‘To blog or not to blog?’
That is the question I’m pondering as I head out of Bizen – the best Japanese restaurant outside Tokyo – in my home town of Great Barrington, MA. ‘It might be fun,’ I say to myself, ‘but on the other hand my time is tight.’
With two kids and a husband who can’t take over except at weekends, shouldn’t I devote my writing time to the second draft of my new novel?
The small mountain town in which I live is filled with delightful eccentrics so I don’t pay much attention to the woman shouting half a block away.
My thoughts meander on. Do I have time to pick up a Paul Newman’s Four Cheese pizza from Price Chopper before getting the kids off the bus? Should I finish my short horror story for children – The Boy Who Watched Too Much Television. Should I agree to help someone I don’t know expand on her brilliant idea for a screenplay? If I do that will I get distracted from my book?
If I’m looking for distractions from my book, how about writing a blog?
I’m jolted out of my reverie by a woman with white frizzy hair standing right in front of me. She looks vaguely familiar and she’s laughing at me. What’s funny? Is my coat buttoned up wrongly? Did I spill something down the front?
“You’re the comedian!” the woman says.“I saw you performing at the Aegean Tuesday night.”
“Oh!” I say. “Right!”
A couple of weeks ago a new friend of mine was holding a Ladies night in a local Greek Restaurant to help launch a new business and asked if I’d tell a few jokes to warm things up.
“Sure,” I said. Apart from anything else, it was a great excuse to get away from writing Book Two and, besides, I love Falafel.
“You’re the comedian,” the woman in front of me says again.
“I used to be,” I say.
“You’re funny!” she says again, walking across Railroad street. “I love it! A comedian!”
I haven’t been called a comedian in awhile. But it is one of my identities. It certainly used to be. I started in stand-up soon after I found my Southern birth mother in the United States. I’d been an actress and a playwright in England, but when you’re adopted by Brits and find your birth mother in Tennessee what else do you do?
Talking about the experience – comedically – I became a regular at the Comic Strip in New York and the Comedy Store in LA, with jokes like “I’ve always thought of infidelity as wrong, but if my birth father had not cheated on his wife, I wouldn’t exist. So if there are any couples here tonight having an extra marital affair, I encourage you to breed.”
I wrote a one woman comedy about my adoption and reunion. It was a highlight of the London Comedy Festival and it led to sit-com development deals with Jim Henson Productions, CBS and ABC tv. I did comic voices for tv shows and movies in LA. I made it on to the back cover of Variety. Comic An Evening with Alison Larkin performances have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity around the world.
Then I had kids and my identity changed from comedian to a Mom who had fallen head over heels in love with the first genetic relatives she had ever lived with. Not wanting to miss a minute with them I looked around for something to do that wouldn’t take me away from them at night.
When my book The English American came out, I was referred to as a novelist. When it was optioned for the movies, a screenwriter. When Audible hired me to narrate the Arthur Ransome series, I became an audio book narrator.
“You’re the Mom of a fifth grader,” a friend said to me this morning. “Of course you get everything wrong.”
Right now, I’m a blogger. Tomorrow morning I’ll be a skier. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be a Mom and a friend. Next week, when I start work on the second draft of Book Two, I’ll be a novelist.
And in April when I perform “Lunch with Alison Larkin” at an adoption conference in MA, I’ll be a comedian again.