Writing Interview - Mammodouy's Way

Why do I write?

Well, I write because I like to write. I always loved writing. I spent 25 years of my life translating so writing became quite a habit. I very rarely experience the writer’s block, lucky me.

Then why do I blog? I am old enough to acknowledge that blogging can be a scary experience at first. Sharing your thoughts and your stories, most of them very, very personal, on the web. But it ends up being a lot of fun and quite a sobering experience too since throughout the years I have been able to  bond with so many people from faraway lands. Yes, sharing is important after all.

Why do I write in English?

I am French and I deliberately chose to write in English. My field of study was American Literature and Civilization. I also spent a few years in the United States and Canada besides working as a translator.

But the main reason I chose to express myself in English (more or less properly, I know) is subjective and healing. My faithful readers know that I am still dealing with unsolved family problems, most of them springing from a somewhat bitter and twisted mother. So when it came to writing, it had to be done in my own, personal and chosen new mother tongue, so to speak!

How do I choose the topics I end up writing about?

I usually don’t choose them. They choose me since I do not use my blog to write about everyday life.

From time to time some personal event will set up the post. Like the aftercare of a very nasty metastatic cancer or my friend’s life with Alzheimer. I try to be positive about it all and this kind of post is extremely therapeutic.

Sometimes I’ll pick up ideas from places I go to or from walks I take. My so-called “Travel Book” is more about thoughts than travel tips.

And then there are times when I get really upset about life and/or politics and/or environment. Writing posts about those irritating events/issues/subjects/worries provides quite a safe outlet.

How does my writing process work?

Being a photographer helps a lot. Most of my posts are organized around pictures. Sometimes the post is born from looking at a picture I took before I even get the idea and start writing.

Sometimes I take pictures because I know what I want to write about and I’ll need them to back up the story I will be telling sooner or later.

The following story is a great example of my writing process.

This year, we barely survived through our own “annus horribilis” while our son was confronted to an unparalleled violent perversion i.e. harassment at the work place in a faraway foreign country. The fight was hard and long. We fought gallantly and we won.

At the time (when things really took a turn for the worse) I did not feel like writing at all. I was aching all over because of all the suffering and unfairness my son was going through besides a strong feeling of helplessness, at first.

I spent a lot of time taking long walks in Brittany, all the while mulling over documents to put on the file for the lawyers, pros and cons of decisions to make and ways to sound solutions to the crisis and endless round of family/lawyers meetings on Skype.

I no longer could write except long reviews of the case and/or mails to our son and his lawyers.

And then one day while I was walking on the Ebihens (it is a 4 hours’ walk all in all), I got an idea for a post I had to put on hold until the case would be solved. So I kept going back to the island and taking pictures I knew I’d be using. I knew all along that it had to be an all-purpose summary of this wretched experience, more of a metaphor actually.

The day we heard that Swee’Pea would be flying home soon after his lawyer had finally driven his employer to reach a "proper" settlement, I sorted my pictures and started writing this post, the first one in more than six months. "Once Upon a Time - One Bogged Down Life".

What am I currently working on?

Well, right now, I am trying to find my balance again. I want to write. I feel like it again and then I am overwhelmed with all the pictures I want to tell stories with, all the thoughts I want to share and it is very hard to resume writing but this is a good start, I know, thanks to Myrna, my Canadian friend (and sister).

I am also working on a couple of projects that should lead to photography exhibits. Because I am a photographer. First and foremost.

A long time ago, I wrote a novel for young teenagers (in French). I got good and thoughtful reviews from most publishing houses I sent it to but it never got published anyway.

I filed it away but now I am thinking “Kindle” which could be a great opportunity for sharing. So I am rewriting it in English. And to tell the unabashed truth, I still like it a lot.

One last thought (because I am older than most bloggers)

I do not trust the web nor Big Brother.

I never write directly on Blogger. I write my post with Pages (yes, I am an Apple fan) and paste it on Blogger along with the pictures. Then I save the computer/typescript and the pictures in a dated and titled file on a hard disk! Do I hear “paranoia”?

Wait because there is another “one last thought” -- I am French and therefore setting great store by my personal freedom. Which is the reason why I am using a pen name and fictitious names for my family.

And yes, you are right. This is acute paranoia.

*Good Night, and Good Luck*