Over the last twenty years, Cheryl Somers Aubin got married and became a wife, started writing and became a writer and then she had a son and became a mother. And while both the roles of wife and writer changed and enriched her life, when her son, Charlie, was born he changed her and opened her heart to a whole new world.
Cheryl can hardly believe that the little baby boy who called her, “Ma Ma” has grown into a 16-year-old young man, four inches taller that she is and asking to get his learner’s permit. She still feels like it was just last week that she was wondering if she would ever get him to try out his new tricycle. She continues to love every single minute of the wonderful, exhausting, challenging, love-filled life of being a mother.
On the professional side, Cheryl has a Master of Arts degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has been writing and publishing for twenty years, and her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Foundation Magazine and other newspapers, magazines and on-line journals. She teaches memoir writing, has been a featured speaker at Personal History Writing Symposiums, presented at numerous panels and workshops and established a memoir writing course for Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen program.
Last month, she presented a workshop on “Writing the Family Memoir” at the Cape Cod Writers Conference and will be a presenter at the 2010 Washington, D.C. Historical Studies Conference on November 5th and 6th. Her non-fiction and fiction work is currently featured on http://www.getsparked.org/ which matches writers and artists who exchange inspiration work. Her website is: www.cherylaubin.com
Q: How did you get into writing?
I didn’t so much get into writing as writing got into me in a much more serious way about twenty years ago. I’d always written, especially some really bad poetry in high school, but my first big published piece was in the Boston Globe twenty years ago. I’d written about etiquette and looking for a job. I got some nice feedback on that piece and even a fan letter!
When my son, Charlie, was born, I was so humbled and honored and overwhelmed with parenting and I often wrote about it. Essays instead of blogs because in the “olden days” there wasn’t even the internet! Several of these pieces found their way into newspapers. Recently, an essay I wrote about collecting shells with Charlie has been published in an on-line journal, an annual report, The Washington Post and is included in this wonderful anthology.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved with this project?
My dear friend’s six-year-old son, Ryan, has had several surgeries in his short lifetime and continues to be treated at Children’s Hospital by the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff. I’ve visited the hospital a few times and met some of these caring professionals. I am happy to donate my writing to be able to support this institution that has not only helped Ryan, but many other children as well.
Q: What are you working on next?
Right now I am doing research for a book about my grandmother and her bootlegger/gangster husband in the 1920s and 1930s in Galveston, TX. Involved in a shoot out in 1931 where he killed one man and injured another, Theodore “Fatty” Owen was sent to prison. A year or two later, he was pardoned by “Ma” Ferguson, the governor at the time. He got out of jail, got back with my grandmother and together they adopted my mother in the fall of 1933.
Like most parents who write, I am trying to balance taking care of my son, our home and writing. Sometimes I feel like I am on a teeter-totter holding my computer, sheaves of paper and books on one side, and my husband, son, house, and all the other stuff of life (volunteering! I just can’t say no!), on the other.
Cheryl believes that everyone has a story to tell and a story worth telling. She encourages her students to write, and encourages all of our readers to write. “Write every day, write what comes to you, know that you can do it, and know that it is important to give our words, our stories, our dreams and even our failings to our families now…and to leave them for the generations to come.”
We appreciate having Cheryl as our featured author today.