In a shameless display of nepotism, this week’s Smarty Mom is a member of my beloved writing group. She’s one of the most engaging people I know, producing witty and hilarious columns, blogs, and even books the way other people produce carbon dioxide. If that’s not enough, she’s raising two boys apparently without aging at all. Please meet…Tracy Curtis.
Smarty Mom: Tracy Curtis
Dating: Andrew Plepler
Children: Colton (13) and Fletcher (9)
Years in Charlotte: 15
Originally from: Greensboro, NC
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
Tell me about your pre-Charlotte past.
After graduating from UGA, I spent 15 years working in radio, television and film, which included producing for CNN, Field-Producing for Entertainment Tonight, working on movie sets in LA and managing radio stations in Charleston.
Any celebrity dishing you can share?
Well – Melanie Griffith can drop an F-bomb between syllables; Tom Hanks is the nicest person in Hollywood and prefers to eat with the crew; Rosie O’Donnell will never eat Wendy’s again after being food poisoned on the set of Now and Then; John Cleese really is that brilliant; and Kyle Chandler is a good kisser (summer stock in the 80’s – but he kissed all the girls, he was the only heterosexual in the cast).
How did you become a writer for the Observer?
Total fluke. Ten years ago, I won a local Fox TV contest and was sent to cover the American Idol finale the year Carrie Underwood won. The Charlotte Observer asked me to blog from behind-the-scenes and when I got back, they told me I was funny and wanted me to blog about being 40 and pregnant. Once that blog ended, they offered me the opportunity to write a weekly family humor column and the rest is history.
It’s hard to write a family column without mentioning your family. And having two sons must be an endless source of material. How do they handle being the subject of articles and blogs read by thousands of people?
I think they get a kick out of it. They enjoy their celebrity by association, but honestly they rarely read my stuff. I remember the day Fletcher asked me what sarcasm is and I knew it was only a matter of time before he realized he was drowning in it.
Tell me a little bit about your upcoming projects.
I just published the first book in my Humor Me series, which will be a series of gift books, all collections of past columns. Holidazed is a collection of Christmas essays. Next up, Trophy Mom, to be released Mother’s Day; Beach Bummed, coming this summer; School Dazed, will be a back-to-school release and then Holidazed will be refreshed and re-released for Christmas. Whew.
What’s a typical day for you?
A 6:30 alarm starts the day making two breakfasts (at different times) and then two lunches (at different times) and putting kids on two buses (at different times). An hour workout, coffee, and then I start writing something until the boys get home (again, at different times). Then I drive sports carpools (at different times) and we hopefully all end up at home for dinner together. Unless it’s Tues or Thur, in which case dinner is – you guessed it – at different times.
Honestly, I read more columnists than authors due to time constraints (see above). I love Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins, both of the New York Times, and of course, Dave Barry of the Miami Herald. And I enjoy biographies that give me that feeling of I’m not doing anything with my life. It motivates me.
What’s the best date spot in Charlotte?
I fell in love with Andrew on Vivace’s outdoor patio, so it has my vote.
And no article about you would be complete without a mention of your insanely brilliant writing group. Please share your thoughts:
Well, it’s not a writing group. It’s a sisterhood. It feeds, supports, inspires and motivates me. Creative people are fragile, insecure, self-loathing crazy people, so we need each other. We lift each other up when we beat ourselves down, and without this group I’d be down below the street pavement. I’m serious.
You can find Tracy’s new Christmas book, Holidazed, at online book sellers and in Charlotte at Park Road Books. To read more about Tracy, check out her website, below:
Tracy Lee Curtis