Saturday, February 26, 2011
Featuring [drum roll] Naomi DeLaTorre!!
Have you ever met someone with whom you think, “Have we been friends in another life?” because the friendship develops so effortlessly and naturally?
That’s how it has been between Naomi and me. I honestly think we were friends in heaven, and a couple of years ago we just picked up where we left off.
What’s great about Naomi is her attitude, she is always happy and encouraging and if she’s ever not; the most she’ll ever say to indicate otherwise is, “I’m not great today.” She has been indispensible in my own journey as a writer; in fact, she’s the one who through her vast networking skills connected me with a publisher. So without further ado, here’s my awesome friend Naomi DeLaTorre.
I grew up in Chicago with my mom, dad and sisters. We have an awesome and mildly crazy family. I went to college in Iowa where I studied English lit, Spanish and dance. I spent my last semester living abroad in Chile. That was one of the best experiences of my entire life. When I came back from Chile, I wasn’t sure what to do with my (not incredibly useful) English lit degree, so I became a secretary and professional salsa dancer.
After a little while, it became clear to me that I might become an ax murderer if I didn’t do something outside of secretarial work. So I applied to grad school to get my MFA in creative writing. At the time, I was writing mainly poetry. I was accepted by the University of Arizona, so I ended up living in the beautiful desert of Tucson for a few years while I got my MFA. The poets in my department were a wild and wacky crew and I also met one of my closest girlfriends while I was there.
I moved to Dallas the next year where I met my husband while we were out salsa dancing. He is an incredible dancer and an amazing person. We hit it off immediately and got married less than a year after we’d met. We have two little boys, Nino and Diego, ages 6 and 3. They are fabulous and full of so much love. I can’t help but be awed by how much I learn from them and from being a mom. I feel blessed each and every day that I’ve been given the opportunity to raise such amazing little people.
You studied Creative Writing in College, what did you imagine yourself doing while in grad. school?
Honestly, I don’t know if I ever really thought through what I would do with either of my degrees. (I think somewhere in my brain I was hoping I would become a famous dancer or writer, but I’m not even sure if I had that plan fully hashed out.) My BA in English lit was a total bomb (as you can see from my subsequent secretarial jobs which caused me to consider killing as a profession—just kidding—maybe), but I was actually surprised by how useful my MFA became. While I was still in grad school, I got a job writing grants for a local arts nonprofit organization, whose mission was to teach creative writing classes to the Native American students in the reservations surrounding Tucson. It was a great organization and I learned fabulous grant writing skills working there. After I moved to Dallas, I continued writing grants when was I was hired by a really awesome children’s hospital to help fund their programs.
What made you want to start blogging after you started a family?
Those who know me well will know that I am mildly neurotic and slightly insane. Anything that I throw myself into becomes a serious obsession if I enjoy it at all. So when I became a parent, it wasn’t any different. I lived, ate and breathed motherhood for several years.
I’m one of those wacky co-sleeping, babywearing, extended breastfeeding, partially homeschooling folk you hear about who will probably have tweenagers in my bed in a few years. But in all seriousness, I love being a mom. It has been an amazing experience for me to have the opportunity to watch my boys grow and learn. I feel so lucky to share every day with them.
I started my blog as a way to get back into writing again. Specifically, I wanted to write a book about the experience of motherhood that didn’t sugar coat everything the way most parenting books do. I wanted to write about the nitty gritty reality of day-to-day life with babies and toddlers. Amazingly, I did manage to land eight literary agents who were interested in working with me. But unfortunately, my agent and I have not been able to sell my book as of yet.
What do you prefer to write, fiction or non-fiction?
I enjoy writing everything from non-fiction to fiction and poetry. My degree is actually in poetry writing, believe it or not. But I am pretty focused on non-fiction right now, mostly because I don’t have a lot of time to write and so I am just sticking with one thing for the moment. Hopefully I can write poetry and fiction again when I’m older and have more time.
How did you choose the topic of your Blog? (Organic Motherhood with Coolwhip)
My parents were card-carrying hippies and so I grew up really aware of healthy eating, eco-friendly living and other progressive ideas. When we started out family, I read a lot about different methods of parenting and became really interested in attachment parenting and natural family living, which both encourage parents to rely on their natural instincts and parent in a way that respects humans as part of nature. I’m really happy I found out about these parenting ideas early on because I have truly enjoyed co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding and even homeschooling for a period of time. I love being integrally involved in my children’s lives and I hope we can remain close and connected for the entirety of our existence here on Earth.
The cool whip part of my blog (and book) title is a metaphor for all the ways we fail as parents. I recently was featured on the awesome site, “World’s Worst Moms.” That was a big honor for me because I think it is so important for us as moms to acknowledge our imperfections. Yes, I try to feed my kids healthy food, but I’m not going to lie and tell you I never go to McDonald’s.
What advice would you give someone who is currently blogging and wants to expand their following?
Honestly, I suck at blogging right now. I was hired as a freelance writer back in July of last year by SheKnows, a fantastic online magazine for women. I am doing a lot of writing and blogging for them right now and my own blog is kind of languishing meanwhile. I hope to get back to it at some point in the future, but right now, I just can’t keep all the balls in the air.
But for those people who have time on their hands, my best advice to expand your blog is social networking. There are so many amazing and incredible bloggers out there. Read their blogs. Comment. Talk to them on Twitter. Connect on Facebook. The entire world is open in cyberspace. During my time blogging, I have had to pleasure of connecting with so many amazing writers. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful and supportive they have been to me. I only wish I could be more involved right now because I miss everyone, but I know things will get easier as my kids get older and I have more time.
Tell us about your latest venture as a fee-lance writer and how you landed the job.
I feel extremely lucky to have landed the position I have at SheKnows. I think I must have applied at a lucky moment and my application happened to fall into the right hands at the right time. I had applied for a position writing for the Parenting Channel and one of SK’s editors wrote me back and told me that she had forwarded my application to the Parenting editor, but that she had another position she thought I might like. It was the Baby Banter blog position. I applied, was accepted and Baby Lucha was born.
Now I write Baby Lucha’s blog on a daily basis, as well as articles for the Parenting, Health, Food, Pets and other channels at SK. It is a really fun job. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had working before in my life. (Except maybe when I was working as a professional salsa dancer. But that’s another story.)
Share a sample of your writing either from your blog or from Baby Banter.
I can’t republish my writing at SK, so I will just leave you with a few selections from my work over there and at my own blog:
The Vagina Chronicles: http://organicmotherhoodwithcoolwhip.com/subBlog.asp?bID=122