This week I’m welcoming the wonderfully thoughtful Lea Grover to the Aspiring Voices hot seat. Lea is a prolific blogger over at Becoming SuperMommy and writes fiction on the side. Lea and I had a chat about historical fiction as a connection point to your past and present, the paradox of wanting your children to understand suffering without having to suffer, the social aspect of writing, and why you can’t believe anything anyone says over the phone.

Vintage Series -- Adams Lake c. 1950, My mother
Mark Kortum via Creative Commons

Paul: You’re a blog writer and have done work on a number of sites, many in the so-called mommy blogger realm. What is it about fiction that attracts you? Does it scratch a particular itch that slice-of-life or journal-style non-fiction doesn’t? If you had to choose only one, which would you pick?

Lea: Fiction has always attracted me. Making up stories, inventing characters… it gives you control over not only some version of the physical world, but over your own emotions as well. It definitely allows for a creative expression that non-fiction doesn’t. If I had to pick only one, I would probably pick fiction, but that’s only because I’ve had the opportunity to write about my life—which has had its fill of extraordinary events. I feel like my non-fiction is something that I write because it can be used to help people, and my fiction is what I write because I quite simply can’t not write.

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Peter Dutton via Creative Commons

White wine spritzer sloshed in Gabriella’s glass as she spoke, her half-captive audience of fellow preschool moms fidgeted uncomfortably. “I just never know which one to choose,” Gabriella repeated.

“I use the same ones every year,” Jennifer said. She knew how crazy parents could be about the details of their children’s parties, but Gabriella had been talking about balloons of all things for twenty minutes.

“And that’s the thing,” Gabriella thrust the glass at her, “the beautiful thing about finding the right one on the first try. You can have them every year and they just work. Not all of us are that lucky.”

“I’m sure there are plenty to go around.”

“You would like to think so,” Gabriella said, her intensity further unnerving her acquaintances. “Every year I think I find something good, only there’s something wrong with them in the end.” She stared with distant longing at the bouncing child in the pointed hat. “I can’t settle when it comes to poor little Josh. It’s not just that I have to find the right one, he needs to love—“ a pause. “—Whatever I choose as well.” She took another sip; the group used the opportunity to disband.