Thursday, October 1, 2015

Interview with a Renaissance Lady – Linda LaRoche (Part 2)

Well, Dear Readers, it’s time for Part 2 of my interview with a brilliant writer, accomplished woman and very special lady, Linda LaRoche.  In Part 1, Linda talked about her personal background and some of the professional accolades that she most treasures.  In this, our final, session together, we’ll talk about her current projects, what she likes to do when not writing, and why she became a reluctant blogger. 







M-T:  You’ve said that writing is a lonely profession, which is so true.  Even the reporter caught up in the excitement of a great interview eventually has to sit down, all by himself/herself, and start filling up that blank computer screen.  Marcel Proust often remarked on the tyranny of the act of writing, which meant tearing himself away from the company of others.  Yet, you’ve also said writing is your great passion.  When did you know you wanted to be a writer and who were your earliest literary influences?

L.L.:  Even before I started school I knew I had a special affinity with books. I descend from a long-line of creative women who look good in the color red. (M-T Note: The Color Red denotes strength, creativity and energy.)

My mother's gift was singing, her mother's gift was story-telling and her mother's gift was playing the harp. My maternal Grandmother was the Scheherazade of the family.  Her tales were dramatic and tainted with suspense and cliffhangers.  She also read to me.  But it was my mother who was my greatest influence. Having been reared in Mexico she came from a long line of Criollos, and Spanish was her first language. 

Being an introvert and not inclined toward the language arts, she did not enjoy composition nor conversation.  She noticed my gift for articulation and used it to her advantage.  At the age of six she noticed my artistic abilities and taught me cursive writing. I began leaving notes for the milkman and soon graduated to correspondence to the Bank. Her limitations became my strength. Being very sensitive and living with disharmony, I painted; but when I discovered the public library I was in awe. Writing poetry became my salvation.

Actually, my burning childhood desire was to be an actress. I asked my mother how that could be accomplished, but she did not hear my voice.  It was in the sixth grade that I claimed my goal to be a writer through the encouragement of my teacher, Mr. Marshall. Later that year, I won a statewide spelling competition.  Despite my inner knowing, I tried to escape my responsibility to write.  Perhaps it was because conflict became a way of life. Writing was an internal tug-of-war, a contempt that slowly became a friend and eventually a passion.  What kept me going was reading the classics; books became, and still are, my friends.


Current Projects

M-T:  In 2009, you turned your considerable writing talents to blogging.  Your Blog, “Do Write” is truly in a class by itself on every level.  What prompted you to become a “blogger?” 

L.L.:  While attending the San Francisco Writers Conference I was encouraged to start a blog.  I shied away from social media. It felt like over-exposure, similar to standing naked in front of a mirror for the world to view. After three months of contemplating, I gave it a go. That was in May 2009.


M-T:  As a blogger, myself, I know how challenging it can be to come up with subjects to blog about on a regular basis.  How much of yourself do you share with your readers and how do you turn everyday events into interesting subjects for a post? 

L.L.:  To be truthful, I thought of what I could write that would not reveal too much of myself. I began with my travels, hoping that it would land me a writing assignment with a travel magazine. I could not accept that periodicals were morphing into a slow death.  The blog then evolved into my writing life and, like my feature writing, I covered topics that interested me most. 

I am an optimist, so there aren’t any rants or vulgarity.  I hope that readers (women) will identify with some aspect of their own life and that they feel a sense of friendship and interconnectedness. I haven't felt that since the days I trotted the globe and made friends who became pen pals. Call it a humanitarian gene, but I have always wanted to be a part of something much, much bigger, and I believed blogging might link me to that missing component; and in the process, I could make new friends! 


M-T:  O.K., here’s the $64,000 (pre-inflation, 1950’s, quiz-show prize amount) question -- Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it? 

L.L.:  My current situation does not support my creativity with privacy, space or quiet -- what a writer needs most in order to produce.  They also need uninterrupted time and finances in place.  That’s my biggest hurdle. 

Writer's block is, fortunately, not something I suffer from.  I start my day with positive affirmations.  When you do that you see your inner and outer world forming an alliance. I feel as if I have lived many lives in this lifetime. I believe in the gift of second chances.  

Everything in life is a story, it's the nuances that you must hone in on to make a story come alive. That takes time and practice. If you see your life as coming full circle, you can see that you are always starting from scratch with only the lessons from the past to draw upon. One of the commentators on my blog said she loved how I weave various places, people, styles and moments in time, into short vignettes that leave one feeling pensive and nostalgic for a bit -- until one is jolted back into the demands of life in the now. Stories can reflect that -- the redemptive power of past experience mixed with the present.


M-T:  In addition to everything you’ve done and continue to do, you are currently engaged in PR consulting and work from home as a Publicist.  What a perfect fit for you, and how lucky your clients are to have such a creative mind working on their behalf.   What do you do for your clients? 

L.L.:  As a Publicist, I communicate with the media to get my clients message out. Since ideas are constantly swarming in my mind, I try to get clients maximum exposure so they can accomplish their goals. 

Every client has a specific need. The common thread is that I am their stage mother.  I have to believe in them to promote them.  That can involve anything from getting a speaking engagement, to producing a video for YouTube or increasing the number of participants for a yoga seminar. It requires pitching more than actual writing.  

It's ironic that I get endorsements for Press Release writing on LinkedIn when I currently write very little.  I have far more published articles (over 600), wrote multi-media scripts for four years and achieved what many strive for -- I sold a screenplay.  

  
Current Interests

Linda at home in her kitchen, which she DIY'd herself.  Notice those "creative" red walls.

M-T:  When you are not busy promoting your clients and/or working hard in front of your computer, what do you like to do?   

L.L.:  Because I am contemplative, esoteric study has shaped my thinking and soul and guides my life.  Naturally, I am a reader. 

In my outer world, the visual and performing arts define my heart.  Music can change my mood instantly, but theater is where I feel most alive.  Possessing a savant memory, it affected my decision to study method acting, and while living in Germany, I pursued my childhood fantasy of being an actress. 

I love a good story, and my foreign film fandom has trotted the globe.  Being feminine, I love fashion and dressing up to see a performance, attend an opening, party or soiree makes my life extraordinary.  Fashion is how I connected to the lovely Marie-Thérèse.  (M-T:  Pardon me, Dear Readers, while I indulge in a discreet blush.) 

I also enjoy cooking, in particular foods of the Mediterranean. I love learning and am a perpetual student of architecture, history, and culture.  Traveling, especially to exotic locations, makes my life less ordinary and stimulates my imagination.  But one thing is certain -- I am constantly traveling in my mind.


M-T:  Thank you so much, Linda, for spending time with my Readers and me.  It’s been an absolute delight having this little cyberchat. 



To read Part 1 of my interview with Linda, click here, and don't forget to check out Linda’s wonderful Blog, Do Write, and Website.  

2 comments:

  1. Great read Linda. I appreciate you opening up to a discussion of what makes you who you are. That's a difficult thing, especially for creative people. It's hard to be creative about yourself when your mind is alway racing from project to project. Kudos.

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  2. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Lovely 2nd part and it only underlines the fact that in order to become a writer, first one must LOVE reading.
    That too has intrigued me all my life and will never end in doing so. We learn as long as we live and every writer is giving away, unwillingly, so much of his/her inner-thoughts. That is a hunger one can never completely still! Finding out and learning more by also trying different things. At least with such a love for reading and writing, life will never ever be boring!
    Music of course is another way of writing, and than sung to us...
    Hugs and happy weekend!
    Mariette

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