Friday, April 16, 2010

Anna Mitchael

Anna Mitchael is the author of Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am, a memoir that details her twentysomething experience living and working in cities across the country. A reformed nomad, Mitchael has now returned home to Texas. She will tolerate y’all but reserves the right to raise hell when anyone calls her ma’am. You can read the daily chronicles of her life (with a side of extra-spicy jalapenos, please) at her website.

A week ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
The real answer to your question? Right now I read lots of things I’d rather not spend so much of my time examining…like ingredient lists on the back of oatmeal boxes to make sure there’s no MSG (or other chemicals and additives I shouldn’t eat while pregnant) included, and pregnancy books with long, exaggerated lists of ALL THE THINGS THAT COULD GO WRONG IN PREGNANCY – SO BE PREPARED, and it also seems like every time I am in a public restroom I find myself reading the ‘It’s advised not to drink while you are pregnant’ sign for the eight bajillionth time.

Yeah, I already got that memo but thanks for reminding me of it a-gain. And come to think of it, the reason I feel like taking this sign off the wall and ripping it to shreds could be due to the fact that I haven’t had a glass of wine in eight months. ‘Attention restaurant patrons, if everyone could just ignore the pregnant lady in the bathroom who’s relieving stress in the only way that’s left to her and continue with your meal it would be much appreciated.’ (Let’s face it, once your unhealthy additives, caffeine and alcohol are gone – all you’re really left with is destruction of property).

The other real answer to your question is that in between my sign-shredding, and time spent promoting my new book, Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am, I’ve been stealing minutes here and there to read Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, I know that’s what most of America is reading right now so it isn’t the most exciting or earth-shattering answer ever given, but it’s what is on my nightstand (when it isn’t dropped in my purse or riding alongside me in the passenger seat.)

Even though I can’t read it as quickly as I’d like, it is what I’m reaching for in the spare moments. Besides being curious as to how one follows up a book with such phenomenal success as Eat, Pray, Love, I am like Elizabeth Gilbert in that I’m a ‘skeptic’ when it comes to certain aspects of marriage…. Note the fact that my boyfriend and I are completely committed to each other and are having a child together, yet have not been able to come to a point where we want to marry—even though we live in the middle of the Bible Belt and it ‘sure would make everyone a lot happier if we’d go ahead and get hitched’ (those quotes are from an actual conversation I had last week, and were not just invented by me).

I’m not expecting to walk away from Committed with resolution for my own conflicts or feelings about marriage, but I do think that part of the joy in memoir is reading how other human beings deal with and sort through issues that the larger part of the population would be happier sweeping under the table in favor of talk about tea. I like the messiness in the memoir, and Elizabeth Gilbert has proven time and again that she isn’t scared to expose her faults, so for that reason I am reading with an open mind —expecting that even if she doesn’t deliver a book that goes International quadruple bestseller again, at the very least she’ll deliver the truth, and that what she does with her truth will be a helluva lot more enjoyable than the ingredients in my oatmeal.
Visit Anna Mitchael's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue