Today I’m so excited to bring you my interview with the one and only, Tracy Beckerman. I met Tracy at and Erma Bombeck Conference years ago. Fortunately, neither of us aged since then. Tracy is an award-winning journalist and author of three books. You will fall in love with her family and her dog…and her creatures. If only they had a llama!
TRACY BECKERMAN is an award-winning author, speaker, and syndicated humor columnist who has appeared on numerous TV shows, including NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning with Mo Rocca, and Good Day New York. Her honors for writing include the prestigious Writer’s Guild of America award, a CLIO, an International Film and Television award, and a New York Emmy®. She has been voted “America’s Top Blogger” by The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, has won a National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for humor writing, and was the Global Humor Award Winner of the coveted Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.
Anne: What was your inspiration for writing this book?
Tracy: I wrote this book for all the other moms who know that having fur in your food is a small price to pay for having a dog. I also wrote it as a thank you to Riley, who will always be a treasured part of our memories as a family. His legacy lives on… even if the family room rug he yakked on didn’t.
Anne: You love big dogs, but your husband liked smaller breeds. Surely that woman you met on a walk was a divine encounter. I’d never heard of a non-shedding Flat Coated Retriever. Who knew?
Tracy: Oh! He shed! He shed a lot! But it was black fur so it wasn’t as noticeable until the balls got so big they looked like mice. Or tumbleweeds. It depended on how long it had been since I vacuumed. At one point a ball of fur got so large we thought there was a woodchuck loose in the house and we called animal control. That’s when we knew we couldn’t just vacuum the house… we had to start vacuuming the dog.
Anne: Riley’s Woobie addiction was hilarious. A 12 Step Program to cure his addiction? He didn’t even know he was powerless! Where did that thought come from?
Tracy: I myself have a chocolate addiction, so I could relate to Riley’s struggles. Of course, his Woobie was a stuffed hedgehog and my kryptonite is dark chocolate-covered almonds, but I could empathize just the same. We think it probably started for him as just a small amount of Woobie, but as he got older, there was a great deal more Woobie-ing and we realized he’d become powerless over the Woobie. So, we did an intervention and helped him realize he had a problem. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end… until he found another Woobie.
Anne: Can you tell us a little about your writing habits? You mentioned an empty nest in the last part of the book that was very touching. I could have cried. Your description and emotions came through so real. What’s your process to create that feeling?
Tracy: My writing habits are terrible. I’m incredibly undisciplined and actually write best when I am up against a deadline. I know there are lots of people who say you should set aside time each day to write and silence all the distractions and be very consistent with your time. I can’t just sit down to write. Nothing comes. I work best when there is a gun to my head.
(I’m really a horrible role model! LOL!) In terms of creating an emotion in my writing, I just write what I felt at the time that I am describing, and it often comes out as something real and relatable.
Anne: I‘m wondering if there’s something in your drinking water that makes your family so comical and charming with a dog, a lizard, and a chinchilla? You can’t make up stories like yours.
Tracy: There must have been something in the water that made me crazy for having a dog, a lizard, and a chinchilla. Also, don’t forget about the four goldfish named Larry. I may have considered other kinds of animals had I given it more thought because the dog thought the chinchilla was a squirrel and the dog hated squirrels. Of course, my daughter wanted a llama!
Anne: About those pets, a constipated lizard named Einstein? How did that name come to be?
Tracy: My son thought the lizard looked really smart, so he named him Einstein. I thought, if he was so smart, how come he couldn’t buy his own food and clean his own cage? Then again, maybe he was smart because he got me to do it all for him. Actually, that was my son who got me to do all that stuff. So maybe I should have named my son Einstein.
I love you, Mom!
I loved Barking at the Moon! I wanted to go get a pup immediately. Then I thought perhaps I should try a chinchilla,, but they are very warm. as in fur coat. I think I’ll start with four goldfish and I’ll name them all Moe. Thanks for the inspiration, Tracy!
Treat yourself to Tracy’s books. Each one is humorous and a fast read. You’ll feel like your having a glass of wine with your best girlfriend. And you will laugh out loud. Enjoy!