Monday, November 1, 2010

Today's Q&A Author: Marijke Vroomen-Durning

Today, I answer my own Q&A for the anthology Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart. It does feel kind of odd! By the way, if you would like to know how to say my name, it’s not too difficult: It’s a Dutch name. Phonetically, my name is said muh-rye´-kah/keh. Sort of. Kind of. Well, you get the drift.
How long have you been writing essays?
I’ve been writing personal pieces for years off and on, but essays in particular are a relatively new venture for me. I started about four or five years ago fiddling around with them seriously.
When and where was your first essay published?

This is it! I've been published many times as a health and medical writer and a couple of times outside of the niche, but this is my first published essay.

How did it feel when you discovered your essay had been chosen for inclusion in this book?

I have to explain that, at first, I didn’t know my essay had been selected. I thought we were going to get an email telling us, but a list was published in our newsletter. Because I skimmed the list, I didn’t see my name. So that sort of validated that my essay wasn’t good enough – or so I thought. A while later, I went and reread the list and, oops! There I was. I was thrilled and a bit embarrassed about my defeatist reaction of a bit earlier.

My feelings had changed from “I knew it wouldn’t be picked,” to “OH MY!!!” It likely included an impromptu very badly done jig and multiple phone calls to anyone who would answer the phone that day.

Tell us a bit about the essay published Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart. What is it about and why did you write it?

This essay was about my oldest child, then just shy of 21 years old, moving out of the house. He had decided to share an apartment with a friend. I wasn’t sad about him leaving. I was kind of excited for him because I remember what it’s like to strike out on  your own. After all, this is what we, as parents, work towards, right? It also went a bit further than just my son though. It made me realize that we still continue to do for our children as my mother-in-law continued to do for us.

Had you tried the essay market before?

I guess you could say I have. I sent out this essay and a few others for consideration. I did receive good feedback for this one and one other in particular, but I never did seem to hit the right home for them.

What does it mean to you to be published in this anthology?

{insert Sally Fields’ incredulous voice} You like me, you really like me! Seriously though, it meant so much to me. I’ve seen my name more times than I can remember related to my professional writing and I still enjoy that, but to see my name published on a piece that I put my heart into, that’s a different feeling all together. And to be published with some of the other authors in this book, that’s just something else. I’m thrilled.

This publication proves to me that not only can I write my professional stuff, but I can be creative and evoke specific feelings from people through my words.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with someone who says "I don't have anything to write about."?

It’s the cliché, don’t give up. Some of the best essays I’ve ever read were about very normal, every day things that normally we wouldn’t think about a second time. There’s something about the event or the time that strikes a chord though.
I think what I learned is not to start out being serious, funny, poignant, whatever. Just write. Once you’ve written it, then you can see what sort of tone the essay is taking and then run with it.

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