Steam fills the room carrying with it the sweet, uplifting scent of citrus. Sheer white curtains sway with the incoming breeze off of the lake. The shimmer and glitter coming from the reflection of the glass chandelier on the sea coloured tile makes it feel like we're under the sea. Instead I'm sitting here, in my bathtub with author Marni Mann. She has graciously accepted my invitation to visit my bathtub to have a chat about her recent writing contributions to the anthology Write for the Fight. The book, co-authored by Tess Thompson Hardwick and Tracey Hansen asks four questions that take the readers through the seasons of their life: to reminiscing on their youth to forecasting what they would want people to say about them on their 80th birthday. It is a celebration of life, love and laughter with all proceeds being donated to breast cancer research.
So everyone, please help me welcome Marni Mann!
CE: Hi Marni. Thanks for joining me in my bathtub. How's the temperature for you?
MM: Hi Christina! It’s such a pleasure to be here. Your bathroom is absolutely beautiful and the water is a perfect temperature. Oh! Is that a jet I feel behind my back? Forgive me, but I may never leave.
CE: As you know, I spend a lot of time here in my tub. In fact this is where I read Write for the Fight. Do you have a favourite spot where you like to read?
MM: I do most of my reading in my screened-in lanai, sitting at the table, and facing the pool. Since I’m originally from Maine, I like to take full advantage of Florida’s weather and spend as much time as I can outside. When Amazon invents a waterproof Kindle, I might actually read in the pool. For now, glancing at the setting sun and glistening water between pages is an absolute treasure.
CE: As writers we can sometimes express our true thoughts and feelings through our characters and in doing so be 'behind the curtains'.
What was it like to reflect on your own life for this anthology? To question your past, present and future and then publish it for all to read? Was there a worry of being exposed at all?
MM: One of my favorite things about fiction is the ability to sprinkle myself all over the pages without the reader knowing. This is the first time I’ve been this honest in print. It was nerve-wracking and extremely emotional. I wasn’t sure how much of myself I would be willing to reveal. Worry follows honesty. Readers were going to be supporting this cause, one that’s close to my heart, and they deserved to hear the truth. It was a gamble, but one that I was happy to make.
CE: Was the writing process different for you? How?
MM: For each of my novels, I worked off an outline. I knew the points I had to cover in each chapter and I let the creative juices connect the dots. When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about what I was going to write.
For Write for the Fight, I didn’t have an outline. I didn’t think about the prompts at all. I opened the Word document, read the question three or four times, took a deep breath, and wrote. My thoughts were scattered and there was no flow. I purged on the page. The editing stage is when I concentrated on the mechanics, the quality of my writing, and the transitions between paragraphs.
CE: What did you learn about yourself through this writing process?
MM: The spring and summer essays (What do you miss about being 5 years old / what would you tell your 20-year-old self) were the easiest to write. I had a lot to cover and the words poured out of me. But those essays were also the most difficult, because it’s harder to reflect on the past than wish for the future. I learned that even though I’m now in my thirties, I still haven’t taken my own advice. I don’t practice what I preached in those essays.
CE: Based on what you learned, is there anything you would change about yourself or your life to prepare yourself more for how you see yourself at 80?
MM: I would start breathing. As odd as that sounds, I think I forget sometimes that we need air to survive. I do spend a lot of time outside, but I’m not sure how much of that fresh breeze I’m inhaling. I have a difficult time shutting my brain off, enjoying the moment without dwelling on the to-do list, and not multi-tasking during every minute I’m awake. I need to learn how to breathe again and appreciate each breath. You never know when it will be your last.
CE: Your drink getting kind of low. Can I top it up for you?
MM: Please, Christina, and thank you. You make an excellent margarita. You even remembered the extra salt--my favorite.
CE: Well, you know, this is a five-star bathtub! What drew you to becoming involved in this anthology?
MM: My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. I’ll never forget the day when she told my parents and me her diagnosis. She’s such a strong woman. She was much stronger than I was during that time. I was an emotional wreck while I watched the side effects of the chemotherapy. I’ll also never forget when the doctor said she was in remission. My hope is that more, if not all, women can have the same outcome as my aunt. My words could help that cause. I was honored and humbled to Write for the Fight.
CE: Your passion, love and insightfulness certainly came through the pages.
MM: Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Christina.
CE: Thank you so much for stopping by, Marni! You’re the first person I’ve have in my bathtub and I have to say it was a pleasure. Feel free to come back anytime!
MM: Thank you for having me! You've been such a gracious host and I've enjoyed every minute of my time with you.
Write For The Fight is available for the Amazon Kindle and on paperback.
It is also available on paperback at Barnes&Noble.
Remember all proceeds are being donated to breast cancer research.
About Marni Mann
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the
sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. A writer of literary
fiction, she taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos,
taking her readers on a dark, harrowing, and gritty journey. When she's
not nose deep in her laptop, she's scouring for chocolate, traveling,
reading, or walking her four-legged children. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales
is her first novel. The sequel, Scars from a Memoir, will be released