Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Day Three Book By Monica Drake

by @thewritermama on May 3, 2013 · 22 comments

I am thrilled to welcome critically acclaimed author, Monica Drake, to the giveaway.

One thing that sticks with me about Monica is what a great teacher she is. I participated in a session she gave at Jessica Morrel’s winter workshop last year and I remember having several aha moments in one short sitting, while working on some of her personal writing exercises.

Thank you for helping me welcome Monica!

Introducing Monica Drake

Monica Drake is the author of the indie hit novel, Clown Girl, which was optioned for film by Kristen Wiig of SNL and Bridesmaids fame. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review Daily, The Sun, The Northwest Review, Oregon Humanities and other publications. She’s currently Chair of the new BFA in Writing at the Pacific NW College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about Monica at http://monicadrake.com.

Learn about The Stud Book: A novel from Hogarth Press April 2013

A sharp-edged satire of contemporary motherhood from a comic novelist on the rise.

In the hip haven of Portland, Oregon, a pack of unsteady but loyal friends asks what it means to bring babies into an already crowded world.

Sarah studies animal behavior at the zoo. She’s well versed in the mating habits of captive animals, and at the same time she’s desperate to mate, to create sweet little offspring of her own.

Georgie is busy with a newborn, while her husband, Humble, finds solace in bourbon and televised violence.

Dulcet makes a living stripping down in high school gyms to sell the beauty of sex-ed.

Nyla is out to save the world while having trouble saving her own teen daughter, who has discovered the world of drugs and the occult.

As these friends and others navigate a space between freedom and intimacy, they realize the families they forge through shared experience are as important as those inherited through birth.

I asked Monica three questions about our giveaway’s theme topic, self-expression:

1. Is self-expression an important part of your life today, why or why not?

Self-expression is important to me–crucially so–though it’s possible that when you pose the question and when I answer it, we’re talking about two different things. As I see it, it’s not about expressing some inner self over and over again, as though pulling endless scarves from a hat, a magic trick, neverending. It’s more about processing the world, making sense of it, and putting those thoughts–generated in conversation with everyone and everything–back out into the stream of ideas, perceptions. So it’s “self-expression,” but only when the self is in conversation with others.

2. What does self-expression mean to you and how do you do it in the world?

I may have answered this a bit in the first question. To me, self-expression is in relation to the world beyond the self. It’s not narcissistic, I would hope, but rather conversational, and an invitation to others to express their own views, ideas, or angle on the world. I hope it to be a permissive thing, granting others permission to tell stories, and to show what they find both terrifying and delightful in the world.

I express myself in writing, of course. But that tends to involve a long, steady stride, while thoughts come in quick moments. A novel can take years. My first novel took ten years, the second took six. Essays and stories come together a little more quickly, but still not as fast as thoughts. So in between I blog a bit, and blurt on places like Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr, as a way of connecting, finding feedback and insights, while keeping the longer pace and more private process of building a novel going alongside those shorter, public comments, jokes or inquiries. And I take photos. I’m not a photographer, not by any means, but like everyone I have a way of looking at the world, and it makes me happy to snap a picture, send it out through social media, or just tuck it aside for later.

3. How does your self-expression impact the world—your family, your friends, your readers, and everyone else?

I hope that when I put my work and ideas out in the world, it fuels the already ongoing conversation, and when I bring my thoughts and experiences to the classroom, I hope it helps build community. I’m sure there are people out there who have heard enough from me. I can be opinionated! I won’t deny it. But I hope that when I put my work and ideas out in the world, and bring my thoughts and experiences to the classroom, it lets my students know that their stories are valuable, even while those stories may be early in process of finding shape. Human experience holds the value we grant it. It’s our job to give our lives meaning. We can do that, in community and in conversation, and I’d say, though writing and reading.

And Now, Your Turn…

You remember how this works right?

Please read the complete rules at least once!

I ask you a question.

You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books).

When you are alone, how do you feel? Who are you when you are alone? What happens when you are alone? Something, nothing, anything?

Ready, set, comment! I will hold the drawing tomorrow and post the results here in my blog.

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway!

And thanks for spreading the word. We will be giving away great books by wonderful women authors all month.

View the complete list of authors and books.

View the giveaway Pinterest board.

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