Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny by Lucy Adams

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing my recent interview of Lucy Adams, syndicated columnist and author of "If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny."
I recently had the pleasure of reading this book. ANY parent can relate to the funny stories Lucy shares. From children walking through interesting showers, tales of dining out that sound all too familiar, and musings about just how much paint is left in that spray can is directly proportional to whether it is being sprayed on an appropriate surface, Lucy has a gift of finding the funny in the every day!

Lucy took time out of her busy schedule. Four kids, teaching, writing-it makes me tired thinking about it, so I asked her about that and other things on my mind. Here's what she had to say-

1. Wife, mother of FOUR (bless you!), syndicated columnist and teacher. Where did you find the time to write the book?

For months on months, my husband supported me by giving me one free night a week. When I got home from work on those days, I went straight to my computer and started typing. He took care of everything else - dinner, getting kids to their activities, homework help, etc. Those blocks of undisturbed time in which to focus were priceless.

2. I noticed that each story in the book is two pages? Designed for busy moms or happy accident?

Most of the stories in the book originally appeared in my weekly newspaper column, which is about 600 words in length. That happens to also equal about two pages in book format. Two pages is about all a busy mom can read before someone comes knocking on the bathroom door asking if she's seen his dooma-flitchie and could she help him find it if she hasn't. And, yes, he believes it is an emergency.

Not design. Not accident. Definitely fate.

3. In reading the stories, I get the sense that each of your sons is wise beyond his years. Did they get that wit from you, your husband, or both?

My children come by their quick wit from my husband and myself. We seldom miss an opportunity to find humor in a situation or turn a play on words. Our home is a safe place to practice humor. They know we'll take it well, and they are usually rewarded with a laugh.

4. There were quite a few laugh out loud stories in the book. Your 7 year old (Mr. Outside the Box) and the plans to temporarily liberate the quarters from the video game to be able to play was priceless. The amount of spray paint in the can story also had me nodding knowingly. When life happens, are you there thinking "this will make a good story", or does that come later?

Usually, the story comes later, when I've had a chance to gain some perspective on the event. Most of the time, in the course of life's ups and downs, I find myself figuring out how to survive from one moment to the next, not composing a story. But, I do have paper and pen with me at all times and when something strikes me as humorous, odd, peculiar, or off-center, or even disconcertingly familiar, I write it down for future use.

5. Are your kids willing to rat each other out for the purpose of Mom writing it down, or does the child who provide writing fodder beg for you not to commit it to print?
My two older boys and my daughter don't give their own behavior or each other's much thought in terms of whether or not I might write about them. It's more about who wronged who and how can they spin it in order to have me render severe justice to the offending sibling. My youngest son, Mr. Outside-the-Box (he's 9 now), on the other hand, is another case. I recently had to sit him down and make it very, very clear that I do not want him to do things just to see if I will write about him in the newspaper. Any gray hair I have is due to him.

Generally, my kids can't predict what I'll write about, anyway. So much happens in a week, heck, in a single day, that there's a hundred options for one story. And often, what someone else thinks would make a good column is not at all what I would choose to write.

6. Do you find you can barter and get them to do something to avoid being written about? With mine, if I take pictures of their messy rooms and threaten to put them on the blog, they clean. However, a book and column are permanent!

That might work with my 13 year-old son, but the others rather enjoy the attention. I think even the 13 year-old only half-heartedly protests. They like flipping through If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny and reading snapshots from their lives. It sort of makes up for their incomplete baby books. I picture them taking it to their therapists someday as indisputable evidence that I warped them.

7. For the longest time, I couldn't get a good professional picture with two kids. Have you been successful with four?

There's a story in If Mama Don't Laugh ("Picture Day!," p. 4) about just that very thing. I took Say-Some-Evil, See-Some-Evil, Do-Some-Evil, and Tattle-Some-Evil to the photographer's studio and, well . . . I'll let you read for yourself how that turned out.

8. And totally out of left field- If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?

It's so odd that you should ask this question. I was just talking to my husband about this last night. (It wasn't him I was trying to change. I like him most of the time just the way he is, and the times that I don't like him, I forgive him.)

Since I think it is impossible to change the busyness in my life, I won't say that. The one thing I would change is how I earn my money. I would be a full-time writer. But, I couldn't change that without starting a chain reaction of events that would affect my entire family, not just me. So for now, I'll keep writing during those slivers of "between time" that I manage to find here and there.

Thank you, Lucy, for stopping by New Sue Review on the If Mama Don't Laugh Blog Tour. I am glad for the opportunity to read the book (and revisit my favorites) and share my conversation with you with everyone.

If those taxes have got you in a funk, I suggest visiting Lucy's blog. Better yet, visit Amazon to buy yourself a copy of "If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny" and read a few excerpts-you'll be laughing in no time.
And the winner of the "If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny" Hat is:
Rock City!
True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 5 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

RockCity said...

Whenever my daughter announces she has to go potty!
April 11, 2009 6:53 AM

Congratulations, Rock City!

1 comment:

  1. Very fun interview - I enjoyed reading it :)