conversations with… well, with me

In ALL, BOOK PUBLISHINGby Stephanie Klein35 Comments

Interviews are strange.  You’re usually asked the same questions about how and why you started a blog or how you feel about being compared to Carrie Bradshaw.  Or at least, that’s how mine always go.  Though with the following interview, I had a lot more respect for creative (or good) journalism… 

What is your most painful childhood memory?

Well there was the time I broke my nose in the fourth grade which involved going to the hospital, so it seems it should be right up there with painful childhood memories, but the truth of it is, what hurt me most was being called "MOOSE" by the older boys when I was overweight in eighth grade. I came home after school crying one day, and when I confided in my father, instead of hugging me and telling me I was beautiful no matter what, he actually laughed. When I recount this memory to him now, he responds, "what, it was a funny name." It was tragic.

What has shaped you most to become the woman you are today?

Cheese doodles. Definitely. Oh, what else? I don’t think it comes down to a moment as much as it comes down to the people in our lives, namely our parents. My father is my best friend and always encouraged me to be honest at all costs, and I think that shows up in my living, and certainly in my writing.

How did you meet "The Suitor" and what made him different than any other man? How did you know you were in love with him?

I met him online. I had an ad up on nerve.com, linking to my blog (www.stephanieklein.com). He found my list of hundreds of things about me and emailed me clever responses to many of the items. I eventually agreed to meet him in person, though I really wasn’t ready for a relationship. So we spent a lot of time together as friend boy and friend girl, until one day I declared, "Okay, I’m now ready to date you." To which he rolled his eyes and replied, "We’ve been dating for months, Stephanie."

I knew I was in love with him in a specific moment. I climbed into bed with him one night, turned to him, and said, "this feels like home." And I didn’t mean it in some cheeseass way. I meant being with him reminded me of the comfort I felt growing up, slipping into bed between my parents, rubbing my mother’s feet with Kerri lotion.

In a moment, beside The Suitor, I felt my childhood, the comfort of being with someone without having to do anything.

In hindsight, do you think you could have worked things out withGabe? If you could go back in time, would you undo your marriage to him or was that experience something that helped you grow as a person?

I love the "if" game; I really do. Especially when time travel is possible. We’re all tempted to rewind and undo, and when we’re going through it, we want time to fast forward, so we can awake over it. Bottom line, when we’re in pain, we do the most growing. We leave our comfort zone and are forced to stretch.

I regret how long I stayed, but I don’t regret going there at all. If we didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t learn how to make things right. As for working things out with Gabe, the answer is still no. It takes two people to make a relationship work, not one person and a nightmare of a mother-in-law. He wasn’t willing to work on anything more than his golf swing, and that’s no way to be a martyr.

What is the biggest lesson you learned over the past few years?

That you’re not a failure just because a relationship doesn’t work out. I’ve been in relationships before where I’ve actually heard myself confide in a friend, "Would I still be okay if it were just me again? People kind of expect us, but would I be a failure if it didn’t work?" Holy shit. I know so many of us think it, feel it, worry about it. And it’s fucked up. You’re not a failure when a relationship ends, the same way you weren’t a success when it began. I measured my worth, for way too long, on the merits of a romantic relationship, instead of valuing myself based on my female friendships, or the stuff that puts the "self" in self-esteem.

One of the things I like most about your blog is the photographs you take. How did you get started in photography, do you know your way around a darkroom? I was always intimidated by the art of photography because of the idea of a darkroom and chemicals and pans.

I was working in advertising full-time, responsible for choosing artwork for my clients. I was drawn to photography after combing through so many portfolios, so I began to take classes at night. I began with film photography, and color transparencies (slides) and yes, learned how to use a darkroom, but given that I worked as an interactive art director, I became impatient, so I eventually switched to a digital SLR. I was already comfortable using the digital darkroom that is Photoshop, given that I was a web designer, so it was a natural transition.

What are five words you would use to describe yourself?

Honest. Passionate. Brassy. Foodie. Vulnerable.

What would I find you doing on a typical Friday night?

It depends which state I’m in, not just state of mind, actual US state. I’m between Austin and New York a lot, so that changes what I’m up to. In Austin, I suspect you’d find me lakeside, eating a burger on a picnic table, listening to live local music. That or movie hopping like it’s my job.

In New York, I’d be having a girl dinner at a lounge, tasting tapas, sipping champagne. Going home hungry and ordering in a burger.

Did you hope to inspire others when you began the blog? With the success of the memoir, will you continue it?

I didn’t have any hope when I began the blog other than trying to make myself happy. I began the blog because of a break-up, and I realized all that energy I’d been putting into dating and into men wasn’t working out so great. So I made a New Year’s resolution to write daily because writing always made me happy. It’s one of those activities where I don’t notice the time passing.

As time went on, and I realized people were actually reading it, my tone might have changed every now and then, but at the end of the day, I keep the blog for me, as a tool, as my gym. It’s "throat clearing" for me, the writing I do to get to something else. So I imagine the blog will absolutely continue, since it has very little to do with the fact that I’m a writer. It has to do with living.

There are millions of blogs out there in cyberspace, what do you think makes yours so relatable and popular?

Luck certainly has something to do with it. But I think people stay once they stumble upon it because I’m just honest. I write about my insecurities, the things we all worry about. Rejection. Jealousy. Self-esteem issues. My obsession with food. It’s not just my anecdotal humor or observational prose; I write about what touches me, which in turn drives people to think and react, even if they disagree.

This interview was conducted by Cindy at Conversations With Famous Writers >>

Comments

  1. :) My favourite bit of the interview was the 'Cheese Doodles' answer. It's why you're so likeable.

  2. You say cheese doodles. I would say that burritos have helped to shape me today. And lots of guacaomle.

    Your honesty and candor help…throw in the fact that you are generally warm and inviting in person and people will inevitably stick around.

  3. love this. I have been measuring my worth in relationship failures since the start of this year. I am so glad you touched on that, you're so very right.

  4. My friend pre-ordered the book for me. It hasn't arrived. I couldn't wait, I went out and bought it last night.

    I'm reading "Straight Up and Dirty" like its a fine, five course meal and I'm enjoying every morsel of it.

  5. I've been reading your blog for almost a year now and I have never posted a comment; can't really say why it's been so long. Either way, all it took was reading "starwars: a female perspective" and I was hooked. You were dead-right when you said we stay once we stumble upon Greek Tragedy.

    I ordered your book weeks ago and it's in now. I'll be indulging myself in it tonight. :)

    -A Fellow Texan

  6. Hello Stephanie!.. I´ve been reading your blog for a year. You are a great girl. I´m glad your story had a happy ending. I identify with you a lot but I´m in the dating stage yet. I just hope my story ends as happy as yours..

  7. You're so cheesey, you make Chester Cheetah look bad! Remember that one (JB)?

    Have I told you I love you today? Yeah, but I thought I would say it again…I LOVE YOU. You are an amazing (ew, I hate that word) person; making me do favors and all. I wouldn't trade you for a million rainbow cookies. Maybe a million and one though.

    …oooh, rainbow cookies and eggy challah bread french toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup from Bruce's. Do you think they can overnight that kind of stuff to Montana? Yeah, like I need it.

  8. Ha, I love The Suitor line about having been dating for months. That made me laugh. I'm glad there are some creative interviews for you out there.

  9. I love love love the exchange between you and the Suitor. Reading that made my day!
    I can't wait to get your book :)

  10. Lea, you probably made your sister puke at your comment–all that food talk, I'm sure she's yakking right now!

    Cindy at Conversations is also an AMAZING chick! You all should go over and check out her awesome book reviews, and make sure to buy her book when it comes out, which I think is being published pretty soon!

    I heart Cindy! I heart Stephanie! Feel the luuuuv.

  11. I was going to run to B&N today to get your book, but I'll happily wait until the signing/reading? next Wednesday in NY :) Safe travels until then! x

  12. "You're not a failure when a relationship ends, the same way you weren't a success when it began." if only everyone could live by this mantra, we might be able to maintain healthy relationships …

  13. I read your book this weekend and Loved it, truely. Can't wait till the next one comes out!

  14. I met my husband online, too (on Match) and we now have a 4-month old baby girl. It really does work sometimes.

    Congrats on the twins and book-coming-out day – I'm going to have to swing by Barnes & Noble and pick up a copy this weekend. I'm so excited for you – my best friend has 2 year old twin daughters. It is amazing, crazy, mental, wonderful, hard – all that. So, so happy for you.

  15. This has nothing to do with this post exactly, but where, oh where, can I find your book?!?!?!

    I've been to 4 bookstores (including a B&N and a Borders) as well as my library and it's nowhere to be found! I suppose I could just order it, but I am so totally impatient!

    I'll just keep on looking…but in the meantime, enjoy the ride and double Congrats!

  16. "If" you had to do it all over again, would you recommend online dating? I've never tried it but some of my girlfriends have and most of them crashed and burned. Is it even worth the hassel of weeding thru all the losers to maybe find that one gem?

  17. Stephanie, I asked about your book at one of the bookstores in town (an affiliation with Barnes and Noble) today. They told me your book is in their warehouse as we speak. It will be on display next week! I'm so excited. I could order it on amazon but it would take longer to receive by mail.
    Are you coming down my way soon? Any book signings in San Diego, California? A girl can hope. Oh well.
    Congrats on the coming-out-with-your-first-book signing!

  18. Stephanie is your book coming out in paperback any time soon? Here in South Africa, because its imported and the exchange rate factor it is very expensive. Paperbacks are generally more affordable. Please let me know?

  19. Not about this post, but the site … that printroom ad with the flash? stuff is very obtrusive.
    Makes we not want to "click-thru".

    BIG congrats regarding the baby ! Your life will change dramatically – hopefully everything will be fantastic.

    AS I'VE POSTED MANY TIMES BEFORE. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THAT PRINTROOM POPS UP. ANYONE WITH KNOWLEDGE OF TYPEPAD PLEASE CONTACT ME.

  20. I think Cheese Doodles are tremendously underrated. Not only are they a nutritious (and noisy) snack, they glow in the dark and have halted several major international conflicts. On top of that, Chester Cheetah pisses on that Tony the Tiger any damn day of the week. And finally, they shaped you into the woman you are today. Howabootthat ;)

    Meanwhile, hope you're feeling better and enjoying this mild, soothing New York City weather…it's almost as mild and soothing as what I'd imagine is Austin, TX weather :)

  21. It took me a long time to not feel like a complete failure when my marriage of one year fell through due to his infidelity. I felt like such a moron for loving him, trusting him, and mostly…marrying the bastard. I have come to terms with these feelings and mostly focused on absorbing that experience and learning from it. It difficult for me to say that I regret it simply because it has made me a stronger and wiser woman. And ultimately led me to the man of dreams who I will wed this November.

    Your interview just really spoke to me. Your strength shines through and I want to thank you for your honesty and inspiration.

    P.S. I am anxiously awaiting for cute UPS guy to deliver your book!!

  22. After my job interview I ran 3 blocks to borders to get your book. Now, it would have been fine if i wasn't in heels running around DC. Needless to say, it was well worth my feet hurting and getting a little lost in the city. The book is amazing. As I knew it would be!

  23. I was in the Union Square B&N yesterday and I saw 6 people other than me reading your book. I wished I'd had my camera.

  24. Hey Stephanie–
    Bought your book last night and read it cover to cover. I won't spoil anything for those who haven't read it yet, but I laughed, I cried, I got mad (that bitch!).

    I didn't realize how similar our divorcette experiences were–from the monster-in-law to the kibbles and bits!

    It's nice to know that you have so many people around you that love you.

    FYI to those who can't seem to find the book–Barnes and Noble has it but a lot of them don't have it on the shelves yet. Just ask and someone will go in the back and get one for you.

  25. You're right, Cindy is a great interviewer. Thank you, as always, for your honesty and candor. i hear your book is in the stores now, congratulations!!

  26. Oh, Stephanie! I so wanted to interview you for our meager website (Austinist). Some things just don't fall into place. I had interesting (I think) questions to ask: Why Austin? Do you spell "terd" incorrectly on purpose? If so, what is the deeper meaning? Has your dad read your entire blog? I mean…the whole thing? Did you ever find an eyebrow threader in this fair city of ours? A decadent margarita? If so, do tell!

    Okay, so they weren't that interesting. But your blog and your book certainly are, and I'm sure sitting down with you would have generated a lot of questions that were of a higher echelon of journalistic standards. You speak for many women and are adored for your honesty. There aren't too many things better than that.

    RAREED,

    I LOVE AUSTINIST! ONE OF MY "MUST READS" DAILY. AUSTINIST HAD A REVIEW OF MY BOOK LAST WEEK-

    http://www.austinist.com/archives/books/

    AS FOR AN INTERVIEW, I'D LOVE TO. QUESTIONS ABOUT TERDS ARE OFF LIMITS. PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY.

  27. thank you, thank you, and thank you again for writing about your 'insecurities, the things we all worry about. Rejection. Jealousy. Self-esteem issues. your obsession with food. about what touches you.' it urges me to explore my own thoughts and reactions to….life? for a long time i couldn't tell you what i was passionate about or react one way or the other. i lost my identity somewhere along the year of my 3-D's (death, divorce and duquesne nursing school) but lately i've started seeing the 'beginning of a self'. and i wish i could take credit for that phrase but i heard it somewhere and knew it described me.

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