About Me

I, Catherine M. Park, am mother to these little monkeys. Before taking on their upbringing as my primary activity in life, I was a writer by trade. I like to consider myself now a “dormant” writer. That is, at some point in the near future, I will begin real writing again. In my heyday I completed an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia. While doing that, I rubbed elbows with lots of fancy writers in New York, and for two years I worked as the amanuensis to eminence grise Diana Trilling. I also drafted a book-length memoir about my unconventional 1970’s childhood, much of which took place on an island in the Mississippi River.

After grad school, I married my true love Ben Vail, and moved with him from New York to Cleveland, where he returned to work for a family business. About the same time, I landed a major agent, and all seemed to really be getting exciting. I wrote some small book reviews for the New York Times Book Review, other papers, and Kirkus Reviews. I worked writing ad copy for a bank as my day job. But then things went awry: my rewrite of my manuscript took a long time to complete, the agent moved on without me; I got a new agent, lost that one to ocean fly-fishing; got another agent, and then ground to halt. After five years of disappointment, I decided to shift my focus to on another major life goal–  having babies. There too, things did not go seamlessly. But ultimately Isaac and Elias were here in my life, running amok and keeping things interesting.

I started blogging in 2003, when Isaac was 8 months old, and everyone was like “huh? What’s a blog?” Over the past 7 years, “mommy blogs” have sprung up and draped themselves over everything like kudzu. Mine is not really in the mainstream, and I like it that way. I tend to post only a couple times a month, when something worthwhile happens, and I tend to spend a little time crafting a post into a coherent piece on its own. My blog is also not big on pictures. On the one hand I worry that someone will abduct the children. On the other, I’m technically challenged. This means that my entries are longer than most, and expect the reader to, well, read. You know, words… text… that type of thing. If you’re distracted by shiny objects, you might not like it here.

I should add that our life and my blog got a sidetracked in recent years by some health issues. The short version is that in the spring of 2009, I got an ear infection that went very wrong. It resulted in damage to my balance nerve on my left side, and went on to create a chain reaction of migraine syndrome (dizziness) and POTS (low-blood pressure dizziness). I was misdiagnosed a few times, and saw a LOT of doctors. The whole experience left me pretty damn dizzy and impaired for coming up on two years. I’m hoping now that this is coming to a close, but since some of my readers are from the dizzy/vestibular community, and some have POTS, and some have migraines, and I write about all those things from time to time, thought I’d better mention it.

My blog has become a long narrative of our lives. I write it mostly for myself, because my writing energy needs an outlet. I don’t do anything to advertise or promote it. It’s not flashy. But toiling in this quiet way over the years I have developed a modest following. Sometime soon I’m going to collect the best entries and give them to the kids. It’s really a slow-moving book about them. Thanks for stopping in to watch it evolve.

This is me:

Self-portrait with Elias, summer '10

2 Responses to About Me

  1. I found you through Shoshana Socher. My husband and I just moved here, like JUST moved here. When I saw in your comment on Shoshana’s page that you are doing the NaNoWriMo challenge, I had to write. So am I. But get this . . . I am NOT a fiction writer, and really not even a writer at all. I love to blog (there are reasons I started that that are not at all connected with why I continue.) At any rate, I’m just dropping in to say ‘hello, and happy to meet you!’ :-)

    Chana/Cecelia Rogow-Futch

  2. Lee says:

    Catherine –
    Thank you for sitting in for Rex today. By the way, you had a wrong letter in your solve today. 15 across – in order to get the NYTimes to give the thumbs up – had inFer not inVer. Just thought I’s give you a heads up. Can’t be easy to sit in for the King!

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