What It’s Like
What It’s Like … to Go from Changing Diapers to Sudden Stardom
Dawn Meehan of BecauseISaidSo.com tells all
-Michelle Kemper Brownlow
As she managed piles of dirty socks, gathered up forgotten packed lunches and chauffeured her six kids around while her husband worked two jobs to make ends meet, Dawn Meehan used eBay as a means to earn a little extra cash. She never expected it would also earn her an agent, a publisher and a two-book deal!
In August 2007, Dawn took a trip to the grocery store with Austin (14), Savannah (12), Jackson (10), Lexington (7), Clayton (4) and Brooklyn (2). Yep, all six kids. Upon her return home, Dawn found the pack of Pokemon cards she refused to buy for her children at the bottom of one of the bags. Knowing that her children had just taken advantage of her less-than-astute attention – and after giving a long lecture to 12 little ears – she listed the collectible cards on eBay … and she told the whole story the only way she knows how: with a shopping cartful of humor.
I remember getting an e-mail from a friend that held the link to Dawn’s eBay auction. I laughed until tears rolled down my face that night and forwarded the email to every mom I knew! Since then, Dawn and I have struck up a wonderful friendship, and I recently picked her brain about the whole phenomenon.
What’s it like to be awaiting the release of your first (and sort of unexpected) book?
It’s like waiting for your baby to born. I wasn’t very patient with that, either. You know rabbits are only pregnant for about a month?
Have you always been a writer?
I used to be a firefighter, a goatherd and a drag queen. OK, honestly, I’ve always enjoyed writing. Even back in grade school, I loved coming up with stories – telling stories and writing stories. I didn’t go to college to study writing or anything, though; I never pursued it.
What was your first paying gig?
I think it was delivering flyers door to door for a lawn-care company in my town when I was 10. Ohhh, you’re talking about writing? Well, I guess my blog was my first paid writing gig.
Why eBay for your Pokemon story?
I thought it was more appropriate than, say, the New England Journal of Medicine. Actually, I’d listed a baseball, accompanied by a humorous story, for sale on eBay a couple years before my Pokemon card auction. The baseball ended up selling for over $1,000 and thousands of people wrote me asking if I’d written anything else. When I placed the Pokemon cards for sale, people emailed me again, asking me if I’d written anything else. This time, I directed them to my blog. Hits to my blog went from five to 10 a day to more than 94,000 in one day.
Tell us about the day you realized that what was happening was bigger than you could ever imagine.
Umm, let’s see here. When the auction went viral, I suddenly had publishers and agents contacting me. I really had no idea what to look for in an agent and was just kinda “thrown into it.” I spoke with several agents and finally decided on Janet Grant from Books & Such Literary Agency. I just felt led to go with her. Well, that and the fact that I liked her funky red glasses. LOL! She’s the one responsible for selling my book to Guideposts, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with them on this project!
Tell us about your book deal.
I signed a two-book deal with Guideposts. The first title, Because I Said So, comes out April 1, 2009. (I’m convinced it’s a cruel joke by my publisher and someone’s going to say, “April Fool’s! You don’t really have a book coming out! Ha-ha!”) It’s a collection of humorous parenting stories. The second book, which doesn’t have a title yet, should be released in 2010. It will be a collection of pregnancy and childbirth stories.
If you could be anywhere alone to write, where would it be?
The beach! Definitely the beach. I can picture it now: sitting on the lanai, laptop in hand, listening to the surf and soft tropical music in the background, the sun warming my skin, a salty ocean breeze ruffling through the palm trees … Ahhhh, bliss. No children climbing on me, no loads of laundry threatening to suffocate me, no one asking for permission slips to be signed, homework to be checked, diapers to be changed, or snacks to be made.
Do you feel like an author? Has it all sunk in yet?
It’s still very surreal. If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d have one of the most popular parenting blogs on the Net and a book coming out in April, I would never have believed it. If someone had told me I’d finally lose my mind and be in therapy, I’d have believed that without a second thought, however.
What has been the best thing to come out of your rise to stardom?
“Rise to stardom”! LOL! Well, have I mentioned that I got to touch Matthew Perry? OK, OK, that’s not really the best thing that’s come out of all this. There are so many good things that have happened, though. First, my husband, Joe, no longer works crazy, 80-hour weeks. The money I make has enabled him to work a normal 40-hour week and spend more time at home with the kids. That’s been wonderful for all of us. And I thank God for the opportunity to inspire others with my words. I just love when I get mail from readers who thank me for making them smile or laugh, or who thank me for helping them to get through a rough day and reminding them that it’s OK if the laundry’s piled up, chicken nuggets are being served for dinner for the fourth time this week, and the kids are running around the house like rabid monkeys in Batman costumes complete with tablecloth “capes.”
What is your typical day like?
A three-ring circus, and I’m the one spinning 12 plates at the same time. Of course, it usually ends with a big crash.
1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For real? I don’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday. I sure don’t remember anything from more than 25 years ago.
2. What type of kids did you hang out with in high school?
I had an eclectic mix of friends, but mostly band geeks, even though I wasn’t even in band. Maybe I was a wannabe band geek?
3. What women from the past do you most identify with?
I should probably have something profound here, huh? My mind’s blank.
4. What’s your workout?
LOL!!! Ouch, I think I pulled something laughing. Maybe next time I’ll stretch first.
5. Cat or dog?
6. What do you do when you want to completely tune out?
I’m sorry, what was the question?
7. What book is sitting on your shelf waiting to be read?
Ugh, there are too many to list. I did just finish reading Madeline to my daughter, though. Does that count?
8. If you could have dinner with any two people, who would you choose?
I would choose someone who would make me laugh and someone who would foot the bill.
9. What is the one thing you want or do not want the next generation of girls to encounter?
Yo Gabba Gabba!
10. If there were one thing you could change in your life, what would it be?
I’m pretty sure I’d change some of these answers.
Dawn’s blog, BECAUSE I SAID SO, continues to be one of the funniest on the blogosphere. She has been invited to speak at conferences and test products. She has been invited to the red carpet with the cast of Friends and to media-only events. Dawn was recently dubbed by the Bloggers Choice Awards as the Best Parenting Blog and came in second for Best Humor Blog, fourth for Hottest Mommy Blogger and sixth for Best Blog of All Time. I am convinced my friend Dawn doesn’t sleep – ever!
Michelle Kemper Brownlow befriends other bloggers, most not as famous, on her own blog, My Semblance of Sanity, where she writes about her own three-kid-chaos in an attempt to stay out of therapy.