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Mom University: Andrea Buchanan of Mother Shock and Literary Mama

Monday, March 14, 2005
mother shock

This is the second in my series of "Mom University" interviews with writers who write about motherhood. (The first interview -- which ran on Friday -- was with Kim Lane of AustinMama.com.)

Today, I'm speaking with Andrea ("Andi") Buchanan, author of Mother Shock.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Andi over the past few years. We both belong to the same writers' list and I had the chance to meet Andi for coffee when she passed through Toronto last fall. I have really enjoyed getting to know Andi because of her incredible generosity of spirit and her willingness to help her fellow writers, her passion for writing and motherhood, and because she is so down-to-earth and real. If Andi lived in my neighborhood, we'd never get any work done because I'd be asking her out for coffee all the time. Can you tell I'm a bit of an Andi Buchanan groupie?

Prior to doing this interview, I asked Andi to choose a piece of her writing that she is particularly proud of, and to tell me a bit about that piece of writing. She chose her essay The Piano Tuner. Here's what she had to say.

Ann: When did you write The Piano Tuner?

Andi: I wrote this in July of 2000, when [my daughter] Emi was 13 months old.

Ann: What led you to write this piece?

Andi: This was one of the first pieces I wrote about motherhood and identity, and it was my first piece to be published in a real live book (Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers). It was also the first time I really confronted on paper the ending of my former vocation as a classical pianist and the embracing of my then still quite new vocation as a mother. I still remember reading the piece aloud at a bookstore reading in NYC with other Breeder contributors and realizing as my voice shook that I had never spoken any of that stuff out loud -- I had never actually talked out loud to anyone about my complicated feelings over not being a musician anymore, about being between identities. Writing the piece was healing: I found a voice, a tone, for what I hadn't been able to articulate before, and I felt I was finding myself as a writer even as I was putting to rest my conflicted feelings about myself as a pianist and a mother.

Ann: Why did you pick this particular piece when I asked you to choose a piece of writing that was particularly important to you?

Andi: It's a piece that means a lot to me -- simultaneously a bittersweet goodbye to my old life and the entry to my new one.

You can find out more about Andi and the new life she embraced as a writer and a mother by checking out her Mother Shock Blog and by reading more of her writing in the literary journal about motherhood that she co-edits: Literary Mama.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:55 AM