting with other women, other mothers, and working on an anthology that I think will speak to anyone who picks it up.

So what's the deal? I wrote Baby F(Ph)at: Adventures in Motherhood, Weight Loss, and Trying to Stay Sane...and that is my journey. I want to read about yours. How motherhood changed your perspectives about body image, weight loss, and getting into or staying in shape. I want honesty. I want to laugh. I want to relate. And I want it to read like a conversation between best friends over a few bottles of wine (after the kids are asleep, of course, which means you are totally allowed to swear.)

So far, I have a few awesome pieces from previous contest winners which will be considered for the final project, and am in search of more.

I know I’m not the only mother out there who is wondering what the hell happened to her waistline after the baby came. Or the only one who’s wishing Karma didn’t take names when I was on the other side of motherhood and passing judgment on women I knew for “letting themselves go.” Forget Hollywood moms and the fairy-tale disappearing baby pooch…I want real moms to come clean with their own stories. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me want to call you up and meet for coffee (sugar free and skim-milked, of course!). Make me connect with you as a mother and as a person. Just make it real.

Here are the guidelines:

* Stories must be between 500 and 1,500 words and be told in first person. This is your story…not your neighbors. Make sure to include a short bio with contact information.

*Essays should focus on the topic of weight. Suggestions include:

—Your expectations prior to becoming pregnant versus the reality

—How pregnancy changed your body

—How you lost the weight

—Acceptance of your new shape

—Balancing the needs of your children with your own

* No anonymous or author unknown submissions.

* Please submit only stories or poems that have not been previously published.

* Submissions should be sent to aspiringmama@gmail.com with “Anthology” in the subject line.

* By submitting a story, you give www.aspiringmama.com the right to re-publish and distribute your work on this website, and in any other formats (including, but not limited to, the site’s Twitter feed, RSS feed, and possible publication in a book).

And that's the deal, peeples. So who wants to share?

**Deadline is April 22,2011. Feel free to email with any questions. I look forward to reading your stories.

No Exceptions

Part of this whole writing business is making it up as you go. There is so much to learn, and like parenting, everyone can tell you what to expect and how to prepare and what reference books to read, but you still have to make your own mistakes and learn what works for you. That's where I am sitting now; On the realization that whereas I once believed I had it figured out, I am now aware of the fact that I, in fact, had no fucking clue.

Every writer, I believe, has to have an ego and boatloads of confidence to survive the road from dream to reality. Every writer needs to believe in themselves because there are going to be oh so many times that it seems no one else does. But every writer including this one needs to also realize that the confidence, ego, and belief in their ability has to be balanced with equal amounts of humility, because (and here's the kicker) if that mindset isn't already in place, you're in for one hell of a wake up call when the rejections start pouring in.

I freely admit that I was cocky. That I thought I was going to be The Exception to the rule. That my first draft was so spectacular and my query so eloquent that there was no way in hell I was going to be spending months looking for an agent. Somehow, that insecure self I was in high school had magically morphed into a self-congratulatory jackass that had convinced the rational me of easy roads ahead.

Don't get me wrong...I still believe in my writing. But, and I think this is a process all of us go through at some point (even if only in our heads) in order for us to really grow as writers. Think of it as maturing from a cocky teenager who thinks he knows it all to the parent who is trying to explain to their own cocky teenager that they really and truly don't. It's at that point that you how far you have come as a person.

I'm still cocky. Or cocky enough to be able to brush off the sting of each rejection. But I'm wiser, too and aware that the reality of the publishing process applies to everyone, including me. Agents aren't going to come flocking to me just because I am me. Book deals are not going to fall down from the heavens and land in my lap just because I am willing them to do so. Platforms do matter. And rewrites are the name of the game.

I am a good writer. I believe that. And I have to keep believing that or I may as well shred my manuscript right now and not even bother to start working on the next project.  One day, I will have my reality. But it won't be because I was an exception. It won't be because my horoscope was a lucky one that day. Fortune cookies will not be involved.

It will be because I worked for it. And because I finally figured out that I still have plenty to learn.

The Misunderstood Optimist

I like to believe my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I write non-fiction, after all. My mind does not have the capability to dream up new worlds or breathe life into new beings to populate them. And yet, my head is always in the clouds. Maybe that's how I'm able to see the story in the reality in which I live.

Whatever the case may be, my horoscope got me thinking today.

Are you pessimistic, Capricorn?  (Ummm...not a fair question because the answer totally depends on the time of the month.) Or are you simply a cautious yet seriously misunderstood optimist? (That sounds a hell of a lot better, thank you.) The proof is in the pudding today and throughout the balance of the month. (I'm listening.) You may sometimes be perceived as someone who sees the glass half-empty. (Shocking!) This may rankle you, and you may find yourself defending your positive outlook. (I'm Miss Maria Fucking Sunshine, Dammit!) But in reality, you do occasionally utter words that are too pessimistic. (Too-shay.) Did you know, though, that you can create your own reality with your words? (Is this a trick question?) If your words are dark and angry, they bring you down. (I know...trust me.) If they are life-affirming, you get back wonderful rewards. (Note to self: focus on life-affirmations and double rainbows. Oh, and remember to look surprised when good things start to happen. As if fate had thrown me a surprise party.)

The Platform Conundrum

Dear Future Agent, I have a secret to share. It may shock you.

Then again, probably not.

See...(and this is kind of embarrassing to admit)...but (deep breath) I. Am. Not. Famous.

I'll give you a minute to digest that little piece of information. Because really, the Holy Crap factor was probably enough to knock the wind out of you. You know, while you laughed at me. So I understand if you need to compose yourself.

Right now, dear Future Agent, you are probably asking yourself why you should give a damn about me and my Regular Peeples status. Or not. After all, we haven't been formally introduced yet. Or perhaps we have and I just haven't quite convinced you yet. So in reality, you are probably busy cycling through your inbox while fending off off over-zealous writers with good intentions and big dreams who may have sent you cookies instead of a properly formatted query letter, wishing it was five o'clock so you can get home and pop the cork on a bottle of wine, skip the glass, and stick a bendy straw in there. You know, after you have served the kids dinner. (I'm going out on a limb here and guessing you will be a mom. And if you are doing that bendy straw thing, we are soooo a match made in heaven.)

But back to the me Not Being Famous and why you should care thing. You see, before I find you I have to be told to keep looking by others. "This is a subjective business..." "Other agents opinions may differ..." "What doesn't work for me may be perfect for another agent..." Oh wait. It's been three weeks and two days. Which means I can cross two more off my list. I know my query is solid (maybe). I know my writing has promise (right?). I know I will not be a word-diva when it comes to revisions (which I think is major bonus points, yes?) I could focus on the fact that I just got turned down again or I can remind myself that these two passive rejections are playing their karmic roles in getting me closer to the day I find you. But instead, I think I'll focus on the fact that my (solid) query is missing something. That my (promising) writing isn't even going to come into play for many of the agents who shall come before you because of that pesky little platform thing. And seeing as I don't really have one to stand on, why ask for more if I don't have enough to get me past Go to collect my Monopoly money?

You already know, dear Future Agent, that Non-fiction and Strong Platforms go hand in hand. That there is plenty of rhyme and reason for the current system. I get it, too. But I have to admit that the whole situation kind of has me in a pickle similar to the Gotta Have Credit to Get Credit situation I found myself in when I was young and stupid enough to jump on the first credit card offer that got me a free T-shirt on my college campus; I'm not famous enough to garner the attention of many agents looking for famous enough people to garner the attention of publishers looking for people famous enough to sell books. So they have (and will continue to) take a pass on me. No matter what they may think of my writing or my claims that my old job, this blog, and my twitter addiction could be considered a platform.

And that's okay. It sucks. But it's okay.

Because one day, you will take a chance on me. And I'll do that little happy dance every writer does when their own future finally slows down enough for them to grab hold. And then I can dream bigger and work harder (while trying to remedy that Not Being Famous thing while taking breaks from that working and writing thing, of course.) Until then, I'll continue to nurse my bruised ego, marvel at the fact that the girl who was so unsure of herself has grown into the woman who is sure enough to continue this soul-crushing exercise as long as it takes, and wait.

I may not be famous (enough) yet, but I'm stubborn as hell. Which means I'm not going to let my cute little platform (or lack thereof) get in my way.

Sincerely,

Me

Holding out

I recently read a BlogHer post by Renee J. Ross that got me thinking. She talks in depth about her public weight loss, the struggle, and the light at the end of the tunnel. She's successfully lost quite a bit of weight and I applaud her. She's not the only one. There are countless women I could name, including Leah Segedie, Bookieboo.com founder and Mamavation Grand Mistress (that's my title for her). The site and twitter hashtag are a source of support for moms trying to get fit and Leah is a great example. She's lost a crazy amount of weight and uses her story to inspire others.

So where's that leave me? Not on the winning side of the scale, but that's a different blog post. Or maybe a chapter in my book.

And therein lies the dilema.

I started the blog the same day I started my book. I've wanted to write a book for an insanely long time and have had plenty of time to research the ins and outs of going about the business that comes with getting that dream off the ground. And I went in knowing that traditional publishers aren't exactly going to do the happy dance when/if they get to reading your manuscript and find the entire thing plastered all over your blog.

So the plan from the beginning was to make the book the story of my weight loss attempt journey and the blog my mama-writer journey. I put a few snippets up here and there---little bits of the book---to give you an idea of what isn't going on the blog, but for the most part I am doing my damnedest to make sure I don't make my life harder whenever I get to the agent/editor/publisher portion of this little pipe dream.

Now, if this had gone another way and I had just started a blog first, gotten the attention of an agent, and had the Great Oz make all the rest of my dreams come true, too, this all may have gone a bit differently. I might be sharing more on Bookieboo. I might have gotten past the "Should I or Shouldn't I?" and tried to win a spot in her Mamavation campaign. I may have vlogged more about my results for more accountability. I may have reached out for more support.

I maybe should have lost the weight first. And then written the book.

But then I remind myself that my goal from the beginning wasn't to flash a number at The End and call it a day. It was to reach out, connect, and show anyone who picks up the finished product that success on the scale isn't the only prize to be sought. Yes, it is an important goal. And one that we should continue to strive for. But the continuing to try part? Despite the craziness and obligations of motherhood? The getting up every morning after a hellacious day before and a hellacious day to come? I want moms to read my book and know that trying is a reason enough to feel good about themselves.

I know I could share more. But I really shouldn't. And it's not that I'm holding out. I'm just saving the juicy bits for the book.

And I can say that on my blog without blurring too many lines.

So I will.

The Writing Bear

That's me in the background.

On the left, I'm in my paternal grandfather's arms.

On the right, with my mother and maternal grandmother on the day of my baptismal.

That's me in the foreground, too. Or at least, that's what The Husband said on the day I picked up the little figurine in a gift shop years ago, smiling because I have a thing for teddy bears.

And this one was going to town on a typewriter.

I was just out of college and the proudest new city editor at a little community paper that's ever walked the earth. But even then, I had dreams of becoming more.

He bought me The Writing Bear that day. Because he believed in me and my dream long before I did.

Lessons learned, Lines crossed

Lest any of you think I can talk smack without ever looking into a mirror and owning up to my own mistakes, it's time for a revelation. I fucked up.

I've been thinking about this post for a long time and have put off writing it again and again. Not because I can't bare to admit I crossed the line drawn in the sand, but because, well...I can't bare to admit I crossed the line drawn in the sand.

The story goes like this:

I was high on finishing my book proposal and scrambling to get a few blurbs from writer friends. Since I'm pretty close to sending out some queries and starting that whole process, I also figured starting the search for that elusive foreward written by Someone Famous would be a good idea and might pad my proposal in my favor.

So I sent a few emails. Made a few calls.

No harm, no foul.

Everyone I contacted initially was a friend. Someone who I had already developed a solid relationship with going as far back as my first tweet on the Aspiringmama account.

I got feedback. I also got a few pretty awesome blurbs.

Then I got cocky.

I had recently connected with a Famous Writer on Twitter and was thrilled to see conversations developing. I'd been on this Famous Writer's site and was familiar with the Don't Send Me Your Unsolicited Work to Read clause. It made total sense since Famous Writer has deadlines and their own work to worry about.

Looking back, I wonder how I let myself believe I was going to be an exception. I was not friends with Famous Writer. I wasn't even an acquaintance. I was just a new comment in the Twitter stream; a new fan happy to see another example of Dreams Having Come True.

But there I sat with my finger on the mouse.  I had written an email thanking Famous Writer for their communication on Twitter and asked if Famous Writer would be willing to read a few sample chapters for a possible blurb and perhaps that foreward I was hoping to snag. My breathe caught in my throat. My finger was shaking.

But I hit send anyway.

TBFF Juliette thought I was crazy but was kind enough not to say so out loud. I laughed off her doubt by convincing myself that Famous Writer and I were destined for a real connection and that the worst that could happen was a simple "no."

I was wrong.

I received a form email a few days later from Famous Writer's assistant spelling out their policy as stated on the web site and nothing more.

I wrote back, thanking the assistant for their time and waited for what I was sure wasn't going to come.

And I was right.

Since that original email was sent, the twitter conversation has all but stopped. I'm not blaming Famous Writer. The way they probably see it, little to no responses to me are probably best; kind of like how you try to cut off communication with the sweet but weird guy who won't stop calling because he doesn't understand that you really just want to be friends.

I'm embarrassed, not to admit the aftermath. But that it happened to begin with.

I pride myself on what I know about what writers need to do to get published. I've done my homework when it comes to every single aspect of what order to perform each and every step and am very proud of the honesty on which my relationships on twitter are based. I know knew that there are professional lines not to be crossed when socializing on outlets like Twitter. I know that what I did was stupid. And hate that there isn't a Take Back button I can hit.

I'm writing this for the newer writers reading my blog. The seasoned ones are most likely smacking their foreheads wondering what kind of Stupid possessed me when I Hit Send on that email. But for those just getting started?

Go slow. Nurture the connections that you'd like to see develop into true relationships. Don't overstep the boundaries.

We all have something to learn on our journeys.

This just happened to be one of my lessons.

Show, don't tell

I'm knee-deep in netbook accessorizing hell (because really...it *is* an accessory). See, I specifically chose a black hp Mini because it went so well with the Chloe Dau clutch netbook sleeve I've been eyeing. But because my mind didn't grasp the concept of a 6 cell battery working wonders for cutting my ties to the nearest wall but sucking it up when trying to fit said netbook into said clutch sleeve, well, I'm back to square one. I've settled in a pretty and practical Golla sleeve (to keep my new baby safe from my other baby) after driving everyone I know bonkers. And because that damned 6 cell is in my way, the plan for fitting the mini in my pretty Fossil purse I got for my birthday is totally out the door.

So really, people, you can see how I'm being forced to shop, yes?

***

@aspiringmama: I *need* a lucky brand messenger tote to carry my new netbook for my writing conference. NEED, dammit! Why can't men understand this!?

@ing3nu: perhaps if you hit him in the head with the net book it would all become clear ? ;)

@aspiringmama: hmmmm....interesting tactic.

@ing3nu: It rolls under that whole "show don't tell" writers' meme :D

***

Sage advice, my friend. Very sage advice, indeed.

A day in the life...

Let's pretend I'm famous and you give a damn about the craziness that is my life. Let's pretend that just like Jon and Kate, Brangelina, and that perpetually-sad-eyed Kristen Stewart, you want to know what I ate for breakfast (Kashi cereal), what the label says in my clothes (Target, I think), and what my daughter's latest accomplishment was (she poo-poo'd in the potty all by herself today! So are we pretending? Are we in line at the grocery store with nothing better to do than grab the latest trashy tabloid with mystery cellulite splashed unceremoniously across the cover and getting ready to open it up to see if we can match the unidentified, highly-magnified belly pooches, thunder thighs, and fatty arm wings?

We are?

Good. Now let's pretend that before we can make it to page 6 to play the fat-celebs match game, our limited attention spans are caught by the tell-all interview with the totally famous, uber-awesome author behind the New York Times best selling "Baby Ph(f)at" series, Pauline M. Campos. (Because the line you are in at the grocery store is actually a worm hole and you'vPicture 539e stepped a few years into the future. Just go with me on this one.)

Here's everything you never wanted to know. And then some.

Pauline M. Campos is every bit the epitomy of motherhood today. She's overworked, under appreciated, and wondering why she left the work force because even though she felt the same way there, at least a pay check was attached to the daily attack on her ego and self-esteem.

While one would expect a lit star of her status to show up for an interview covered in class, Ms. C is instead covered in what appears to be dried mac and cheese noodles on her yoga pants and a splash of what can only hope is chocolate pudding on her T-shirt.

But who are we, the Trashiest and Most Brainless of them all, to judge a mother who begged to get herself in the public eye with her tell-it-like-it-is momoir about her struggle with losing the baby weight long after it's socially acceptable? Instead, we invite you to read on and judge for yourself.

Trashy, Brainless Mag: It was hard to peg you down for an interview, Ms. Campos! Have you been busy promoting your new book?

Ms. C: Hell no. I spent my advance before the book even got on the bookshelves and can't afford a nanny to watch my toddler while I traverse the country spreading my literary wit. Instead, I'm home and dodging the meals my daughter throws at me. It's her way of saying she would have preferred Whatever I Didn't Put On Her Plate instead.

TBM: Ahhh, explains the, um, choice in apparel today.

Ms. C: Go ahead and say I look like shit. I know I do. It's a wonder I made it here with anything on at all since 90 percent of my laundry is dirty. I got this little ensemble off of the miniscule clean pile of clothes on my bedroom floor. Or, at least I think it was the clean pile.

TBM: *Clearing throat.* Okay then. So tell me about your book, "Baby Ph(f)at: Adventures in Motherhood, Weight Loss, and Trying to Stay Sane." It launched you into literary stardom, after all, and a cult classic gift for new moms.

Ms. C: It's my answer to every mother who has ever been surprised that they were in for more than they expected after giving birth. We all have that friend, that sister, or that co-worker who gained 15 pounds during pregnancy and walked out of the hospital wearing their size 4's. Before motherhood, we assumed we would become that friend; after motherhood, we secretly hate that friend.

We have to stop looking outside of ourselves for the secret that will work for us. You know, the one that will help us lose weight, find a good balance, learn how to prioritize, find the exercise program or activity that we will gladly do day after day, help us not go clinically insane the next time the kids start fighting over who looked at who first and the husband gets pissy when we ask if he can take the kids for an hour so we can go for a little walk for some much-needed alone time. We have to look inside of ourselves for our own "zen" hidden in all the craziness.

"Baby Ph(f)at" is my answer to that. Your peek into my life and my fight to beat the mom pudge and regain my MILF status. I swear, I tell it like it is, and I can laugh at myself. If that sentence didn't speak to you, then don't buy the book and then bitch about the "F-bombs" peppered throughout the book on the Amazon reviews, for Pete's Sake.

TBM: What's an average day like for a mommy lit star as yourself?

Ms. C: As you can see (gesturing at her food-splattered clothing) it's not exactly glamorous. My mom lives with me, so I sleep till 10 if I stayed up late writing the night before, and she takes care of Buttercup. Then I putz around in my mismatched old T-shirt and yoga pants I sleep in (and no, I'm not wearing what I went to bed in last night. I swear.) and get The Husband's lunch box together while cooking us all a big meal for lunch before he leaves for the afternoon shift.

If life is good and Buttercup is not teething, crabby, or thinks the moons are misaligned, then I can get dressed before he leaves and walk Buttercup out to wave her Daddy off to work. The rest of the day is a cluster-bleep of housecleaning, laundry, sweeping up enough dog hair off of the floor to put together a new one, and trying to keep an active toddler occupied before she goes to bed at 6:45 p.m.

TBM: So from 7 p.m. on then, you have time to work on your writing?

Ms. C: That's cute. No. Not exactly. Buttercup has always slept with me or a family member so bed time requires one of us, usually me, to lay down with her until she passes out. If I'm lucky, that's 15 minutes. If she wants to torture me, it's more like two hours.

TBM: So you write then?

Ms. C: Nope...then I have to sweep the floor again (living in the desert can suck sometimes) and mop, clean the kitchen, and motivate myself to work out so I can not look like hell.

TBM: So you write then?

Ms. C: Only if I have made sure I paid the bills, balanced the checkbook, showered, made sure The Husband's crap is ready for the next day, and gotten Buttercup's diaper bag ready for her morning gymnastic sessions.

TBM: I'm almost afraid to ask...

Ms. C: Yeah, i write then. And that's why I'm up till 3 a.m. It's a vicious circle. Glamorous, isn't it?

TBM: So how exactly did you have time to write the book to begin with?

Ms. C: Lots of coffee. All-nighters. And a very understanding and helpful mother.

TBM: Sounds like you barely have time to think, let alone promote yourself. How'd you land the book deal? How do you stay connected with your readers?

Ms. C: My super-awesome agent found me by way of this blog. It was luck and prayers answered and dreams coming true...for my agent, I mean. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out, too, though. As for my readers? The women I write for are just as crazed and busy as I am. They don't have the time to drop the kid at the sitters so they can come see me wax poetic at a coffee shop 45 minutes away from them. But they do have time, between loads of laundry, husband's that can't dress themselves, and kids screeching "MAMA!" every other second, to stop by my blog, read an entry, and realize they are not the only ones who never feel like they have it all together.

TBM: So last question...what'd you spend the book advance on?

Ms. C: Shoes. And therapy. But mostly shoes.

And the Academy Award goes to...

It's gonna be a no-go on this ghosting project. The client is dead-set on a "partnership," which pretty much translates into him thinking he can find a writer who will dedicate three solid months to produce a proposal and full manuscript with only a promised 30 percent split of the expected royalties (for the book and movie he  says will happen) as payment. Sorry, dude. I might be kicking myself later if Brad Pitt leads an all-star cast in the blockbuster, but I have a mortgage that ain't gonna get paid on a promise.