Friend and editor, Annetta Ribken, introduced me to the multi multi-talented Anne Chaconas. That’s right, she’s got so much on the go, she’s redefined what it means to be a mult-tasker. Considering she has two very young children, I’m amazed by her ability to do 10 things at once (if not more) on no sleep.
Hold on to your hat, and please welcome writer, author, publicist, mother, Master of snark, Anne Chaconas.
So … Who the heck is Anne Chaconas?
Anne Chaconas was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and made it her mission from around the time she was three years old to move to the United States (where, she told anyone who would listen, all the music was in English, which automatically meant life was better–FLAWLESS TODDLER LOGIC, PEOPLE). She fulfilled said mission at eighteen when she moved to Connecticut to attend a small private university in New Haven. There she bounced from major to major, finally landing on Literature (thus guaranteeing herself absolutely no job prospects upon graduation but absolutely exceptional cocktail party conversational skills).
After realizing people down South were much nicer (and the food was much more fried), she moved there in 2007. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids, four cats, two dogs, and entirely too many books. She is a work-at-home mom, and spends her days making things in the Crock-Pot, changing shockingly awful diapers, getting sunburned at the park, and working on her prose and for her marketing clients during those 45 minutes when the kids’ naps overlap and those fleeting hours after they go to bed.
She writes many things, but has found her true love in humorous non-fiction and parenting essays. She is currently working on two books, EMBRACE YOUR WEIRD (a how-to guide on how to be happy from someone not academically qualified to write such a guide) and A STORK FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (a collection of essays, limericks, and assorted musings on pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, and other unnatural acts). On the fiction front, she is currently outlining a humorous mystery/thriller series with a kickass stay-at-home mom heroine. Because art should imitate life sometimes, right?
She also swears. A lot.
Inside Anne’s Mind
[eden] Anne! Welcome. Please tell us your idea of perfect happiness. Is there such a thing?
You know, that’s an interesting question (well, to be perfectly honest, these are all interesting questions—so thank you for that!). I tend to think of happiness in the same way that I think of love—they are states of being that are constantly morphing, melding, changing in the mind and life of whom they live. Their only constant is their metamorphosis. Which is my very philosophical way of saying that what I may say today is my idea of perfect happiness may not be my idea of perfect happiness tomorrow, or next week, or next month—and it almost certainly not going to be what my idea of perfect happiness was last week, last month, last year, or last decade (because, alas, I count my life in multiple decades now. Sigh). Anyways, my idea of perfect happiness right now? Sleep. Sleep. Sleeeeeeeeep. Blissful, quiet, uninterrupted sleep. At least eight hours of it; preferably twelve. Because, you see, I have a toddler and an infant. Whom I love. Very much. Very, very much. But who are also out to destroy me via a complex regimen of multiple middle-of-the-night wakeups, broken naps, simultaneous tantrums/crying jags, and sidelong giggling glances which are both endearing and completely petrifying (because what are they plotting now?). So the thought of being able to sleep without being woken up every couple of hours, without having to worry about what they’re getting into or what kind of world domination via diaper blowouts they may be plotting—well, that just sounds divine. Outside of that, my idea of perfect happiness is, funnily enough, the exact opposite: Hanging out with my family, being used as a human jungle gym.
How very catch-22 of me.
Is there something that turns you on creatively? Sleep.
I love new ideas. The ones that come unbidden in the middle of the night, or while you’re washing dishes, or when you’re making dinner or tying your shoes or jogging. The ones that appear as if from nowhere, that make you stop whatever you’re doing and make your heart race with the knowledge that this could be really fucking cool. The ones that make you stop whatever you’re doing and scrabble to find a pen and paper to chicken-scratch it down before your forget it (that is, until you wisen up and start carrying a small notebook and mini-golf pencil in your back jeans pocket wherever you go). New ideas filled with promise and potential and awesomeness, that could go anywhere (even if most of them go nowhere)—because they’re the Big Bang of creativity.
Any words or phrases you overuse? I swear. A lot. So pretty much all swearwords are overused, particularly fuck and motherfucker. (I should point out, however, that I do most of my swearing online these days, in a feeble attempt to make it so that my kids don’t say, “Mommy can I have a motherfucking snack? I’m fucking hungry.” And they don’t! …well, so far. WEEE for me!) I also overuse awesome and badass and kickass. In my actual writing, I overuse the word “that” quite a bit, enough that I always run a check for it once I’m done writing and delete all unnecessary instances of the phrase.
[eden] I used to swear much more, I’ve tempered with age, I think. I hardly ever use the word ‘awesome’ for the very reason that everyone does.
What do you most admire in a man? Honor. If you’d asked me this when I was in my 20s, I would have said “the tightness of his abs” and probably added “his smile” as an afterthought. However, now that I’ve stopped jonesing for assholes and have spent the last 5 years married to an actual nice guy, I would have to say “honor” is the quality I most admire. Honor encompasses so many things—courage, reliability, respect, work ethic, a sense of what is just and right and good. Abdominal tightness comes and goes, but honorability is forever.
And in a woman? The ability to not be so goddamn serious about being a woman. Look, I get it—we’re women, we’re powerful, we’re still not where we want to be, we need to take the world by storm, we need to bond together, we need to make a change. But I don’t need to hear it all the time, and I don’t need you to tell me about it all the time. Trust me, I’m all about female empowerment, education, and progress—but I’m also about being able to laugh at myself and not taking myself so damn seriously.
[eden] So true, I don’t think women accomplish more by being hard line.
Do you have any big regrets? Having spent most of my 20s trying to be someone I was not. I wore so many hats trying to find one that was “cool” and “hip” that I basically spent the better part of a decade being a volatile asshole. And, the funny thing is, once I stopped giving a shit about being cool and hip—well, that’s when other people started telling me how cool and hip I was. Who knew it was that easy? Very infuriating. But so very textbook when it comes to human development. And I hate the thought that I was textbook anything but, alas, I was. So, yes, I regret my behavior during most of my twenties—but only to a degree. Because if I hadn’t spent all that time desperately attempting to be fucking awesome, I wouldn’t have given up in sheer mental exhaustion, and therefore wouldn’t be the fucking awesome I-don’t-give-a-shit individual I am today.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My inability to fly (like Superman, that is. I can fly in an airplane no problem). Man, I want to fly so bad. Just do that whole Neo in The Matrix: Reloaded thing, and WOOSH LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER.
[eden] I’d love to see that.
What is your greatest fear? That I’ll die without making an impact. Even a small one. I don’t care so much if I’m remembered, but I want to make a dent, however wee, on the surface of humanity. A dent for the good. This is closely followed by a fear that I’ll wake up one day being allergic to chocolate. Because that would fucking suck.
[eden] Ha! It would.
Which living person do you most admire? My 2.5-year-old daughter. And it’s not because she’s beautiful, or smart, or even really, truly funny at such a young age (all of which—shameless parent proudness moment—she is). I admire her complete lack of self-consciousness, her fearlessness, her willingness to try new things, her ability to unequivocally say NO to things she doesn’t want to do and YES to those she does. Adults are so full of neuroses and quirks and bullshit—it’s so refreshing to see her just take the world by storm every day, doing exactly what she wants to do exactly how she wants to do it. My aim, every day, is to make sure she doesn’t lose that—I want her to always pee into the wind and laugh while doing it, and not give a shit what others may say or do. She inspires me to be fearless.
[eden] What a great answer. I love the thought of staying childlike and fearless all our lives. If only …
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Magician. Specifically, card tricks. Sleight of hand fascinates me, probably because I am so not subtle.
[eden] Really? I haven’t noticed. ;)
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A world-class athlete in a truly physical sport like swimming, or football, or gymnastics. I wonder what it would be like to have that kind of body control, that kind of strength. My husband is extremely athletic, and it blows my mind, because I trip over my own toes (seriously).
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I can burp the alphabet. Also: My kids.
[eden] Sweeeeet. I can’t do the alphabet, but I can burp five times in a row after a pint of Guinness. It’s not pretty.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Fakery. Being one way in public, or online, and a very different way in private. I fucking hate that shit. Just own who you are, even if you think it would be perceived as “bad” by others—or even if it is, empirically, bad. Just own it. OWN THAT SHIT AND ROCK IT.
What is your greatest extravagance? It used to be shoes and purses. Now it’s probably the occasional steak-and-baked-potato dinner. …Actually, you know what? My haircuts! I finally have a stylish haircut after years of just letting my hair grow, and so I spend anywhere from $50-$100 (depending on if I get any products) every six to eight weeks attempting to look like a MILF.
[eden] You are the poster girl for a MILF, even without the expensive haircut!
What is one thing you want to do before you die? CLICHÉ TIME! Hit the bestseller lists. Not just the Amazon bestselling lists in a category or something (although, trust me, that’s also pretty fucking badass)—no, I want to hit the bestselling lists: New York Times, USA Today, national. Because, uh, AWESOME.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Writers: I have a lot. Margaret George, Ken Follett, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Federico Garcia Lorca. Stephen King. Michael Crichton. They’re all wonderful in different ways, and have influenced me and made me happy at different points in my life.
Musician: I really, really enjoy Poe. And Def Leppard. Film director: I gotta be honest—I don’t really keep up with different directors and their different styles. That’s something that’s more my husband’s speed. However, I will say this: The Godfather trilogy of movies KICKS FUCKING ASS (yes, even The Godfather III; so sue me), so I’ll just go ahead and say Francis Ford Coppola. Because “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” I mean, come on.
Do you have MORE curse words you’d like to share? If you still have to ask me that after reading this interview, we may have to work on your reading comprehension skills. However, just because I love them so much: fuck, motherfucker, shit. And also craptastic.
[eden] Just wanted to give you one final chance to vent!
Finally, your motto in life is …. “Don’t be a douchecanoe.” Because it is really sound advice, applies to everything and everyone, and uses the word douchecanoe. Win/win/win.
[eden] It’s been a slice, Anne, as I knew it would be. xox
Readers, please say “hi” to Anne and learn more about her services through Badass Marketing. The woman is badass terrific!
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