Managing Family Relationships While Writing About Them ~ Guest Post for Red Wheelbarrow Writers

Dear Writers:

What should come first? Publishing your memoir or preserving family relationships? Sometimes writers feel they have to choose—on occasion, they do. We’ve all heard stories about what happened when the family flipped out over a memoir someone published . . . .

I was honored to guest post for Red Wheelbarrow Writers on the topic of Managing Family Relationships While Writing About Them. Read the full post on the RWB site.

Red Wheelbarrow Writers hosts an amazing array of workshops and events, including the celebrated WhaMemWriMo (Whatcom County Memoir Writing Month) that is happening right now. They just published an anthology, Memory Into Memoir. Find out more about RWB and how to get involved at their website.

XO Laurel Leigh



Good-night, Sweet Swingline

Dear Writers:

Alas, stuff of mine has been breaking lately. Specifically:

Glasses nose piece: Popped into the eye doc’s to get a new one put on and didn’t notice till I got home that the new one is clear and in contrast, the used one on the other side is darkened with age and skin wax? Not sure which is dorkier—the lopsided effect or the fact that I’m relatively unbothered by it. Continue reading

To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme

Dear Writers:

I’ve been having the most fun sort of agony over my latest assignment to write a children’s poem for the SpeakEasy event at the posh Mount Baker Theatre on April 12. I’ve learned a lot, such as when trying to write a kids’ poem it’s helpful to:

A) Be an actual poet

B) Have some kids

C) Have been a kid at one time Continue reading

And The Winner Is…

Dear Mister Allegra,

I’m writing to you on account of missing that contest of yours by a day. Sometimes things come up in your life, and sometimes you are a day late.

That last sentence, although written in second person, refers to me.

I’m talking about the contest where someone could go to your blog called heylookawriterfellow and say what pet we wished we could have and why, and then your kid draws all the names from a jar, and whoever wins gets to have a doodle of said pet doodled by you, specifically for them, and they can frame it and hang it on their wall over their desk or in the hallway or on the fridge.

But I was a day late, like I said, so somebody named Sarah won, and I don’t have anything against Sarah, and in fact I don’t know her, but now she gets the doodle I’m pretty sure I would have won, or at least had a chance of winning if you weren’t so picky about deadlines and all.

The pet I would have said was a salamander, and here’s why. As you know from dropping by my blog now and then, I write stories for grown-ups. But for some reason, this guy called Luther asked if I could come and read a children’s poem to some kids at this show he’s putting on with a bunch of actual poets who do write stuff for kids, and probably have some kids of their own, which I don’t, so it’s hard to practice saying a kid’s poem to your dog. And it’s not really fair, because some of them can draw too, but I can’t.

So when I was trying to figure out what I could write that wouldn’t include my usual character lineup of grifters and drifters who swear and such, I went outside to drink some tea on my patio to think about it. There was a salamander hanging out on my patio, which at first I thought was dead but he wasn’t, and we ended up having a pretty good talk. He was a little parched from being stuck on my patio in the sun, but I rescued him and put him in some soft leaves and put water there for him. He had to go home then, but I was thinking it would be nice to have a pet that was a salamander, and I wrote a poem-ish thing in his honor to read to those kids.

Here’s one other thing. My friend Luther is going to use technology to project our poems on the wall while we say them, and if I had won your contest yesterday I could have had him put a picture of my new friend the salamander on the wall, and the kids would like it, and I could tell them that you drew it especially for them and that you also write books and stuff. But now it’s too late, because of one teensy weensy day. A day!

Once in sixth grade I was late and got a zero. The teacher said you shouldn’t complain because it was your fault that you were late and someday you will understand why it’s important to be on time. So I guess this is that time. And I’m happy for Sarah, because she does seem like a very nice person who is a librarian and a mom and also a writer.

Okay, so bye.

Your friend, Laurel

P.S. I’m sorry you hurt your finger.

Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow!

The Penguin Ice Bucket was filled with more than 100 ballots! The Penguin Ice Bucket was filled with more than 100 ballots!

Holy cannoli, those Win A Doodle contest ballots came pouring in!

And along with the ballots came a wide and wild assortment of possibly perfect fictional pets. Some choices were inspired (Brain from Inspector Gadget) others were suicidal (Smaug from The Hobbit), and, in one case, bewildering (Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights).

Unfortunately, none of you selected the correct pet:

It's this guy. It’s this guy.

The perfect fictional pet is Gromit from Wallace & Gromit. The pooch is cute, quiet, brilliant, self-motivated, a cracking electrician, a fine housekeeper and a superb knitter. He also doesn’t shed, is not slobbery, and can take himself out for walks with or without Techno-trousers. He is also loyal enough to accompany his human to the moon and back.

As I said, perfect.

By the way, if you haven’t seen a Wallace & Gromit movie, please get on that won’t you?


Before I…

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Ghost dad LOL

Dear Writers,

Check out this amazing post about grief, bracelets, and infertility from Very Bangled . . .

Very Bangled

Alanna from White Girls Be Like posted a challenge, a competition! She’s hosting a Funny Blog Friday which sounds pretty alright. Since I’m competitive, and I like to think I’m funny despite my total inability to remember punchlines, I raised my hand.

But then I started re-reading my blogs. Turns out grief, bracelets, and infertility don’t make for a rollicking good time. So here’s a collection of my worst, darkest, least funny, most painful, absolutely terrible thoughts recently. Let me welcome you to rock bottom.

-If my dad were still alive we’d probably go to the baseball game tonight.
-My dad was the only person to ask me how my day went.
-It’s getting darker earlier and soon I’ll be walking home from work in the dark. Because my dad used to be my ride home and now he is dead. And nobody asks me how my day went anymore.

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Feeling the Love!

Dear Writers,

I just had one of those moments where your adult child calls you up to say thanks for being such a great mom, only the adult child is a past writing student of mine who “grew up” and wrote an awesome book. Selah J Tay-Song, author of the Dreams of QaiMaj series, wrote about my teaching in her blog series, 101 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Wrote My First Book Continue reading