≡ Menu

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

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.

Like this post? Subscribe to my Feed!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sara May 3, 2013, 7:02 am

    When I’m alone, I can be so productive, whipping through projects, delving into the garden, letting myself focus on what I’m doing. It’s rare to be alone these days, and frequently, I spend the beginning of that time overwhelmed with possibilities. So many things to do, things I should do, things I want to do. Sometimes, I just sit and notice the quiet and let my mind go where it will. I love running for that too; I don’t listen to music, just let myself fall into my own rhythm.

  • Sue LeBreton May 3, 2013, 9:03 am

    When I am alone I am searching for connection, to my deeper self, to others, to that creative force. My daughter asked me the other day f I was lonely because I spend so much time alone. Absolutely not was my reply. I can get so caught up in my process when I am alone that I begrudge transitioning out of it. Being alone can be delightful.

  • Nicole S. May 3, 2013, 9:05 am

    When I’m alone, I ultimately get depressed. I try to take the time to relax, but then I feel antsy that I’m not doing enough, and then I beat myself up for not being more productive. So then I start doing things and end up doing more things until I’m totally worn out and have to get ready to see people, when I become exhausted and quiet. Brilliant.

  • Leslie Christine Dixon May 3, 2013, 10:37 am

    Being alone is my great escape. When I’m alone I’m whisked away to my own private world inside my head. I love the silence. I feel creative. It’s an opportunity to think, feel, and express myself without fear of judgement. Walls come down. I can breathe. I get reconnected. When I’m alone I get in touch with myself and rediscover how much I enjoy me!

  • Iriss4me May 3, 2013, 10:46 am

    The peace and quiet of the morning begins curled up with the morning paper, my cup of coffee and the doors and windows open to listen to the sounds of nature rising to join me. But, as soon as my mind and body are awake and functioning, it’s no longer peaceful; I fill the house with music! If the house needs cleaning, then the sounds of rock fill the air. But if I have to concentrate on business, the choices become more tranquil, quiet and calming. I cherish my time when I’m alone…it’s my time and it’s my chance to create my world.

  • Michele Thornton May 3, 2013, 10:48 am

    I’m most at ease when I’m alone. I have grown to accept my introverted nature, and no longer force myself to pretend to enjoy large groups. I do like having conversations one-on-one, or in a small groups of no more than 5.

  • Robert Jakob May 3, 2013, 10:50 am

    When I am alone I’m not necessarily lonely. When I am alone I get the opportunity to explore the inner-verse. The mind has no physical limitations. It is the human connection to God. The more alone we are the closer we become to meeting our inner selves. This was the result of sensory deprivation experimentation done by John Lilly. Only when I am alone do I have time to forget about time. Only when I am alone do I have the unique privilege to be an idealist.

  • Christa Hines May 3, 2013, 10:51 am

    I am a person who definitely needs time alone. When I haven’t had enough time to myself, I’m more stressed, distracted and my thoughts start to jumble. I write better, I’m much more productive and I’m happier when I can carve out peace and quiet in my day. It stresses me out to try and focus when my kids are running circles around me, making requests or fighting with each other and the TV or music is blaring in the background. Even going places that are packed with people can drain me after awhile if I don’t find ways to recoup in solitude. I love hanging out with my family, but I’m a better, more patient mother, wife and person if I can take a little time here and there just for me. And sometimes that means I have to schedule that time into the calendar!

  • Michael Paul Gonzalez May 3, 2013, 11:22 am

    I’m happiest when I’m alone. I can think without distraction, focus on my writing, and get things done. Well, ideally that’s what would happen. Usually I waste a lot of time catching up on social media, tv, games. But I do my best to make the most of what little time I have.

  • Mary Drew May 3, 2013, 11:23 am

    I treasure my time alone. I feel calm and centered. As an introvert, it is essential for me to have time alone, and now that I have raised my children and am single again, I feel so blessed to have as much time alone as I need. When I am alone I am a reader and writer. I go for walks in nature, and feel at peace, whatever might be going on in the rest of my life. What happens is that I can appreciate the beauty of the world around me, and the goodness of the people who live in it, and so earnestly pursue their dreams.

  • barbaramcdowellwhitt May 3, 2013, 12:49 pm

    When I am alone I feel quiet and peaceful. When I am alone I am myself, not the person someone else wants me to be. When I am alone I can be attuned to my own thoughts. I am content in my marriage relationship. However, I cherish those moments, times or days when my husband is away from home.

  • MLTCG May 3, 2013, 1:09 pm

    I don’t feel any differently when I am alone. Most days what you see is what you get regardless of where I am or who I’m with. I’m
    reserved, but not cautious if I feel strongly about an issue. I try to see the good in people around me. I enjoy solitude, it’s my time to mull things over, read, and be at peace with the world. It’s a time to rejuvenate and prepare for what is coming next. Time alone is always productive.

  • Renee Roberson May 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I guess it just depends on how long I’m alone! I enjoy being alone during the week while my kids are at school, for the most part. I can make the phone calls I need to for work and get large chunks of editing and writing done. However, this past weekend, my family went camping without me because I had a social function to
    go to, and I did not like being alone in the house for two nights! I actually became pretty down and was ready for them to come home. I didn’t make any plans with friends beforehand and felt like I should have, so I wouldn’t have felt so isolated. Many writers enjoy alone time, but we also crave human interaction so we don’t begin to wallow!

  • Sandi Haustein May 3, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Being the mom of three boys 8 years and younger, being alone is my sacred place. I protect my alone time fiercely, and thankfully my husband has always been supportive and given me time away when my days didn’t naturally give me the time I needed for reflection and quiet. I love people and being with people, but I crave my time alone to figure out my feelings or to escape in a book. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I don’t even mind eating out by myself. I never have.

  • Krystyann Krywko May 3, 2013, 3:50 pm

    When I am alone I feel like myself. I feel like I can finally take a breath without having to respond to the needs of others. I love when my husband backs the car out of the driveway and I wave good-bye to the kids on the bus. But by the time 3:00 rolls around I am ready to stop being alone and to welcome the busyness back into my life. When I alone it’s a time for me to recharge and dig deeper for what I want out of life. I very rarely have the need to connect to others at this time – I am happiest reading and writing when I am alone.

  • Alice May 3, 2013, 4:15 pm

    When I’m alone, the noise of the world goes away and I can focus on what it means to be me. I can tap into my creativity and explore the stuff that gets clogged up in my brain every day. I can enjoy the quiet and truly dive into a great book to read.

  • Ellen Hall Saunders May 3, 2013, 5:39 pm

    Even though in some ways I am an extrovert and benefit from being around people, I savor my moments alone. As a mom who stayed home for over 20 years, I never had much time completely by myself. So when I am alone I relish the quiet, the uninterrupted conversation in my head. I love the ability to fly through tasks, or to drift completely. I am alone much more now that the kids are grown, but I still value the time when I don’t have to think of anyone but myself and what I want to do.

  • DebraMarrs May 3, 2013, 8:51 pm

    When I’m alone, I feel great! I hear myself better. I treasure any time alone so I can be introspective and truly feel out who I am, hear what I’m thinking, and act on what I want to do. I can sit for hours alone and do nothing. I enjoy the quiet spaces to write, read, reflect, and remember. Through remembering, I conjure up stories that are a mix of what really happened and some make-believe, and from that place, have entertained myself for hours. Now that you mention it, I’m due for some of that alone time tomorrow!

  • Mar Junge May 3, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I’m no different alone that I am when I’m with others. Physically
    I’m rarely alone, as both my husband and I work from home. But mentally, we’re in our own worlds. When we want to get the other’s attention, we email each other. And this is in a 1500 sq. ft. house. One thing that does change when my husband’s away is that I never turn on the TV or radio. I can go for weeks in the silence, whereas he finds background noise comforting. I also don’t cook when I’m
    home alone. Or call anyone. I relish the quiet because it’s so conducive to writing. When I write, I’m never alone. I saw a T-shirt that said, “Bookworms never go to be alone.” So true!

  • Rebecca May 3, 2013, 10:52 pm

    Being alone sometimes is definitely something I need. I usually feel one of two ways. Either relaxed and at ease or my depression can set in and being alone can start me on a spiral effect. I try to be productive though to ward off the spiral effect. Though I do like my alone down time so I can read uninterrupted. Reading and getting sucked is my greatest escape. If I can be productive or read then I’m in a good mood. If its one of things where I’m waiting and I’m alone than yeah my mind will wander into not so happy places. But give me a book, my iPod and alone time and I’m peaceful, I’m relaxed, I’m on an adventure, I’m me.

  • Lela Davidson May 6, 2013, 7:44 pm

    I’m never alone. I’m always with imaginary people in my head and we are having lively conversation. (Sign of a TRUE extrovert.) Actually, I love to be alone, but I can’t it for too long either. I get antsy if I’m not out among people for a day or two. What I wish often is that I felt comfortable going more places alone. Nature places. Cheryl Strayed places. And then it makes me angry that I don’t because there is no better place to be alone than a dark, mossy forest with a good waterfall.

  • Lela Davidson May 6, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Man, I just realized I posted this late. Didn’t I? I’m so behind.