Today I am interviewing author Madge Madigan on the release of her new book, “When Life Gives You Lemons… at Least You Won’t Get Scurvy!” Making the best of the crap life gives you.
Oh, you recognize the name? Same as the author of this blog? Well, taking a chapter out of my own book and making the best of things… when nobody else wants to interview you, interview yourself.
From the back cover”
“A humorous collection of anecdotal essays on dealing with common adult life struggles that fall just short of FEMA intervention but are bigger than a duct tape and coat hanger fix. This stuff wasn’t supposed to happen to Madge, she’s college educated and comes from a good white collar Irish Catholic family. But she made it through an abusive marriage, co-parenting with her alcoholic ex who subsequently vanished, joblessness, homelessness, food stamps, dating, and raising three kids single handedly. Somehow she maintained her dignity and fabulousness and produced three very smart, well adjusted, successful children. These are life lesson stories filled with humor, common sense and snark.
“This book is very nice dear but I still think you should become a dental hygienist. They make good money you know. People always need their teeth cleaned.” – Madelyn Madigan, Madge’s Mother
“Funny and cleavage, a winning combination!” – A creepy guy that reads my blog”
Want to know all about the hardscrabble world of self-publishing? Madge is in the thick of it and still figuring it out, so she can’t tell ya’. She started out writing marketing copy in 1991, started blogging in 2005 which then lead to feature articles and comedy writing for nothing you’ve ever heard of. There had to be more, she thought. She would love to tell you a great inspirational story of how she always wanted to write a book but that’s not really how it went.
“Honestly, I didn’t start to love to write until my 30′s. I realized I enjoyed writing catchy headlines or quips for marketing materials. Then later I realized I loved to write my blogs. I actually hated writing in my teens, college, etc. I didn’t care much for reading until later in life. I know, I know it shatters that whole life long love of something myth. But it also brings to light that you can love something after you understand it.”
What the hell is she talking about?
“I’m talking about why I didn’t love reading and writing. Oh I loved reading magazine articles. I had stacks and stacks of the Village Voice and Interview magazine under my bed in college. I was later diagnosed with ADHD, that explained it. I didn’t have the attention span for reading books. Now on meds, I love books.
And the writing, I never knew how. I don’t remember ever being taught how to write in school. I think I barely got a C in English Composition 101 in college. I distinctly remember getting an F on my very first assignment. I guess my ADHD was apparent to my professor, as my thoughts were all over the damn place. It wasn’t until I took news report writing and business writing that it made sense. That taught me how to organize and write logically. That gave me the confidence later to write creative/humor stuff.”
Ah, I see it’s the old “Don’t believe the stories you tell yourself” thing, right? You talk yourself into believing you’re not good at something just because you don’t grasp it at first.
“Exactly. I had a lot of stories I told myself that I needed to shake. Especially once I suddenly became a single Mom and sole provider of 3 children over night, I had to dig deep and figure out what I was good at to provide for my family. I had to take a leap of faith and try writing because so many people were urging me to do it. Look, I know people love to hear stories of people’s love of writing, and I do LOVE it. But also my story is one of desire, ambition, survival. I’m still on foodstamps, I’m hard working at a job that pays nothing. I need to find my way to the other side. The other side of the poverty line. I’ve tried lots of jobs to no avail, why not create my own job?”
That’s a hell of a leap there. Do you regret it?
“No. It’s not easy so I feel good that I’ve worked this hard at something. Whether it’s a big success or not remains to be seen. But I’ve worked my ass off to write, publish, and promote this book and it’s given me a taste of entrepreneurship. I like it, I’m going to keep going. If nothing else maybe this book will show others, especially women with children that you can re-create yourself later in adulthood. It’s never too late to give yourself a kick in the ass… and don’t ever give up”