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I’m visiting with Jessica Yarger. She’s taking the time to talk writing with me. Jess is asking the questions and I’m giving the answers.

coffee_talk

What was it that prompted you to start writing?

I’ve actually been writing for years, mostly short stories and vignettes about family life. There is nothing funnier than the mundane, which is why Seinfeld was so successful. You know the saying: “The little things are the big things?” In my opinion, the little things are the funniest things. As a professional, as a parent, or as [insert your role/job here}, you are always going to experience the minutia of life. You can choose to take joy in it, or you can choose to let it bog you down. My husband and I have gotten through some of the roughest parenting moments so far by laughing ourselves silly. What I really want to do is laugh. And writing is the vehicle to get me there.

While doing the laundry one day (which is as mundane as it gets), I held up a dirty sock. I started to get frustrated because the sock was inside out and the offending child had been told over and over to make sure the socks are right-side out. Then I stopped and chuckled to myself as the phrase popped into my head, “I am not touching the sock.” I could’ve chosen to ignore the offending sock, throw it in the washer and move on, but the micro-choice just glared at me. I called down the boy in question… he righted the sock and threw it in the wash.

I froze in that moment, which I can only describe as a “God moment.” Some call it daydreaming. I call it space for God to speak. “Wake up! Now. Lin. Write ‘this.’ Write ‘this moment,’ and never stop.” We all need encouragement in this life to make those good micro-choices. Because positive small choices lead to positive bigger choices. As children…and as humans, it’s so much easier to digest these choices when they are offered with a smile and with a lightness. With a grain of encouragement. And with a whole bunch of silliness.

Who are some of your writing influences?

As I get older, my “haven’t read” pile keeps growing by leaps and bounds. When I was younger, I considered myself well-read. Funny how your perspective changes, right? I love reading every genre. Mysteries, science fiction, biographies, fantasies… The bigger the reveal the better. I tend to prefer fiction over nonfiction, but if it’s compelling, I’ll give it a chance. I’m not afraid of slow starts, either. Often, if you hang in there and consider the book as a whole, after you hit ‘The End,” you see that a slow start was necessary in balancing out a potentially quicker pace in the rest of the book. And then you’re glad that you hung in there!

What is your creative process like?

I start many of my projects by asking the question, “What would happen if…?” Like, “What would happen if pigs could actually fly?” Or, “Do bees really have knees?” Or, “Is the moon really made of green cheese?” Euphemisms are simply the best, because they represent the heartbeat of a particular people group–the meaning within a meaning. The juxtaposition of what is literally said—as opposed to what it figuratively means—lends itself to all sorts of humor. And when you pair that language with visuals, the words say something figuratively, but the pictures illustrate it literally. I find that hilarious. Since humor is the salve that soothes the burn, I like to rub those euphemisms all over my work whenever and wherever I can.

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