Posts Tagged ‘Sugar Milk’

The guys at DadLabs are funny folks, except they kept asking me if I wanted to see their “Bunsen Bruners,” and, frankly, I’m not into that kinda stuff. Especially with a camera rolling and all.

But I did take them up on their offer to interview me along with fellow “dad authors” Ron Mattocks (Sugar Milk) and Danny Evans (Rage Against the Meshugenah). Ron and Danny are both incredible writers not to mention super-funny and extremely cool. Make sure you visit their sites and learn more about their books. And don’t be afraid to visit my book’s site. You can buy Tales from the Trips direct for only $9.00 — price good for a limited time — as well as on Amazon.

Now, here’s that interview.

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What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

If the old adage is true, no wonder author Ron Mattocks doubles as Superman on his popular blog, Clark Kent’s Lunchbox. Because after losing a wife to a divorce, his sons to a custody battle, and his high-paying job to the economy, Mattocks has somehow become stronger than ever. He chronicles his amazing story of change in Sugar Milk–What One Father Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka.

Three things become evident about Mattocks within the first few pages.

Number one: In a world filled with phonies, Ron Mattocks is the real deal. He hides behind nothing as he details insecure feelings of fatherly failure which overtook him while he watched his family ship sink thanks to his painful divorce.

Number two: Ron’s writing is next level, powerful enough to actually bring his readers aboard that ship with him, leaving them lost and forlorn as they go down alongside the captain, himself.

Number three: Ron is uncommonly funny and the possessor of a razor-sharp wit–able to seamlessly blend humility and humor, as evidenced by his sinking ship metaphor, which he turns on a dime:

I didn’t view myself as a ship captain, but rather, something closer to a shift manager at a Long John Silvers.

Each of the next fifteen chapters tells a tale–the end result, a beautiful collage which was destined to rise from the wreckage, every picture painted by the author’s evolving perspective. Mattocks’s versatility is on full display, both as a writer, and as a man, as he transforms from newly divorced dad, to dot-com dater, to single-mom suitor, to stepdad, and finally, to stay at home dad. Readers will devour every word as they go on this wild ride with him, pausing only to laugh.

But between the laughs, Mattocks will also make his readers think by deftly turning hysterical accounts of mundane fatherly experiences into something else entirely. On the one hand, the chapter “This Isn’t Kindergarten Anymore,” is about his older stepdaughter preparing her younger sister for kindergarten, while simultaneously developing an aversion to the comparatively difficult first grade. But on the other, it’s about transitions in general, Mattocks’s own in specific.

The reality of first grade had hardened in her mind like concrete: the whimsy of last year was now paved over by new challenges that replaced those golden papers asking happy questions about her day. It was her sister’s turn for all that now. But that’s how the cycle works–we take what we know to the next level, leaving behind past memories as we go on to face those yet to be lived. I could have said something to that effect, But Allie didn’t need any reminders that she wasn’t in kindergarten anymore.

At that instant we drove by the office building of the company that had laid me off six months ago. I knew how she felt.

Me personally? I’m glad Ron lost his corporate job. Because this hilarious collection of well written stories define him far better than any six figure job ever could. Sugar Milk can be purchased on Amazon, as well as in select bookstores across the country. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Oh, and if you’re on the fence for the upcoming M3 Summit in Atlanta, perhaps this will sway you. Ron will be on a panel alongside other authors / bloggers, and will be sharing his experiences on topics ranging from social media to fatherhood.

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Last week, I ran part I of my interview with Ron Mattocks, author of the fantastic book, Sugar Milk, and the man behind the extremely popular “daddy blog,” Clark Kent’s Lunchbox. For those of you who’ve never read any of Ron’s stuff before, I recommend you check him out. It won’t take long for his distinct voice and superior writing to suck you in. I also recommend you buy his book. I had the pleasure of reading it before it was released, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reviewing it sometime next week.

In the meanwhile, check out part II of my conversation with one of my favorite writers, my buddy, Ron Mattocks.

Lots of people believe they have a book inside of them, but few ever actually write it. Why do you think that is? When did you decide to write yours? And what was it about Sugar Milk that demanded to be written?

Everyone has a interesting book in them that defines their uniqueness as a person, but where the separator comes is convincing yourself that people want to hear that story. Once you can do that then it takes courage, passion and discipline to get it on paper. That’s the next hurdle. I started Sugar Milk about six months after started feeling sorry for myself over losing my job. I felt like the experience had to written about because there were so many others like me out there being laid off and stuck at home with the kids. My hope was that Sugar Milk would show they weren’t alone in their feelings, and they could have fun with it too. I also wanted to have something to show for my time off, and more importantly, I wanted to have something tangible to leave behind for my kids to see that I loved them.

(The following question asked with tongue firmly planted in cheek.) Your man crush on the uber-sanctimonious Chris Martin of Coldplay is well documented. (Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but Ron does admit the he loves Coldplay, so you do the math.) Me personally? I’d rather mud-wrestle with Adam Lambert than sit across the table from that self-absorbed clown. He’s like Sting multiplied by Bono. Squared. What is it about him that evokes such drastically differing opinions? And what is it about him that you like so much?

Hahaha! That’s the most hilarious question anyone’s ever asked me! Actually I’m not a big Chris Martin fan. I like the band and the music, but beyond that, eh. I know a lot of people things they’re… a less than manly band, so really I play up my fandom as a self-effacing gimmick. Truth is  I’m more of a Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, sort of guy.

You and I have both written memoirs. Part of that process means putting yourself out there a little. Does that ever concern you? If so, how do you deal with those concerns?

Sure. It’s scary opening up like that. Friends and family in my hometown that haven’t heard from me in years are going to have their image of me shattered. Others are going to laugh at me for all my dating blunders and some are going to see me as a cry-baby over my depression-induced confessions. But being vulnerable also makes us real to others and that’s what people can relate to; so if people can find something in the story they can connect with then that’s the payoff in putting myself out there.

Now that you’ve been out there for a while, you’ve become pretty well-known by much of the blogging community. Do you find there are any mis-perceptions out there about you? If so, what are they?

I’m sure there are all kinds of mis-perceptions about me out there. Blogs to a large extent mimic our personalities, so if there are mis-perceptions about me with those I have physical contact with then I’m sure there are mis-perceptions about me in the blogosphere. But if there are any consistent ones out there, I don’t know what they would be. Why, what have you heard?

Any advice for new bloggers out there?

Of course this is just an opinion, but the maxims I’ve learned over three years of this is: 1, Find/fit into a community; 2, forget about compensation; 3, focus on good content.

Beach or mountains? Boxers or briefs? Steak or chicken? Drama or comedy?

Mountains with water view. Boxer-briefs. Chicken Fried Stake. Damady. – I pride myself on seeing both sides of an issue.

What is Sugar Milk about? One sentence.

How many conjunctions can I use? Okay. Clueless dad liberally uses sense of humor to overcome life obstacles and selfishness to become a better father and stronger person.

Thanks to you, John for having me and to John’s readers for reading my drivel.

Ron, the pleasure was all mine. And thank you, my good man, for all your fine work.

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