Ten Things

 Because I always love reading things like this about other writers, here are ten interesting, strange, and (not too) embarrassing things about me. All in the name of showing readers that we authors are JUST LIKE YOU. Only a little nuttier in the headspace.

1. I’ve done most all of my writing wrapped in a fluffy orange bathrobe. The “fluffy” part is just to make it sound lovelier than it really is. It’s really just orange. But it is super soft and warm. I need warmth because if it’s winter, our house is cold and the robe helps. If it’s summer, then the air in our upstairs (former attic-space) bedroom is stifling if we don’t crank the AC, and I happen to have an air vent right under my desk, so I freeze. Hence the ever-present robe.

2. I do most of my writing in the dark, early morning hours. I haven’t always been this way. When I had only one child and she took a regular 2+ hour nap every afternoon, I’d write then. But as she grew and that guaranteed writing window decreased, I had to find a new plan. My husband suggested I try early morning. After all, that’s when he fit his exercise in, so why shouldn’t I try it? I scoffed, laughed, and humph’ed, then tried it. And it stuck. Coffee is the only thing that makes it work. I also try to write a little the mornings my youngest is in preschool, but during those precious 12 (soon to be 20 when she starts going 5 days a week!) hours a week, I also try to do other things like clean my house, wash some clothes, take an unhurried shower, exercise, etc. Important things. (I occasionally go to the library on a Saturday afternoon to write. I don’t wear the bathrobe then.)

3.   I may have mentioned this in a blog post, but it bears repeating. I have an unhealthy fear of and distaste for roaches. There. Enough said about that.

4.  I write a monthly column in The Homewood Star, a hyperlocal newspaper that serves our community of Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, AL. I’ve been writing it since 2011. I’ve written about all kinds of things–my kids (a lot), snakes, writing, faith, how hard it is to be a parent, funny things that happen on the way home from the beach after six hours in the car when you run out of your supplies of milk and goldfish. Important things. 

5.  While I’ve been told that I look to be anywhere from 25 to “in your 30s,” my youngest daughter seems to think I could pass for much, much older. While kneeling in front of her to brush her teeth, she said something funny and I raised my eyebrows. She burst out laughing, pointed to my forehead, and said, “You look just like a grandma!” Then she said, “Do it again!” to which I sweetly said, “Thanks but no thanks.” She pulls this “Grandma” stuff a little too often for my taste.

 6.   My family harbors a bordering-on-unhealthy obsession with Cheez-its. At first it was just me, my mom, and my brother, but we’ve spread the love to my husband and my brother’s wife. Obviously our kids love them too. We don’t go on any trip out of town (especially to the beach) without multiple boxes. Bonus points for Reduced Fat. NOT because of the reduced fat, but because they are crispier. It’s a fact.

 7.  I win things. Not all the time, but probably more often than your average contest enterer. It started with a Colgate Brightest Whitest Smile contest back in college. How I heard about this, I have no idea. It was the year 2000, maybe 2001. I didn’t read blogs then or really even look at the internet all that much. I think I basically emailed a little, and that’s it. But somehow, I heard about this contest, and it had some nice prize, so I entered. I didn’t win the grand prize, but I did win a new tube of toothpaste. Since then, I’ve won a bouncy house for my daughter’s birthday, a set of notebooks, a Twitter query critique contest (see How It All Went Down), a photo session with a local photographer (hello Christmas card), and a lovely little novel through a Twitter raffle. There are more, but I can’t remember them. My husband probably can. He thinks it’s wacky that I keep winning little contests, but I keep entering them because I think, “Well, it’s happened before…”

 8.  My parents probably should have named me Laura. If I had a dollar for every time someone has responded to one of my emails with a, “Hi Laura,” my children’s 529 would be fully funded. Almost. I’m serious though. When they direct their emails to this mystery Laura, it’s always in response to an email I sent where I very clearly signed off as Lauren. I’m convinced there’s something about the human eye or brain that likes Laura better and automatically changes Lauren to Laura. It didn’t happen when I was younger–it’s just been with email. So, basically, for the last fifteen years, I’ve been Lauren/Laura. It’s so incredibly common though that I tell my husband every time it happens. In fact, if you are perusing this site and think I sound like a neat gal and decide you want to comment or send me an email, doublecheck, because chances are you’ve directed your message to Laura, my alter ego. (I’m sure she’s nice, but she’s just not me.)

 9.  I’m a terrible scrambled egg-maker. I know, I know–how hard is it to make scrambled eggs, right? But trust me. If you’re up against my husband, who is a really great maker of scrambled eggs, you’ll know you’re not very good. When we have breakfast for dinner, he’s the egg maker, I’m the pancake maker. (I burn bacon too.)

 10.  And now the best part. These are the books that stand out in my mind as my all-time favorites. Really good ones come along here and there and move up in the list, but these are tried and true, ones I never hesitate to recommend, ones I go back to again and again.

–The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
–The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
–Walking Across Egypt, Clyde Edgerton
–As Hot As It Was, You Ought to Thank Me, Nanci Kincaid
–The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
–Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
–The Sarah Agnes Prine Trilogy, Nancy Turner
–Gilead–Marilynne Robinson

Honorable Mentions: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter; The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple; Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, both by Rainbow Rowell; The House at Riverton by Kate Morton; The Water is Wide and My Losing Season, both by Pat Conroy; The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach; Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon.