Monday, February 7, 2011

Sure I'm trailer-trash- Do you have a problem with that?

One of the hardest questions that has plagued my writing has simply been, "What do I write about?"

I have often heard the advice, "Write about what you know."

Well, when I started writing and really putting my mind to it, I was only twenty-one.

Basically, all I knew was high school, college, and a few European countries I'd visited during college.

I didn't have very much to say for myself. I made myself write anyway with some good results, but nothing really stellar.

Starting this blog last year gave me an excellent lab to bounce my ideas off of readers.

By far my most popular peices have been about the wacky situations I manage to get myself into. I'm not a stupid person, but sometimes....I do some very silly things.

Anyway, I'm twenty-seven now and the past six years have helped me come up with some new ideas that I think will be very successful.

My husband and I have been building our own home and living in a 30 foot trailer in my in-law's front yard for the past 4 years. We have been saving every dime we can in the meantime.

We crush toilet paper rolls, wash plastic bags, save aluminum foil, shop at thrift stores, tolerate dial-up internet, etc.

In a few months, we will be completely debt free when we pay off my last student loan.

In a year, we will be living in our house, and it will be completed in two years.

My husband and his father are doing all the labor for the housebuilding themselves and we have not taken out any loans or put any building materials on credit.

This means that when the house is done, we won't have a mortgage. I will be 29, and my husband will be 36.

Needless to say, most people in our age group and with our education level won't be mortgage free until at least their 50's. They will still be paying on their mortgages when we are sitting back, enjoying our paid-for house.

Now that the house if finally coming together, I have begun telling some of my teacher friends about our plan.

At least three times in the last few months, people have said to me,

"That's incredible. You should write a book about that."

After the third person mentioned it, I thought, "They're right. I totally should."

So now I know what my new venture will be. It's going to be light-hearted, autobiographical, but at times painful in a funny way. I'll share all my embarassing failures like trying to bake whole wheat sourdough bread in a trailer with a broken oven, trying to collect cat-tail pollen to save money on flour, and even my ill-fated Ebay store that has done nothing but cost us money since I started it.

The only trouble is some of the most painfully funny characters in the story are still alive and I'm not sure just how to deal with that diplomatically. Also, the story hasn't really ended yet. There are still embarassing, painful, hard, and funny things yet to happen.

So we will see what happens. But I think the idea has a lot of potential.

What should I call it? "Sure I'm trailer trash- do you have a problem with that?" "Yes, Virginia, you can be debt-free in America, " "Living in a 30-foot trailer in my in-law's yard: Yes, it's as bad as it sounds."

Hmm...those are not quite perfected yet. What do you think? What would you title my book?


  1. now that is going to be a good read..:)

  2. A Fight for Survival? Against All the Odds?
    Surrounded by Four Walls? Living outside the In-Laws? Painful and Funny?
    Hmmm.. not much better.

  3. if it were me, i'd write the book first, then title it.
    i think the best titles come unexpectedly somewhere
    mid-story at that lull before the momentum really picks
    up. but that's just me.

  4. Memoirs of Trailor Trash

    Cattail flour, Trailers, and Broken Ovens:
    Memoirs of a spend-thrift

    Tomorrow's Millionares Today

    Tales of a Neurotic Tightwad

    Putting My Money Where My Mouth is:
    Living Purposefully Poor in America

    Living the Dream:
    Two Idealists Trying to Build a Home

    There's a lot more where those came from!
    I think its sounds like an awesome book, and since you have already written parts of it (the pieces you have published), it should come together nicely.

  5. By the way, I hope none of those sounded hurtful, I was trying to be funny, not to label you meanly.

  6. Heehee, great ideas, everybody! So far my favorites are:
    Tomorrow's Millionaires Today
    Living outside the In-Laws.
    Thanks for the input, Livintheblues, Superhero, Carol Ann and Carolyn.

    Carolyn- you succeeded in being funny, not hurtful.:)

  7. Carolyn, those were really funny suggestions!

    Sandy, I really like this idea! It reminds me of the time that Carol wrote and read her story about her adventures in Wavelengths trying to buy flippers. Hilarious! It would even be kinda cute and funny if you just added some of these stories to your book in their post form.

  8. What a great memoir project! Love some of the title suggestions you've been getting. When the perfect one comes to you, you'll know it!

    Thanks so much for the follow! I look forward to reading more from you :))

  9. I'm not sure what to call it, but you can always change the names to protect the innocent and thereby keep you painfully funny characters. Keep writing! Your mother's not the only one who thinks you're a good writer! Please visit me at I'm a musician who blogs about creativity. Would love to hear from you.

  10. I'd keep the characters, but be sure to talk to their real-world counterparts. It may help you feel better about writing them and you can protect yourself against libel risks, if you can get their permission. Writing about actual people is always tricky.

  11. That sounds like a great idea. I'd definitely read it.

  12. Dear Sandy,
    I have enjoyed hearing about your antics up there so much already. I Like living outside the Inlaws myself also but I agree with Linquist you must be careful not all chapters have to be in the first book.This has a very Erma Bombeck feel about it and she cracked me up. Write on! Mamasita

  13. I can't beat the titles already mentioned above but I think a book about your experience would be fantastic. Put it this way, it would be unique.

  14. What an adventure and accomplishment! I would want to read about it, esp knowing how it all ends! Good luck!

  15. I know that you are going to write an awesome book! I look forward to reading it.

  16. You rock. People in less than perfect situations that just sit there and wallow make my blood boil. You have a plan for getting out.