Friday, July 12, 2013

My Mother Stuttered is Growing Up

When I started my blog "My Mother Stuttered," I was newly divorced and very single. I was writing a novel but still dabbling in all the potential possibilities. It wasn't time for the blog of author, Ellen Harger. In fact, that was unimaginable. In 2008, life was about hiking with my two dogs, driving my Mellow Yellow Mini Cooper, and being Loralie Gilmore when I grew up. 

For this unplanned blog, my number one goal was finding a catchy identity so I dug into my past for a story that helped play up my name, Ellen Lynn. After divorce, I was obsessed with identity. I'd had enough of juggling last names, so I focused on what I deemed to be unfaltering and utterly me.

As I dipped my toe into the blogosphere, I also investigated freelance writing. Turns out, freelance wasn't my gig, and I still didn't know how to categorize myself as a writer. It was a massive improvement that I was actually calling myself a writer. But branding myself? Pishaw. So I went with a catchy title and ambiguous content.

Then in 2010 I returned to MO with the determination to be a published writer. My blog evolved into a more writerly home but was still about the SWF with a Mini named Daisy and two adorable orbiting moons commonly called canines. 

Because I love the story about "my mother stuttered," I've clung to this identity like a blankie. But when I sent my novel baby out into the big bad world, I suddenly had to come out from the shadows with her. See, this isn't an independent human child ready to leave me behind. I have to hold up Strong Enough and tell people about her. And that means, I have to tell you about me. Wait a minute! I thought writers were supposed to be hermits, curmudgeonly and paranoid. Damn it. I need to see the guidance counselor NOW.

<mic feedback - plug ears>

So, um .... Hi! I am Ellen Harger, novelist, wife, and step-mom. These days, I hike less and write more. I'm 39 and still contemplate that whole preggers thing ... once in a while. Much of that contemplation happens on paper. After a few decades of life, imagination has been reinforced with a myriad of experiences. I love to ponder motivation and the infernal WHY?

It's 2013 and a lot of things have changed. Lately I've been considering what this blog is all about. What the hell is my point day in and day out? Yeah, still working on that. But as a fiercely independent woman married to a man with two children, chasing my dreams and finding a voice in my own home, I have a few things to say to the following people:

1) Writers - Let's Talk. On this blog, I will share my journey, plead my trials, and cry in my margarita. But get this - I'll happily share your journeys, too! Let's commiserate and then hoist each other up. All of our mad methods work and you never know when that pinch of winging-it will make the difference for someone else as well. I've written a few "how to" posts and they've done well (two really have because I inadvertently titled them with major double entendres - no seriously, it was accidental). But there are better blogs dedicated to that niche of "how to." So here we'll talk shop like we're friends. We'll share our pain and success. Others will find inspiration in those moments that is meaningful for them. Think of my blog as a really comfy couch .... ooooo, I feel a movie quote coming on. If you can name this movie, you're my new best friend. "I'd like to ger her in therapy, fuck her up real good." 

2) New Step-Parent - Drinks, Anyone? They say that children don't come with manuals. Unfortunately, children of divorce kinda do--it's called "my mom/dad doesn't do it that way." Parents already know their childrens' ticks and tricks. Step-parents have to learn these traits as they deal with the obvious shenanigans the parent-from-birth no longer sees. All this, while being staunchly resisted out of loyalty to the 'real' parents. However, we former bachelor/ettes have something to contribute! True, we have more to learn, but don't disregard us all together. There was a reason our beloveds picked us to join their family. Remember that. Being a step-parent is like crossing a tight-rope suspended in the stratosphere with a tiny bucket of water to aim for in a fall. For a while, I've been scooching along with my legs draped over the rope, clinging on for dear life. But thankfully, the kids have lowered the tight-rope. Now I'll be identifiable when I splat.

3) Readers - Have You Heard? I love to talk with other readers about books, authors, characters, music etc. So please share with me things you think are interesting and I'll do the same. Don't worry, I'll take on the lion share, but I encourage you to contact me. This won't be a review space, though. It takes a special person to do that job. I'll just write and read, k? IF I feel compelled to write a review, I will do so. But I have novels to write and reviewing is a full-time job with no rest for the weary. 'Sides, I have movies to watch so I can insert quotes and giggle maniacally.

As my blog has evolved, I've traded in Daisy for Budah (butter), and I no longer want to be Loralie Gilmore. I'd like to be her friend, though. I'll be the quirky character who talks shop in the dining room of the Dragonfly with the likes of Norman Mailer. I'll be the friend who never got pregnant and has to figure out how to be a parent after years of worrying stictly about my wants. Tune in.