Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The post where I bare my soul


There are a lot of enquiring minds out there.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the ask-me-anything game which, I think, is the next best thing to opening a bottle of wine together and spilling our guts: think of it as bonding without the calories or the hangover.

I had so many questions that I’m gonna split the answers into two separate posts – makes for easier reading methinks and also lets me off the hook for two topics to write about.

A lot of the questions had to do with my work in the film and television industry. GoMommy at Random Acts of Momness wanted to know my most and least favorite thing about what I do, Abbie at Just as I Am wanted to know the most bizarre thing I have experienced in the industry, Maria at Mommy of Four asked who are some of the coolest people I’ve met, Mama Geek at What Works for Us asked what actor makes me swoon and SkyGirl at Chasing Blue Skies wanted to know who I admire as an actor, director, etc?

First, although I have met a lot of actors I don’t work with them directly on a day-to-day basis like my husband does. I will occasionally visit a set or be at a party and be introduced and perhaps even make some small talk but that’s the extent of it.

Also, I need to be careful about saying too much about things I may have seen or (more often) heard, because the encounters I do have are as a result of my job and I do want to keep my job. How about I just tell two stories about two pleasant encounters with two lovely actors who I really admire to cover the work-related questions, m’kay? Thanks.

When Graham was about 3 months old I took him to a set where Robin Williams was working. Robin came over to admire him and asked me if he was smiling a lot yet and I said Oh yes, he smiles at everything.

So Robin started to coo and pull faces at him, but Graham just stared stone-faced. Then he started doing funny voices, making fart noises – really going all out. Graham just continued to stare with an expression that said clearly, This guy? Not funny. Not funny at all. Robin finally gave up after I assured him Graham was probably just tired.

When Graham was about 11 months old we visited a set where Michelle Pfieffer was working. She came over to coo at him and he was so enthralled he kept slapping me up the side of the head to try and make her laugh. She chided him, “Oh no, don’t hit your mommy” and he responded by head butting me – hard - and laughing uproariously.

Yup – the boy knows what he likes.

Continuing on the movie theme, Amy at Memories and Musings of a Mommy wanted to know if the film I wrote and produced was available on DVD or if it was shown anywhere. No and not really. It is only a 12-minute short and while it had some success on the film festival circuit, it never had a theatrical release or a distributor. One of these days I will put in on Youtube, I promise.

Kay at Kay’s Simple Life asked if I have ever written a book? Yes, have I ever! I have a finished novel, an unfinished novel and two finished screenplays that are currently gathering dust. Know an agent? Send ‘em my way.

Yvette at The Boyd’s Family and Heather at Cool Zebras both had questions about my reading habits. My all-time favorite author is John Irving who wrote The World According to Garp, Son of the Circus and A Prayer for Owen Meany. My most recent favorite was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – I talk about it a little more here.

Heidi at Viking Conquest and Lizzy at Lizzy in The Burbs both asked about my dream travel destination to which I can only answer: Africa.

A Kelly at Transformed by Words asked me about my trip to Africa. I spent a month camping my way through Kenya and Tanzania with Rob in 2000 and it was the most magical thing I have ever encountered. The glorious wildlife, the wonderful people, the breathtaking landscape: it was utterly fascinating. I have promised Graham that he will see lions and elephants in the wild: I started saving to take him back to Africa when I was five months pregnant.

She also wondered: Starbucks or Tim Horton’s? Timmy’s, oh my yes, Timmy’s: I am Canadian.

Linds at The Daily Knack asked about my hobbies. Obviously I love writing, especially blogging. I also love traveling, cooking and flying, which happens to be a great opening for a question posed by Angie at Seven Clown Circus who asked what accomplishment are you most proud of?

There’s my sweet Graham, of course, but I feel he is more a blessing than something I’ve earned so I would have to say my proudest accomplishment is getting my pilot’s license and subsequent float endorsement. As I expressed in what is probably my favorite post ever, it was a tremendous amount of work and very a poignant thing to experience with my dad, an old-time bush pilot.

What I don’t talk about in that post is what Mishelle at Secret Agent Mama asked: What did you think about when you flew your first solo cross-country?

Well, there was absolutely a moment where I thought: Oh my God, what have I done? It was shortly after takeoff from Lindsay, Ontario when I started towards my first stop in Toronto and all I could think was, I either do this or I crash this plane and die. I experienced about 10 seconds of sheer terror before I calmed down and reassured myself that I was fully prepared and equipped to successfully complete the flight. And you know what? I was and I did.

The last question I will tackle today comes from Saralynn who hails from Kooky Kids, plus two(!) other blogs. She wants to know my most embarrassing moment.

Saralynn, you are killing me. Seriously.

Ack, here goes.

On my first job out of journalism school I was running a little community newspaper outside Ottawa. I was full of piss and vinegar and determined to win a Pulitzer with my thorough and searing coverage of local politics.

I worked insane hours for no pay. I had next to no staff. I was already a bit of a burr in the Mayor’s butt when I wrote and approved the following headline describing his reaction to a poorly-attended meeting for a controversial municipal issue:

Mayor Disappointed: No Pubic Input

That’s right. No PUBIC input.

Stop laughing. Stop laughing right now. I have never been so mortified and the damn worst part of it is whenever I try to cry on someone’s shoulder over it they crack up laughing. I vividly remember calling my mother and sobbing that my journalism career was over only to hear the unmistakable sound of muffled laughter on the other end of the phone.

My most embarrassing moment was mentioned on a CBC radio show and went on to be featured in a “crazy headlines” segment or some such thing on The Tonight Show.

Is it any wonder I stick to blogging these days?

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Jennifer @ Fruit of My Hands said...

Yeah, that's pretty embarrassing. LOL.


Rima said...

That is THE BEST headline typo EVER.

GoMommy said...

"No Pubic Input" Wha-ha-ha! So funny! You can laugh now, right?

CUTE stories about Graham and celebrities! I'm a sucker for those!

Amy said...

i really enjoyed this post. it seems you have had a very interesing career.

that slip up with the title is sooo funny. at least you can laugh now!

take care!

Valarie said...

Well, at least you can say your work has been mentioned on the Tonight Show thanks to your most embarassing moment.
This was a great post!

tommie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I love the way you compared it as to sharing over a bottle of wine.....I have shared wine with most of my lifelong friends! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Your work must be really interesting since you get to meet a lot of interesting people. Anyway, yeah, stick to blogging. We will get to hop to your blog whenever we like and read all the interesting things you have to say.

Lisa said...

I was gone all weekend & missed the whole Q&A session - fun to read the answers though :)

Janice @ Mom On The Run said...

I'm so envious! It sounds as though you lead a very rich (as in full life!

Karen MEG said...

Great stories, DMD, but your last one takes the cake. But you must admit, it's pretty amazing that it was featured on CBC radio and the Tonight show. Hey, take the fame however you can get it right? Sorry, LMAO ;)

KathyLikesPink said...

Very interesting post, I look forward to the next one!

I am a church secretary - shortly after I took on the job I was talking with an elderly parishoner. She told me the funniest thing the previous secretary had done was typo in the church newletter - instead of "shut-ins" she wrote - you can probably guess..."$h!t-ins". Ever since I heard that, I use the word "homebound" instead!

Claremont First Ward said...

I really, really enjoyed this. Especially the No Pubic input. I'm still rolling. Rolling. Especially since I can see Leno highlighting it. I used to work in the Entertainment Industry in Post Production sound. I can firmly say I am no longer enthralled by actors/actresses. :) Human, just like you and me. Only shorter. ha ha.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I loved this post! Definitely entertaining and I love the headline. Too, too funny!

Rachel said...

I am loving reading these. So interesting.
Can't wait for that YouTube link!!
Great questions and answers.
I swear I am not snickering over that No Pubic Input. Promise.

JCK said...

I think I remember that headline typo. Or maybe it is just that I can imagine Jay Leno reading it! These answers made for an interesting post!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

World According To Garp. Best. Book. Ever.

Are You Serious! said...

♥ Thoser were great to read!

kari and kijsa said...

Okay- This entire post made our day...we are off to crazy schedules with a giggle on our lips...and will be chuckling throughout the day...best headline blunder ever! Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed every word!!

kari & kijsa

OHmommy said...

You are so interesting. I can't wait to talk.

The typo? Hysterical. Oh man, what a great way to start the day! LOL.

Can't wait for the next installment.

kay said...

oh man that's a classic!

thanks for the answers. can't wait to read the rest of them!

Cecily R said...

First of all, I'm sorry I am so behind and didn't get to ask you a question. Everyone else asked such great ones though, you didn't need me.

GREAT post! You are so cool, I might be a little cool just for reading...maybe.

The headline typo, um that is awesome. Sorry, but I did laugh. A lot. And being on Headlines on the Tonight Show? Brilliant.

oda41143 Missy said...

First, I'm sorry to laugh, but the pubic story is the funniest thing ever and we must be twins because I thought only things like that happen to me. Second, I am so honored that someone so smart reads my blog. I feel honored!! I love all of the accomplishements you have achieved. Your sweet boy Graham is one lucky little kid to have such a brilliant mother :) I visited Canada once, I went to Niagara Falls :) Beautiful.

Mary said...

Oh man! What a headline! Too funny!

Very interesting post! I enjoyed it :)

Kyla said...

No Pubic Input! I am CRACKING up. Thanks for the very first laughter of my day. :)

Llama Momma said...

Oh, this stuff is good. I may have to come back and read it again, just in case I missed something...

Kat said...

This was a fab post! I learned so much about you that I didn't know.
Love your boy's reaction to the celebrities. HA!
And yes. That IS embarassing. And funny.

dawn klinge said...

Your are such a fascinating person. I enjoyed this post so much and I'm still laughing (sorry) but that is a really funny story about the headline. I read it and started laughing and now my daughter wants to know what I'm laughing about and I'm going to have to make something up ;)

John-Michael said...

To your "Is it any wonder I stick to blogging these days?" ... I reply that I am delighted, and my life is blessed daily, with the fact that you do.

Melissa said...

Sorry to chuckle at your embarresing moment...espesally since you heard nothing but chuckles. Thanks for all of the anwsers!

E said...

It's nice to know that there are real people behind all these anon blogs.
You would be very fun woman with whom to share a long chatty dinner....

mamatulip said...


That's hilarious!!

AutoSysGene said...

OMG that is hysterical!! I'm sure the Mayor disliked you even more after that article. I'm just sayin ;)

Beth Cotell said...

Please tell Graham that I don't find Robin Williams funny either. Never have. Probably never will.

And "A Prayer for Oweny Meany" is one of my favorite books.

caramama said...

Loved this post! Thanks for sharing all those things about yourself and your work. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh I feel your pain - and embarrassment ;-) I'm a technical writer and editor . . . I had the privilege of editing every single white paper for out national conference, which included biographies of all the speakers . . . one of whom is apparently a Certified Pubic Accountant.

ACK! Not quite as wide-spread as yours, but really, I STILL haven't lived that down ;-)

Great post - it's fun to learn about other people we meet on the web!

Anonymous said...

I love asking questions, especially when the answers are this much fun. And your most embarrassing moment? What great publicity for you really, right? No? Oh, okay then.
I like John Irving too, I think (I'm pretty sure...) my favourite is The Cider House Rules... But the thing about John Irving's books that always stands out for me is the recurring elements - like the bears... What's with all the bears?
Thanks for a great post.

Jennifer said...

Um, so, this is the part where I (lie) tell you I'm not laughing at all? *snicker*. I love it.

Also, hey! I spent a few weeks camping in Kenya and Tanzania myself. I tell people that once Africa is in your heart, she will never leave. I know you know what I mean. Ah, Africa.

Anne B. said...

Wow... you are the only person that I know who actually liked Son of the Circus. I am not alone. Yah. :-)

One of the first articles that I had published in a magazine format had a typo in the first line. It referred to a venue as The Stand instead of Strand. I was sooooo mad at myself.

The month after I quit a monthly that I slaved (oops, I meant worked) for, they ran a headline on a story about a few local rappers that read: Raping with the Big Boys. EEEEEK.

Kellan said...

I wrote a post once about how I have never met anyone famous - and I haven't. It's so fun to hear that you have and do.

I think you earning a pilot's lisence is amazing and very impressive! I'm very afraid of flying and heights - I don't think I could do it, but it is so cool!

That headline was definitely classic - sorry it happened to you. Take care and have a good evening. Kellan

Corey~living and loving said...

What a fun post. Learning so much about you.

my hubby is learning to fly, and I have told him I won't fly with him. It makes him sad, but I am terrified of dying in that small plane and leaving my daughter behind. eeekkkk

Michelle Olsen Sasak said...

That is a great headline typo. I laughed so hard when I read it, however...if it had been me who did that, I'd cry too.

Zoe said...

i'm so jealous over the africa trip i can barely speak.

contemporary themes said...

I couldn't help laughing, roaring actually about the "no pubic input." My first year of teaching, I was reading out loud to a group of 8th graders. It was an article for earth day. I read, "orgasm" instead of "organism" but the funny thing is I didn't even catch myself. The whole room just busted up laughing, and then no one would tell me what I'd done. Finally, one boy who was sitting in the back of the room blurted out, "Ms. S, you said ORGASM!" I wanted to fall to the floor in complete humiliation. I thought it was all over. BTW, when I was in 8th grade I had no idea what an orgasm was!!!

This is my 19th year teaching, and they STILL KNOW way more than I do about such issues!

So, your story reminded me of that!

Also, I spent 10 weeks in West Africa. Yes. It's magical and lovely and life altering!

Brittany said...

What a great thing! That was so fun to learn about you!!! :) I might steal this idea... Not that I lead an exciting life, but this was really fun! :)

krissy said...

You are quite possibly the most interesting person I know and the most determined as well! Geesh!

My biggest accomplishment was becoming Vice President of the PTO and I hate it now!

Note to self: Get off lazy butt and follow in the steps of Don Mills Diva!

And you can cry on my shoulder about your most embarrassing moment! I swear (giggle, giggle), I won't (giggle, giggle) laugh at you (giggle, giggle)! Anytime someone says the word "pubic" I have to laugh! Sorry!

painted maypole said...

Robin Williams? I would have laughed. ;)

Amy said...

I love all your answers, and you most embarrassing moment is a classic.

I will be waiting patiently for the 12 minuted short on YouTube.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Oh my gosh! I love, love, love this post, thanks so much.
The star stories were pretty cute, but I am so cracking up at your embarrassing moment. sorry.

SaraLynn said...

When I stop laughing I will leave a better reply......

Heather said...

I need to keep going on my book, but it just isn't happening lately. Grrr. How did you get all that written? Must have been BC. Before child.

I enjoy John Irving's books too. I haven't read The World According to Garp yet though. I guess I should. I just read A Prayer for Owen Meany a month or two ago. I read The Cider House Rules before I saw the movie and (as usual) liked the book much better.

Lest you think I forgot...TEE HEE HEE! Yep, laughing at you. PUBIC. That's hilarious.

LunaNik said...

Ok, so being a new reader and all, and not knowing much about you, I have to say that I totally loved this post! It was really interesting!!