When I first clicked over to "A Duck and Her Pond" months ago, I confess I wasn't sure what to think. I had never seen a blog quite like it - it was (and is) an amalgamation of whimsical, ongoing stories that appeared to be children's fables, lighthearted personal remembrances, and scrumptious-looking recipes, all as presided over by one opinionated Chihuahua named Queen Bitty.
Intrigued, I continued to read, and The Pond quickly became one of my favorite reads, my daily dose of whimsy. The tales of Miranda, aka The Blond Duck, are childlike in the highest sense of the term, but she masterfully weaves in a greater, adult significance to each. If this lady doesn't get a children's book deal, the world is the poorer for it.
Plus, her blog design might be the most darling thing I've ever seen. And I'm secretly hoping that she'll teach me how to cook. And we both refer to you all as our "Invisible Friends". So, my Invisible Internet Friends, let's learn more about The Blond Duck:
What inspired her to start blogging:
Thanks! Honestly, the real answer is I'm a nerd. A little duckie nerd. Senior year of college, I stumbled across some popular blogs through the IVillage site and was hooked. I started my own blog a month after graduation and after I had written my first book, sure that some literary agent would recognize my brilliance, give me a large book deal so I'd never have to work in an office and would print whatever my crazy little mind spit out. I called myself the Blond Duck because I had a mild rubber duckie obsession in college, and wrote whimsical short stories about arguing birds, talking butterflies, and the GLUG, a Ginoumous Lime Green Unusual Gnat who landed on my husband's windshield one day and never left.
I wrote for about two years with just my parents and friends as readers. And then one dark January day at work, stuck in a dreadful job and disapointed that two books and several near-bites later that I was not published; I found Marie at A Year at Oak Cottage's blog.She had a fairy cake as her first post. Everything was pink and shiny and cheerful. I fell in love and left a comment babbling about how lovely she and her blog were. She left me an equally beaming comment and we became great friends. Through her, I met more and more food bloggers and suddenly my blog went from being read by my parents to ten people. Then twenty. Then many more.
The kindness and warm hearts of food bloggers and their children still make up a large part of my Invisible Friends today. While I had spent months visiting blogs and leaving comments, until Marie and my foodie Invisible Friends, everyone else thought I was an odd duck. Literally.
How she manages her daily posting schedule along with her journalism career:
I work as a writer for a major metropolitan newspaper in Texas. But I'm not a mean reporter--I do fun, fluffy features. I post in the mornings at 4:30 a.m. before I go work out and sometimes write as well in the evenings if my husband's working late. I post at least two or three days in advance--it works for me.
On weekends, I work on my novel(s) and submit short stories to contests. I just submitted a children's book to a contest and am about to submit another children's book to a few companies. I'm also working on printing a new book through Blond Duck press, an illustrated children's book.
I don't get out much, obviously.
(1) How she learned how to be such a good cook; and (2) (Pretty Note: This next question comes directly from the Anonymous Husband) Will she teach the Pretty how to cook?
Oh Pretty, you're so sweet. I'm not a fantastic chef. I follow recipes really well and have learned over time to adapt them. I wouldn't dare try to teach you how to truly cook--though if you'd like to learn how to fry chicken and bake a pie, I'm pretty good at that.
I started cooking in college, because I'm actually a secret health nut. I couldn't stand the idea of eating in the cafeteria or Wendy's every night after freshman year, and I got really burned out on PBJs and grilled cheeses. The idea of frozen dinners and pizzas made me want to hurl. Ben and I would create dinners together. I lost 25 lbs, while he gained 30.
And just in case you think I just picked up a recipe book and created brilliance in minutes, Ben can tell you all about the time I served a dinner party of ten raw fried chicken that was burned on the outside and frozen in the center, charred grilled cheeses, raw brownies from a box mix and burned canned soup. I burned CANNED soup, ya'll. Enough said.
So really, my cooking is really Darwin's survival theories at work.
Where she finds blogging inspiration:
I have no idea what inspires me to write my Never Ending Stories. I can tell you what inspired each one, but I never know whatwill inspire me. For example, Twirl was inspired by a story I did for work about a dancehall. Ben had offered to take me dancing there one evening, and I wrote a little short story. My Invisible Friends wanted more. So my little short story has turned into a mammoth Never Ending story. For the Gift, it was right after Christmas and I was wondering what would be in a box that would be a perfect present for any woman. And you'll get a kick out of this one, Pretty, the Coconut Queen was inspired because I decided one day I wanted to run for Mrs. Texas. Everyone ignored me. So I decided if I couldn't run, I'd write a story about someone who could. (Pretty Note: Attagirl - love it!)
As far as food posts go, it's whatever I find that's tasty. And for my random odes to things and hosting puppy balls and admitting to Chihuahua aerobics, I have no idea. I'll literally be daydreaming, think of something, scribble it down on one of the millions of Post it Notes that hold my life together and doodle along.
I couldn't live without post it notes. Mine are currently pink and heart shaped. (Pretty Note: Me neither! Mine are pink & green with wee alligators, courtesy of Mrs. News Readin'.)
Some hobbies outside of blogging:
I work out ALL the time--running and kickboxing and weight lifting. I dance every day, because I believe it's healthy for the soul. And before you think I'm an elegant ballerina, please note I flail about the living room giddily in clothes covered with peanut butter and dog hair in the most inelegant fashion possible. Although I did take dance for years and years. It was probably a big waste of money.
I also scrapbook and read everything I can get my hands on. One of these days, I want to try my hand at illustrating my books. I did a lot of art in high school, and I have a suspicion I left my art talent back in 2002.
Her goals for the next five years, both personally, professionally, and for the Pond:
Personally, in five years we'll probably be starting a family or have started one. Queen Bitty will be terrorizing everyone and Bear will be wuffling.
(Pretty Note: Behold Queen Bitty, puppy monarch on the right, and the wuffly Bear to the left)
I'm hoping to have established my children's writing career and be able have a good relationship with a publishing company. I also want to have printed several of my "bath tub books"--shorter novels for women that are whimsical stories that take them out of their every day routine. They would be short enough to read during a nice long bubble bath or a soccer game, but longer than a novella or short story.
As for my blog, I hope to have more Invisible Friends that enjoy visiting the Pond and reading my stories! I also hope to print several of my Never Ending stories into books through a printing service for those who enjoy reading off-screen.
The Blond Duck is a native Texan (originally from Austin!) living in Texas - is there anywhere else she & Mr. Duck would like to live?
The only other place I'd want to live is Colorado, and that's only in the summer. Maybe the beach when hurricane season wasn't in question. But you'd have to pry my cold cowboy boots out of this hard Texas dirt. Now Ben, or Mr. Duck, will go anywhere if you pay him enough and it's not unethical/ immoral/ the surface of the sun. If someone said, "Ben, I'd like you to live on this mountain in the middle of an ocean with only the Blond Duck, the babies and this warbling Wildebeast for company for a million dollars a year," he would do it. No matter how miserable I made him whining.
What she would want a new reader to know before clicking over to the Pond:
There are no bad days in the Pond--just sunshine, puppies, whimsy and magical stories with a extra big slice of pie. A la mode, of course.
Thanks for playing, Miranda! Everyone, please immediately run over to the Pond and say hello here.
Note: If you would also like the ginormously prestigious and world famous honor of being a Friday Feature blogger, please peruse my guidelines here and leave me a comment, including your email address. Thanks!