What ELSE Do I Do?

vacationing-front-cover1What ELSE do I do?

I write books, collections of short funny pieces.

A lady once emailed me to say she started laughing so hard reading one piece that the coffee she was drinking shot out her nose and across the kitchen table.

That was “I Thought He Was a Speed Bump” which has 50 three-page chapters and is largely about life with children. It has words like ‘penis’ and ‘bum-bum’ in it so Fourth Graders find it hilarious, though older people like it too. “When will DAD become a woman?” my six-year-old old asked on hearing about the Great Baby Mystery. “Thy Kingdom Come I will be Dumb” gravely prayed my 4-year-old one day after church. It’s all here, all fun all the time except for the chapters that make you cry.

“Vacationing in My Driveway” with its equally short tales chapters was my second book. It goes week by week through the year and is funny too – plus it has a little death in it; is full of reverence as well as amusing anecdotes. Is in part it is partly testimony to the shining truth that there is always renewal after loss, always new growth in the seared heart, always a spring that follows the winter. As it title suggests it’s all for having fun and staying grateful wherever you happen to be.

My most recent two books are audio books, to make you laugh in the car.

The one called “Still Following The Trail Of Breadcrumbs” comes with a pretty little print manual which together with the three CDs teach people how to do what I do for a living as a newspaper columnist because what’s nicer than that? Capturing an experience in print? Just setting it down to savor later?

And finally “All Beautiful” is BRAND-new, a collection of 52 pieces I have read on Public Radio over the years, all recorded again by me in running shorts and a sports bra during the hottest days of last summer in the back bedroom that used to be our son’s. Gifted genies at a recording studio out west ironed out all the hiccups and stuck in some seriously beautiful music. I sometime I think it’s my favorite, although I tend to think every book is my favorite when I’m just done making it.

But really? Really this blog is really my favorite because I get to write every day if I like. I’ve been doing it for almost a year now and I have to say: I haven’t been this happy since I was six myself and following my mom and my aunt and those two ancient toddling great-aunts around the house all day talking my head off as they listened and listened with their humorous, much-missed loving smiles.

21 thoughts on “What ELSE Do I Do?

  1. Hey, pretty cool “blog” do you call it? I have heard the term B4 but I don’t know much about them. I don’t text (fingers to big, keyboard to small and I KNOW HOW TO SPELL) which is a bad combination for texting. Now there is this thing called “twittering”. Do just twits qualify for that? I sure know a lot of folks who would be charter members if that was the only requirement. I am deleting a million emails and ran into yours and just followed my nose to your site. Send me some snow if you have any left over. We are fresh out here in Port Orange, FL. Your friend, Dalen Mills

  2. This is the first time I’ve read your blog in its current entirety. The columns you’ve chosen to feature are among my own favorites. Your whole presentation is absolutely wonderful in what I think the truest meaning of this word: wonder-filled. Your trips down memory lane are particularly charming. Can I recommend your blog to my cousin Claire?

  3. Hi,

    Really nice blog. Martha just forwarded me the address. (I can’t say why I didn’t already know you had one. Pure dim-wittedness on my part, I suspect.)

    Anyway, I’ll now be officially following you. I was always a fan of your writing, and I’m glad I’ll be able to see it online as well.

    Michael Jay Tucker

  4. Hi Terry,

    In the past I confess that I’ve given only a glance at your columns now and then. Of late, however I’ve progressed to reading a paragraph or two. As of today, I’m not only reading the whole thing but declaring to my husband “This gal’s should be sindicated!” And, I guess you are. What caused the great reversal was the letter you quoted today from an old fan. “Why am I writing to Terry Marotta? It must be because of this sentence: “Was’t I once a person who refinished AND reupholstered all her furniture? Now I look at that pound or raw chicken and think “Who could I PAY to turn this into dinner. What was it that A. Pope used to say…”Wit is that which is often said but n’er so well expressed.” How many times have I (and obviously millions of other women) looked accusingly at that raw chicken on the counter and thought the same thing! Most of us still feel guilty about that damn chicken because we used to work, refinish furniture, grow kids, have dinner partaies that were soirees and keep an immaculate house; but we can’t do it any more. Forget it’s 30 years later; we still look guiltily at that dead chicken, but after reading your column, we can now lie down without having nightmares of being chased by giant chickens from other planets!

    And NOW I’ve discovered your website and you’ve unconsciously added another name to your long list of fans. Now I have to run out and stock up on tv dinners!
    Best wishes,
    Mary Lockwood
    Freeport, IL. 61032

    1. Mary this is about the nicest letter I have ever had. And thank you for singling out the women who “did it all” 30 years ago! Somebody once asked Erma Bombeck how women did it in her day with no help from the men who were gone all day the the office leaving them marooned in those single suburban houses with baby after baby coming. Do you know what she said ? “We drank!” A fib no doubt but a funny one!

      please keep in touch . If you’ll commit to more TV dinners to do more of what you like then so will I!

  5. I screwed up as I do want an email about your new postings but I do not
    want eMails about every comment. (I know what I think)
    Perhaps resetting the check box below will change this. I dunno. Rip.

  6. The RC version of “I will be dumb” is the child responding to a Litany, “H’ray for us!”

    1. Kids huh? In church once, when my sister was around three she turned to our mom at Communion time and said Why is that man giving all those people Alka Seltzer?
      Thanks for this John!

  7. Hey, Terry. Maura Casey here. Happy to find your blog! I saw something on the “Summer of Love” and … as free associations go…. I thought….Terry Marotta was married in the Summer of Love… I wonder how she is doing? So I googled you and there you are! Glad to read your musings friend. You are eloquent as always.

    1. What a pleasure to hear from you Maura and to look at your website and see what services you now offer. You wrote about your moom one time and there must have been a photo too because I can just picture her face alongside yours and recall how much you bear her stamp. Lots of learning along the way. remember those wonderful sessions with the National Conference of Editorial Writers? So much changed and gone now, my gosh. It’s wonderful to hear from YOU, gifted friend ..

    1. It will be a while before “Cal” fits this delicate child I think. She’s just like her mother that way. Fine china, you can see right through her skin…

  8. Some inspired progressive type who communicates via Somerville Voices posted a link to your recent post to The Journal via Wicked Local…and what an inspired thought it was! Very nice stuff. I feel pretty inspired myself.

  9. There’s something very satisfying about blogging. I write novels and started blogging to (yeah, right) publicize the third one. It’s been freeing to get immediate feedback and not to worry about what an editor will or won’t like. It’s made me funnier, freer, and I like to think better. Long may we blog.

  10. Long may we blog is right Ellen! I do it just for the joy of it – and because it gave me the freedom to say things and say them in a jauntier way than I ever could in a newspaper column.:-)

  11. Hi Terry, I’d love to talk to you about a documentary I’m working on. Might you be able to share your contact details with me for a brief chat? I’m assistant producing a two parter on the Kennedys – and am particularly interested in Rosemary’s time at your family’s camp. Any time you’re able to spare for a research chat would be much appreciated. Best, Emily (emily.wallace@elephanthousestudios.com, +44 (0)7720 721572 )

    1. Emily I never got to thank you for arranging the shoot. I know you’re in a new job now but I did want to express my gratitude and warm good wishes. The film crew couldn’t have been nicer! Hopefully they will let me know when it airs. 🙂

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