Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Lauren from Better in Real Life

I first found Lauren when she was interning for a website I was reading.  Her posts there were some of my favorites; they were always heartfelt and had a casual voice that I just couldn't get enough of, even once I started reading her blog, Better in Real Life.  She's one of my favorite voices on Twitter, and was one of the first people who made me feel at home on there.  Whether she's talking about life as a new mother, her experiences as a young writer making her way in the world of literature, or the adventures she takes everyday, Lauren is open-hearted and full of joy.  I was lucky enough to meet her on our recent trip to California, and while I didn't think it was even possible, she really is better in real life.  I wish we lived next door instead of across the country because I know I'd be stopping by her house for chats constantly!

Lauren on one of her many adventures, rock climbing!


Who are you? I am Lauren! I am 28 and live with my husband, named Kamel (like Camel but with a different emphasis), and baby, named Gabe, in the Bay Area (for now!). I am a writer trying to meld a professional life and a creative life. I try to be as honest as possible while still being tactful and hopefully funny. I am an only child with few (hopefully!) of the only-child-traits (I mean, only the really endearing ones, right?), I grew up in Seattle, and I have my MFA. I am a lot of things all at once and I like to tell stories.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? I have a lifestyle blog at www.betterinrealife.com. I say lifestyle because it involves my journey with food, clothes, adventures, family, and all of the big big big life events (wedding/pregnancy/baby) as they happen to me. I am an over-sharer, so this is how I get it out of my system and not embarrass my coworkers. I have also written a book, which very few people have read in its entirety and I will not attempt to have published, but it can be found in the library at the University of San Francisco. It's about death and taxidermy and family. And then! I have a couple short stories/poems published in university collections that no one has ever heard of. Right now I'm trying to find a way to balance having a baby, a job, a life outside of my computer AND a creative writing existence. It is harder than I thought. Oh! And for money, I write hotel descriptions for an online travel agency. It does no good things for my eternal travel bug.

Lauren and Kamel with their friends Margaret and Jeff after a hot air balloon ride.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I think.... I just needed an outlet. It was 2004/2005 and I was sitting in my then boyfriend's living room and I had thoughts and I wanted somewhere to put them. I started blogging on Myspace (covers face with hands) and I actually had a pretty good amount of readers for a system that wasn't blog-gy in any way. During that time I was getting my Rhetoric degree at the University of Illinois so my writing world was very multi-faceted. I don't think I have ever been more prolific than I was in college. Probably because all I did was work at a coffee shop part time, and think about writing (when I wasn't in some sort of drama involving friend betrayal or lost love... it was all very opera when I was in my early 20s). I think back on that time and I wonder if I will ever have that kind of creative flow again. Hopefully I want have so much of the heartache that surrounded it.

Why do you write? I don't feel like I have a choice. If I didn't write I would explode on the inside. I think I would be voiceless. It would strangle me.


Lauren and her son, Gabe

Who inspires you? YOU! With your amazing view of the world, and your amazing experiences at NYU and how utterly gracious you are. A lot of the online world I have experienced through the work I've done as an editor of the internets and my own blog has been incredibly inspiring. There is a lot of kindness out there - and not just kindness, but smart, well read, interesting, and diverse people all willing to share bits of themselves. It is jaw dropping.

The specific people who push me to be a better thinker, person, mother, writer, everything are:

Margaret LaFleur - http://margaretlafleur.com/
Rebecca Woolf - http://www.girlsgonechild.net/
Margaret Atwood
Joan Didion
Alice Bradley - http://finslippy.squarespace.com/


In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? That is so hard because I want to go EVERYWHERE! Right now I am obsessing over a trip to Italy via a flight to London and then taking a train through the Alps to Rome. Then seeing the Cinque Terre and a few other spots I've been dreaming about since I was 10 watching Rick Steves on PBS. But! I feel like I will eventually be able to afford that .... I would really like an all expense paid trip to Bora Bora and stay in the 4 seasons for 10 days... in one of those huts over the water and then have people in boats deliver our breakfast to us each morning. I would also need someone to watch the baby... I need some grownup away time.

Lauren and Kamel in Barcelona!

What is your favorite place on earth? The rocky beach at Lincoln Park in Seattle. It is a beautiful hidden gem with views of the islands and bald eagles and whales and ahhh it is the greatest all times of the year.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I think I'm going to make this my life motto and continue to say it until I'm blue in the face: Anyone can have adventures and do great things! It doesn't take gobs of money or a sponsorship or great talent or anything. It just takes.... doing it. Being afraid, taking risks, etc etc. From small things to big things, I want everyone to go beyond their mental limits and be AWESOME!

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