Calgary blogger and Twitter queen Kelly Oxford, 33, has a lot going on these days. The mother of three (Salinger, 9; Henry, 7; and Beatrix, 2) has just signed a deal with HarperCollins to write a memoir, and has a sitcom in development with CBS which Jessica Alba is co-executive producing. Still, the Edmonton-born stay-at-home mom manages to regularly post her snarky, straight-up observational Tweets to her more than 100,000 followers - Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel and Roger Ebert among them.
She tweets about motherhood ("The worst part about having kids is that they magnify every single thing that's wrong with you. And they wake up early."); pop culture and the topical ("Julianne Moore probably took the role of Sarah Palin because actors win awards for playing handicapped people."); and all of the above (" "Does this guy talking about waves think we're stupid? Is this the news for grown-ups?" My 9 yr old watching CNN ").
The keyboard is clearly where Oxford shines. But that's not why she asks The Globe's Marsha Lederman to conduct an interview by e-mail. She has a wicked flu and a toddler demanding her attention. A conversation will be impossible.
What can you tell me about the book?
I wanted to call it Whenever I Feel Intimidated By Someone I Imagine Them Drinking Out Of A Hamster Water Bottle, but only so everyone who reads the cover could, for one moment, have that visual of someone who intimidates them drinking out of a hamster water bottle. But now that your readers are all doing that, I no longer have the urge. It's so early, I don't really have the title locked in yet.
The book will be a compilation of narrative essays that document the more monumental things that have happened in the first 33 years of my life.
How will it differ from other mommy memoirs out there?
I wouldn't call it a mommy memoir, so it will be very, very different from a mommy memoir.
How did the TV show Mother of All Something come about?
My friend Jhoni Marchinko (Emmy award-winning writer, producer) and I would talk on the phone, and the more we talked, the more she told me I should develop some of what I was living as a young mother into a spec pilot, as a writing sample, to try to get an agent. Within a week of finishing writing the script, [Hollywood agency]WME called about representing me. I told them I had the sample, gave it to them and they said it was saleable.
How did Jessica Alba get involved?
Jessica followed me on Twitter, she asked me for my number, we started to talk. She was interested in working together because she identified with my style of writing, my voice as a mother. She loved the pilot and offered to help and support my work in any way. We became friends really quickly.
Have you really been blogging since 1997? Does that make you some sort of Internet pioneer?
Yes! None of my peers were online. I'd tell them about it and they'd think I was an idiot. But I was obsessed with CB radios as a kid, so the Internet was a logical progression. My mom was taking an arts course at the University of Alberta and had an Internet account I'd always use. I was a Geocities homesteader! And my neighbourhood (that's how you chose your blog page) was Hollywood.
Is it intimidating having followers on Twitter like Howard Stern and Roger Ebert? Cool? Exciting? (Insert adjective here.)
It's very cool that they are interested in the opinion of a Canadian housewife, I think it's important for women to understand that you can be you and put your kids first. I always get the "You have kids?!" and I think to myself, what is it about having kids that would make a person less interesting or entertaining? I think having people in esteemed entertainment positions following me is a really great, large-scale way to validate the existence of the interesting housewife. Because, clearly, there are millions of us out there.
Can you tell me about your pre-motherhood self?
I met my husband when I was 20 and he was 27; we decided to have kids when I was 22 and I've been a full-time mother since then. When I was 18, I went to a three-day Robert McKee seminar and decided to be a screenwriter. I sat down to write and realized that in the last few years of partying (I had a fake ID and very sweet and trusting parents), I'd really stalled in growth. I couldn't come up with anything I was proud of that I wanted to share. So I cleaned up my act, moved to Calgary and ended up meeting my husband while working at a diner.
Has the writing - and your sense of humour - been helpful in keeping your sanity (if, indeed, you have) as a stay-at-home mother?
Ha. It's everything. It helps me, it helps my husband, it helps the kids. We're all like that. Laughing is the thing that gets you through. Laughing and sleep are the things that get you through.
This interview has been condensed and edited.