Me: Welcome, Ron.
Ron: I'm delighted to be with you, Miranda. Thanks for inviting me.
Me: Why don't you tell everyone where or how we met?
Ron: Well, I was minding my own business as I crossed a bridge, and you suddenly popped out and demanded a toll! Or maybe we met when we worked together while we were both living in Los Angeles, "a few years ago." It wasn't long after I started that we began to click and became friends. For me (and perhaps for you, too) living in SoCal offered its challenges to a guy who loved Chicago and a woman who was constantly in an Oregon State of Mind. Though we both eventually moved back to our respective "emotional" homes, we've remained close friends. You were an unexpected and greatly appreciated gift from the City of Angels.
Me: You're just as much of a gift... like the kind you give to Goodwill the next day. (kidding!) But seriously. I'm still waiting on that toll.
|Ron & I during one of my visits to Chicago|
Ron: I publish my blog, The Xanax Diary, weekly. I've always felt a compulsion to write and journal, and started the blog as a coping mechanism to help me deal with the terminal cancer diagnosis of my husband, Ken in 2010. It was also a good way to share how I was feeling without having to repeat the same thing on the phone multiple times during his illness and after to loving family or friends (including you). He died on June 1, 2011. I'll be taking a three-month leave of absence from my job beginning on--poignantly enough--June 1, 2012 to focus on writing.
I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo in 2010 that is about a dysfunctional family who happen to be witches. I'd like to get a decent draft of--or at least get a better logline for that. I also recently started a series of short stories about a "fallen cupid" that I'm really enjoying. I'm curious to see where these will lead me. I'd like to say I'll be able to write a book about Ken and our experiences over the last couple years of his life, but I'm not sure I have the emotional distance needed to pull that off. But I'm constantly making notes about it. So, who knows? Three months to do nothing but feed the writing beast. I'm excited! (and a little scared.)
Me: I'm excited for you! But not scared. I know you're going to make amazing use of this time. So, If you had to name just three, what are your biggest writing influences?
Ron: Oddly enough, television was probably my biggest writing influence. I watched a ton of it as a kid and started writing some horrible television shows combining my two obsessions: scifi and soap opera, but at least it got me started. Years later, I studied improv at Second City here in Chicago and I learned a lot about writing and "beats" in scenes and how they work to give it "punch" at the right time. In terms of authors, David Sedaris was probably the first author whose books I purchased serially as they were released. I hadn't really ever read essays before I read him, and it really changed my opinion about non-fiction and helped me form my voice. Many of my blogs are a little "weighty" in detailing my life's journey with grief after losing Ken, but I've also written humorous ones, and I plan to write more of them. Life can be some serious business--as you well know, but I think you also know that laughter and humor play a huge part of who I am.
Me: Wow. Those are good influences. And I have for sure blown coffee or pop out of my nose at one of your blogs.
Since I'm sure your sabbatical from work is going to allow your writing career to take off and you'll get to quit and be a multi-millionaire... If we did this again next year, tell me three things you'd like to be true. They can be things that are true now, or things that you hope are true for the future.
Ron: A year from now...hmmmmmm...I would want to be a working, published writer (I don't need to be a millionaire by then because I think it would take a little longer... like a year-and-a-half or so). I would like to have a good draft of a book about Ken and his inspiring attitude, and if you and I are doing this again, I hope it's in person...with cocktails..in Hawaii!
Me: Deal! Hell, let's go now. Speaking beaches...Are you planning any big reads during your time off?
Ron: I don't read nearly enough, and I have a ton of books on my kindle that I want to read. During my sabbatical I plan to make time for it. I just haven't made enough time for it. I'm currently reading Kristen Johnston's (tall blond from "3rd Rock from the Sun") memoir about her addictions, and it's surprisingly hilarious. (I hope it's supposed to be!) Perhaps I'll read a little something you're working on? Hmmmm...?
Me: Oh boy, I hope you're not in stitches over a Mommy Dearest style memoir! And you know you can totally read what I'm working on. On that note, any parting comments for the Blog Me MAYbe readers?
Ron: Blog on, writing brothers and sisters! I think the blogging community is a pool full of brave, talented people. Thanks for including me, Miranda.
Me: Thank you for coming on my blog.
I've included several links to Ron's kick-ass blog, The Xanax Diary. I highly recommend it. And keep an eye out for him, because this star is truly rising.