My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Interview with Jody Mace, humor writer extraordinaire

Okay, readers, I am so thrilled, so delighted, so honored to begin the first of my series of writer interviews. To follow is an interview with my hilarious and brilliant writer friend, Jody Mace. Please check out her site and her blog and look for her work. You'll be amazed because you'll begin to see her work in many places, always good and chronically funny. She's particularly inspiring to me because of her freelancing status. So, folks, give it up for....JODY MACE!

1. Briefly describe your freelancing career and tell us why you chose that
path for your career.

I majored in computer science in college and I worked for about 8 years as a
software developer. During that time, I always felt like I was neglecting a
vital part of myself. (A clue: I had a habit of putting clever and
subversive comments in the programs!) When I had my second child, I quit my
job because the company I worked for wouldn't give me enough (unpaid) time
off so that I could nurse my baby. In retrospect, that was the best thing
that happened to me. I started to write, at first just for my own amusement,
and my friends' amusement. Then I started submitting, and selling, essays to
places like Mothering and Brain,Child. I started to think that there was
hope of actually doing it professionally!

2. Tell us the most exciting project you've ever worked on, and some goals
you have for future projects.

Getting two essays into O Magazine was super exciting! However, I'm still
waiting on the invitation to Oprah's guest house. Another project that was
really fun was a piece I did for Wondertime. It was in their June issue. I
wrote about a room in our basement that we turned into an "invention room"
for our son. He keeps all kinds of recycled materials (aka "crap") down
there and he's always constructing things. Some of them are scary. They sent
a photographer down here and they took a million pictures of the room and of
Charlie. I loved that through the words and the pictures we were able to get
across how creative and cool Charlie is, and how it's important to set some
space aside for kids to be imaginative in, and to mess up. The best part is
that I got a lot of emails from people who read the article, saying that
they were going to make a similar space for their kids. I don't think it
matters how big or elaborate the space is. It's just magical when kids can
really focus on their imaginations, rather than whether they're spilling
paint on the carpet.

3. Give some advice to writers who would like to write humor.

Much of what I write is humor. I hate to say this, but part of it is just
thinking funny thoughts. If you're the kind of person who is in church or a
funeral and has a thought that cracks you up and that you can't wait to tell
your friend or husband, and then you find yourself biting your lip to just
get through the service...then you can probably write humor. Are things
funny to you? Humor isn't funny when it's forced. You've got to crack
yourself up first. Some actual advice: it's funnier to make fun of yourself
than to make fun of other people. Also, you know how people say, when
something bad is happening, "This will be funny later"? No. It's funny now!
Enjoy the fact that life is funny. Also, let yourself be weird. If there's a
weirdo inside yourself let her/him out. Let him drive the car. (The
metaphoric car. Don't let the weird drive your real car.)

4. Make up your own question and answer it.

Q: Do you have an agent?

A: No, I don't! If you're a literary agent and you'd like to represent a
writer who is writing really funny stuff for kids, give me a call.

Thank you, Jody, and thank you, readers, for joining me for the first in a series of interviews with successful writers. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


Dorothy said...

Nice idea to have the interviews. Jody is a stitch. So glad I had a chance to watch the two of you hold forth at last fall's SCBWI Bakers Dozen dinner.

Brenda said...

Hi, Donna:

I love this idea! I enjoyed reading your first writer interview, and I'll go to Jody's site and see what's there also. Donna, your blog is getting better and better, you've added so much to it. Great work!

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman