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Bringing Aunt Becky Back, Part Number 5-Niner


For those of you not painstakingly combing my archives because you know, you have a LIFE and stuff (which, hi, tell me how, okay?), I started a project back in January that I call “Bringing Aunt Becky Back.” I realized that I’d lost a lot of my identity while I popped out my crotch parasites and wiped endless poopy butts, and I realized that something had to be done about it before I ended up with Mom Jeans up to my nipples and some sensible white Keds on my feet.

So the Bringing Aunt Becky Back project was born.

The good news is, when you think you’ve lost yourself, you’re never as far away as you think you are. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, it turns out. The bad news is, if you’re me, you have a lot of work to do to move away from your past.

These are luminous times, and I can’t help but feel that the changes I’m making are, well, change, and change is better than stagnation, so that’s forward movement. Starting therapy (which I return to on Saturday), is probably one of the smartest things I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to finally staring down the demons in my closets and making them dance the Funky motherfucking Chicken.

When you graduate college, it’s assumed you’re going to go on and have some sort of career. In my case, I grabbed my RN-BSN, knowing I would never actually be a career nurse and floundered for awhile.

Then, in the unlikeliest of places, I found something that I was not only (marginally) good at, but also made me happy: words. Glorious, beautiful, letters, strung into patterns, that formed words, put together in such a way that could horrify, delight, and make you weep. Writing. It was like discovering you could breathe underwater.

So I went with it. This had to be what I was supposed to do with my life.

I was fortunate enough to get literary agents and wrote up a couple of non-fiction book proposals–books of essays*–and waited. The stock market crashed, the publishing industry took a huge hit, and people stopped buying books.

So I waited, they waited, I went back to the drawing board, and in the meantime, I sent out essays, knowing full well real writers couldn’t get published anywhere, so the likelihood of anyone in The New Media (a.k.a. The Internet People) (potentially The Enemy) being able to get somewhere was about as good as me winning The Nobel Prize for Awesomeness.

Then I just…stopped.

And last week I had an epiphany: I needed to attack the problem from a different angle. Rather than focus on something so far out of reach, I’d try and do something I understood. So I revived Mushroom Printing as a group blog. I’m talking to a friend who runs an actual shirt screening press about getting “Shut Your Whore Mouth” shirts made.

If any of this leads to something else down the line, I’ll be doing the happy dance until my legs fall off. I still believe that making some sort of career out of writing is what I am supposed to do with myself, but perhaps this just isn’t the time.

It’s time to put my thinking cap on and figure out what to do next (any advice, I’m open to, Pranksters). Besides, of course, form a Neil Diamond tribute band.

Because, obviously.

*if you have signed up for an essay and haven’t gotten it, it’s been waylaid in your spam filter because it comes from a dummy email address. If’n you want it (and you do), email me. There’s a BIG OLD “email me” button on my sidebar. I can send you one.


It’s Toy With Me Tuesday! I’m talking about making a porno (no, not REALLY making one). Heh. It’s much sillier than it sounds.

32 Comments to

“Bringing Aunt Becky Back, Part Number 5-Niner”

  1. On July 20th, 2010 at 10:45 am Becky Mochaface Says:

    Is there perhaps an offbeat paper or magazine in your area where you can possibly get some freelance work?

  2. On July 20th, 2010 at 10:47 am Suniverse Says:

    I love this. I’ve been faffing around with what I want to be when I grow up for an embarrassing number of years, and just when I thought, NOW, this is IT, I went back to school, got my JD and the market tanked and lay offs everywhere and I’ve spent the past year looking for work and wondering why I put my family in the poorhouse.

    And then, just a few weeks ago, I realized I still like writing, and I sent off an essay, and somebody liked it and I’m hoping for the best. Like you, I need to think of an alternate way to go about things. Unlike you, I seem to get stuck.

    Thanks for the example, though. I like to think that there is hope out there.

  3. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:13 am Shin Ae Says:

    I am already laughing at the shirts. Can you make them look kind of hot?

  4. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:34 am Punk Rock Nurse Says:

    You know, just throwing it out there (you know…from one nurse to another) you really dodged a huge bullet by not slaving away as a bedside nurse for many a year. Its a real bummer. And by bummer, I mean I got shat on all night. Literally. All night.

    But enough about me! I cant wait to get my whore hands on one of those shirts! (wait thats still about me) GRR!

  5. On July 20th, 2010 at 1:25 pm Tara Says:

    A-men, sister. I have never been happier than the day I said a big eff-you to bedside nursing. Now I work in a specialty clinic (but still in a hospital & for the government so–yay, benefits!) and couldn’t be happier. Getting shit on (literally) at work is the worst.

  6. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:44 pm Punk Rock Nurse Says:

    Seriously! Go Girl! I just got back into school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner because I am SOOO ready to leave bedside nursing!

  7. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:39 am Andygirl Says:

    Mazel tov on going to therapy! *HUGS* it’ll be one of the best and hardest things you’ll do.

    And y’know? I think maybe just don’t be so hard on yourself. Even “real” writers take years and years to make any money. Just keep plugging along and honing your craft and writing words and sentences and paragraphs and everything else will follow. I hope. 😀

  8. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:57 am Sam Says:

    I totally *swear* (pinkie promise, crossing the heart, all that jazz) that I’m not copying your Finding Aunt Becky Again campaign – but I’m dealing with something similar: something I call Making My Life Not Suck Again (admittedly not as catchy) – so thumbs up on your project!!! And again, YAY THERAPY! I’d give my therapist a big bear hug or possible leg hump if it wouldn’t be (slightly) inappropriate, and take up precious seconds of my golden 55 minute time slot.

  9. On July 20th, 2010 at 12:00 pm Mandy Says:

    I basically spent my 20’s in hibernation, having babies. Many friendships were neglected to the point where the only adults I spoke to were my mom, my hubs, and the clerk at the ga-damn grocery store. So after this last (I mean it!) baby, I decided to go beyond my comfort zone and try to get a life for me, Mandy. Not Mommy, not Wifey, but all growed up ME! So Becky, keep on keepin’ on! You’re not in this alone.

  10. On July 20th, 2010 at 12:14 pm Melissa Says:

    You already know I love your writing! And your essay (obv), because it was full of the awesome. Have you ever submitted anything to National Lampoon online?

  11. On July 20th, 2010 at 12:52 pm Gretchen Says:

    I will absolutely volunteer to advertise!!! I would give my left arm (and part of my well sculpted thighs) for a “SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH” shirt!!! 🙂

  12. On July 20th, 2010 at 1:16 pm Libby Says:

    Do the “whore mouth” shirts come in toddler sizes too?

  13. On July 20th, 2010 at 1:27 pm Tara Says:

    That would be so fucking awesome!

  14. On July 20th, 2010 at 11:45 pm Punk Rock Nurse Says:

    I second that emotion

  15. On July 20th, 2010 at 2:21 pm Doc Says:

    Gotta get me one of them “Shut your Whore Mouth” T-shirts.. I bet it will get me laid more.

  16. On July 20th, 2010 at 2:28 pm marymac Says:

    This IS what you were meant to do.

    Can’t wait to meet you in NYC. I want a shirt! (Will trade for Pajamas and Coffee travel mug stuffed with Sillybandz?!)


  17. On July 20th, 2010 at 3:27 pm toywithme Says:

    I wish I had advice but I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Which will most likely be never.

    Totally want a tee though. Maybe that’s your calling – smart ass t-shirts.

  18. On July 20th, 2010 at 4:04 pm Kelly Says:

    I want a shirt, too. Can you bedazzle mine? I knows you likes the sparklies.

  19. On July 20th, 2010 at 4:45 pm The Sweetest Says:

    This is the post-kids stage I like to call The Momover. For me, it involves getting myself back inside and out, meaning new, rad clothes. And I am gonna wear that T-shirt all the time, just to drive my husband crazy.

  20. On July 20th, 2010 at 5:09 pm Nic Says:

    Follow your dreams and you’ll get threre girl! How could you not with being so entertaining and making me laugh almost daily.

  21. On July 20th, 2010 at 7:40 pm Margaret Says:

    Lately I’ve been thinking I should take a crack at it too, but the Fear Monster and my inner 15 year-old keep telling me that “people don’t get to do things they love for a JOB!”

    Even though obviously millions of people do.

  22. On July 20th, 2010 at 7:52 pm Lotta Says:

    Good for you for going back to therapy! Personally, my psyche has exhausted me and I need a break. Digging through it was like an episode of hoarders. Every layer we uncovered only revealed more dead cats. Yep, that’s my mental status, “more dead cats”.

  23. On July 20th, 2010 at 10:12 pm Kristin Says:

    I would totally buy a “Shut Your Whore Mouth” shirt. That is just too awesome for words.

  24. On July 21st, 2010 at 11:50 am Alexandra Says:

    I think we woke up from the same dream. Me and you both, let’s go….

  25. On July 21st, 2010 at 11:51 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    I’m on it. Let’s make this world our bitch, friend.

  26. On July 21st, 2010 at 12:26 pm Dot Says:

    Congratulations on going back to therapy. I love it. I’m probably going to spend the rest of my life in therapy, because I have so much to deal with. But enough about me. I think this sounds like a very good time to go, since you and the Daver are in transition and you want more out of your life. I hope you find some great insights and solutions!

  27. On July 22nd, 2010 at 12:51 am Cathy Says:

    I was reading an article on about faux pas that girls commit when they first go on the internet. One of the pieces of advice they gave was to remember that you are not unique amongst girls for being on the WWW. I couldn’t figure out why that bugged me until I read this article. You have such a different take on everything, you seem to have a way of writing that makes me think(which after work is asking a lot.) You are unique amongst girls, women, y-chromosomes. I’m not sure why but keep it up!

  28. On July 22nd, 2010 at 2:31 am GingerB Says:

    I’m with ya sistah! I’m bringing Ginger back from underneath this 65 pounds and guilt when I think I might take an evening off from being supermom after being supergirl all day at work and out earning my man. What the fuck do I have to feel guilty about?? I do need to be me again. But how to get here? Aye, there’s the rub.

  29. On July 22nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm Beth Says:

    I would buy the HELL out of that shirt.

  30. On July 22nd, 2010 at 6:17 pm Kendra Says:

    Huge congratulations to you! Way to go, not only on finding the dream again but on taking steps to make it happen–and not in an “I’m taking action by waiting patiently” kind of way. Several years ago, I was a new mom and (because I believe that somewhere, the answer to everything is written down, if I can just find it) waist deep in parenting magazines. I liked what I saw there and was reminded of my own long-ago writing dreams. So I printed out a few parenting essays I’d been toying with and sent them off to a free parenting magazine–one of the few that would publish people without a list of places they’d already been published. The response? Not a rejection letter, which I totally would have been able to handle. Not even a form rejection letter, which would have been okay. Instead, I received three photocopies (one for each item I had submitted) of their submission guidelines. That’s all. No explanation, just three cruddy photocopies, which I scoured looking for some evidence of what I had done wrong. (Nothing.) I was–and still am–totally insulted. I stopped reading their magazing and completely stopped writing. I admit, my ego is easily shattered, but I know how hard it is to keep trying when it feels like you got slapped for your efforts. So I’m really proud of you for finding meaningful ways to get out there, rather than letting anything less than a “Hell yes, and here’s a giant check” get you down.

    And that shirt is awesome. I’m a day care provider, so I might have to cross out the “whore” with a Sharpie, but that might add to its charm.

  31. On July 23rd, 2010 at 8:10 pm Mommy on the Spot Says:

    I really think you should do the freelance writing thing; I think it would help you with your book.

    Your plight to find yourself has inspired me. I have found writers’ groups, and just talking with other writers changes my frame of mind. I am also learning the ropes of sending in essays to magazines. If you need a hand, I can share the very little I have gleamed. Just drop me an email.

    Don’t give up. You can’t. You can do this.

  32. On August 19th, 2010 at 9:42 pm Tiffany Says:

    i recently found your blog so, yeah, i’m combing through your archives. i also don’t have a life so, there’s that too.

    congrats on finding literary agents. i’ve been looking on and off for a little while but that sort of thing is a full-time job. i’m in grad school for a master’s in business, graduate in 5 months and then i’m supposed to get a job or something. ugh. if writing were my full-time job i’d be elated…

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