An Interview with Lynn Brunelle, author of Mama Gone Geek: Calling on my Inner Science Nerd to Help Navigate the Ups and Downs of Parenting (Roost Books, October 2014)
What was your inspiration for writing Mama Gone Geek?
I read this fascinating article on dust—no kidding. And I can’t tell you how it has transformed the mundane act of dusting into a magnificent pondering. I marvel over the dust particles that have journeyed here from the dry riverbeds of Africa to the Amazon lofted on endless invisible currents to rest half a world away on my bookshelf. Combine that with what I’ve learned about dust mites and dead skin cells and cleaning the house has an unexpected magnitude—no matter how bleary-eyed I am.
On a grand scale, science is all about observing, experimenting, making mistakes, creatively solving problems, looking at something with a new perspective, and delighting in the results. It’s our inner geek that revels in the simple and the complicated.
I wanted to share that with other parents and science-lovers-who-may-not-know-it-yet out there.
What “lessons” would you like the reader to take away after reading Mama Gone Geek?
So many people cringe when it comes to science because they remember that horrible earthworm dissection in 5th grade or they hated balancing chemical equations or memorizing weird words. That’s not the kind of science I am talking about. Science first and foremost is born out of curiosity. Why? How? It’s a way to make sense of the physical world. It is about problem solving and creatively approaching a problem.
And here’s the thing—science is about asking and looking for answers. So you don’t HAVE to already know the answers. How do you get the pits out of a cherry? How do I dress for sunny weather? How do I eat well? How do I solve the problem of cancer? All things start with a question.
Looking things up, experimenting together is a great experience.
I think the biggest takeaway is –The more you ask, the more you learn, the more you wonder. The more you wonder, the more beautiful the ride.
What was the toughest part of the writing process?
This was the hardest book I have had to write yet. The science part was easy and fascinating but the delving into my own stories of parenting was very close to the heart and difficult to express. It was cathartic.
But I was driven by the idea that talking about this stuff is important. And sharing it can be a wonderful gift.
What “advice” would you give other mother writers?
Write. Just write. Listen to your inner voice and be true to it. No one else has your perspective and it’s interesting. It’s scary! What if people don’t like what I have to say? What if . . .what if? Those what-ifs can kill you! Ignore them.
Make the time to write every day and don’t judge yourself while you write. Write it all and then edit.
How important is a sense of humor when parenting (and writing for that matter)?
You have GOT to be able to laugh at yourself! It makes the ride so much more fun. Allowing yourself to see the funny in things is a great way to wander through this life . . . to observe, experiment, fail, try again, laugh and learn. My core geek is my constant, giggling, wise companion.