Motherly Musings next interview is with author Caurie Miner Putnam.
1) Tell us a bit about the pieces you have in Motherly Musings. What was the inspiration for your work, and do you have any comments or thoughts about your featured work that you would like to share with readers?
My favorite piece I have in Motherly Musings is “The Room That Mattered Most.” It is a compilation of excerpts from my journals about my son Brady Patrick’s medical odyssey during the first three years of his life. Brady has several medical conditions – including a rare neurological condition called Hyperekplexia that can be fatal to a baby during the first two years of their life. My piece is very raw and recalls his numerous heart-breaking hospitalizations during those first two years. Yet it culminates with an optimistic and hopeful ending in the room that mattered most – his first nursery school classroom—a room I sometimes wondered if he would ever see. I hope this piece offers encouragement and support to other parents coping with a child with special medical and developmental needs.
2) How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I can’t remember a time when I was not writing. In fact, I have a cardboard “book” called “Carrots” I wrote with my mother’s help when I was two. Being “a writer” has always been a part of my identity – to me writing is just as important and natural as breathing – it is a part of me.
3) In general, the pieces that appear in Motherly Musings are about parenting, mothers, or children. Does this theme permeate your other writing? What other themes and ideas influence your work?
I have two distinct forms of writing I do. First would be my writing as a journalist. I have worked as a newspaper reporter for Messenger Post and currently am a freelance writer and community blogger for Rochester’s daily newspaper The Democrat & Chronicle. I am also a contributing writer to Rochester Woman Magazine. My pieces as a journalist are obviously about others, but I do tend to gravitate towards stories about extraordinary mothers and women. I love telling other people's stories - it is an honor and privilege.
I also love telling my own life stories – that is my other form of writing. Hemingway said “write what you know” and I live by this. My personal writing has always echoed my life at the time. When I was a teenager my writing focused on the angst of moving from suburban Connecticut to rural upstate New York. In college at the University of Rochester, a lot of my writing focused on my battle with anorexia nervosa. Now, most of my personal writing is about motherhood and single parenting. My personal writing morphs with the changes in my life.
4) What is your greatest challenge as writer?
My greatest challenge as a writer is having the time to put down on paper all the thoughts and ideas running through my mind. I tend to write in my mind first and then when I sit down at the computer everything flows right out without a thought. I will write pieces while I’m swimming laps at the YMCA. I always think I will remember to sit down and “release” them onto paper – but I don’t always have the time and then they float away.
5) What are you reading right now? (Don't be shy--Good Night Moon and People Magazine count! :-)
I’m embarrassed to say that while Faulkner and the Bronte sisters line my bookshelf, at this time about all I read is the Democrat and Chronicle in the morning, a lot of Berenstein Bears throughout the day, and the AP News briefs on my Blackberry at night.
6) Any final thoughts, advice, or comments you'd like to leave our readers with?
You can learn more about me as writer on my writing website and contact me at caurie (at) urgrad.rochester.edu.
Caurie is a busy single mom of two busy boys from Brockport - Brice, 7, and Brady Patrick, 4. A graduate of the University of Rochester, she writes freelance articles and The Brockport Blog for The Democrat and Chronicle. She is also a contributing writer to Rochester Woman Magazine and a former reporter for Messenger Post Newspapers. She also earned a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in eastern Europe.