Emerging Author with an Identity Crises
It might be all the talk about Dana ( pronounced Dah – nah ) running for president.
Or it might be the fact that when I meet people for the first time — those who have been reading the blog — they are taken aback at the sound of me. Mostly, it is a case of mistaken identity, and because of this, I always find myself apologising for the way I ‘sound’. I am either (a) American sounding or (b) Irish sounding. But which ever way I end up sounding, it is always the complete opposite of the way I ‘sound’ to them, when they read the words I write.
One of the very first things I was taught when I started this writing course in 2009 at NUIG was about finding my ‘voice’. My first batch of homework exercise came back from my teacher all red-penned and perforated with comments like: ‘great voice, but are you American or Irish? Pick one and stick with it’.
Hmpf….easy for teacher to say because he clearly did not have to listen to all the voices in my head, all day long, nattering on and on and on in Ah-merhi-kahn……or in Oi-rish.
So here it is. I am laying my cards on the table. I, Móna Wise, can (apparently) never run for president, it appears in America, or in Ireland. I knew I would never make it to the White House. They make that very clear when you get your citizenship. Unless you are a natural born citizen, you ain’t got a chance.
Now, because I have the privilege of holding dual citizenship, not being able to make a run for Irish presidency comes as devastating news to me. I always fancied a stint at the Arás myself.
Irish by birth and American by choice.
I was born and raised in Ireland and moved to the US when I was 19. You could say I grew up there. I was a US Visa lottery winner and had a green card. I never needed to gain citizenship. The only thing I was not able to do was vote. That was why I got my US citizenship. I am a voter who firmly believes that every vote counts. I have never been ashamed of either of my nationalities. Carrying dual citizenship/passports is like saying ‘It’s ok to have dual personalities Móna. Be who you are’.
When I moved to the US I was welcomed so warmly I did not return home for 15 years (except once a year on holidays etc).When I moved back home a few years ago, I was welcomed so warmly I am still sad I was gone so long.
Both of these ‘personalities’ of mine, that I find myself sometimes trying to hide or hush, are who I am.
I can’t be one or the other. I am both.
I am me.
Now, I know there is no talk of food in this blog post. For future reference, I am posting all my ‘WiseWords on Writing‘ in the little section called ‘The Snug’ at the top of the blog. I like to sit in ‘The Snug’ in several bars in town and write. No, I will never tell you which bar snugs I sit in because I like to be alone, with my white noise playing on my iPhone, and pretend that I look important. I can’t do that if you are sitting next to me chatting. (For those of you that do not know what a snug is, it is a teeny tiny cosy nook in a pub where people will leave you alone. The nicer ones are right beside the fireplace and seat only three or four people).
* We interrupt this programme to give you a break from the girl on her soapbox. Have a look at the cute photo, take a break and resume reading in five *
* and we are back *
Today, I hit a big mile marker with my book writing. I have cleared the 10,000 word hurdle and am carrying around a hefty weighted manuscript in my lovely leather tote these days. (disclosure – there are lots of photos so it ‘looks’ bigger than it is!). I feel that this book has about one hundred thousand words of a story in it, but after I edit out all the fluff and typos and extra exclamation points, I figure we are looking at a cool 70,000 for the final word count. I have no idea how many pages this will be, but there will be enough pretty photos in it to keep you interested.
Earlier this morning I had a nice chat on the phone with ‘my editor’. I love saying ‘my editor’.
His job is to make sure I actually write the book and he has the power to pass or fail me at the end of the school year (May 2012) if I do not listen and learn from all the advice he is giving me. Failing is not an option because I am still afraid of my Mother and her large collection of wooden spoons.
After our chat on the phone I reviewed my notes and lined up all the comments, so as to make sure I would incorporate all his advice into my next batch of writing. Now before you go all ‘oh, here she goes all bragging etc’ I just want to make a little statement.
I am in college to learn how to write. Many people are natural born writers that never need to go to school to learn how to write. I envy them. It has taken me almost forty years to come to terms with the fact that writing is all I want to do. And now you know I am old.
Here’s what the editor had to say:
‘Your story is compelling and interesting‘
This is a relief to me because he is a dude from Dublin. My target audience is a female one, so I like knowing a manly man like Eoin can read the book and find it interesting.
‘You are presenting your story very well and you have a fairly good shot of having this be picked up with interest from a few publishers‘
This is so nice to hear and the exact words any emerging author wants to hear. Am I right? I am hell bent on self-publishing. T’is my first book. I am a control freak.
‘Drop in another section like your ‘Larder of love’ . It is so personal and really gives the reader a feel for who you are‘.
I about peed with excitement here because the ‘Larder of love’ is my little introduction at the begining of the book and — squeal – I love it too!
So, yeah, I now have to come up with one or two other fabulous things to ‘drop in’ to the book. I’m on it!
‘You might run into a bit of trouble when it comes to marketing your book because it is straddling the lines of split genres, however, you are doing it very well, so do not change what you are doing right now and we will worry about that later‘.
He is so right. I know it. Haven’t I just told you all about my split personalities? Well, the book is split genres. Attention seeking if you will.
It is straddling the lines of Memoir/Biography AND Lifestyle/Cookbook.
Ah feck it. My teacher told me in first year that he really hated all those people that were young and writing memoirs. How can you write a memoir if you are only 30 and have not even lived yet? He is right. But the Chef & I have crammed an awful lot of living into our first fifteen years together.
Oh, and the last one is about voice, which is what started this whole bloody identity crises blog post to beging with….
‘Watch how you sometimes ‘talk’ directly to the reader. It is working for now, but we need to keep an eye on it‘.
Yes. I know that I do this. This is what happens when you blog. I assume that everyone is sitting there reading my words as I type, nodding their heads and participating as I ramble on. Like when I crack a joke, I can hear the audience laugh.
I so need to get out more. I am such a recluse.
He never once mentioned anything about how I ‘sounded’. I am guessing that I have put that demon to rest and can carryon just being me.
And that’s a wrap for today folks. I am on cloud nine. I feel that I am finding my groove and I already love the look and feel of the book.
10,000 words a month. If I can do it (being a full time student, mum to four and wife to an exceedingly needy husband) then so can you.
What are you waiting for?
All words and images are my own. © 2011.
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I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.
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SHE WRITES, HE COOKS, THE KIDS MAKE A HUGE MESS