Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Ashley Allen, Member of the Month for July, is known as three-monkeys on SMITH, and has written more than 500 stories, in nearly every section of SMITH. One of her longer, most personal stories is found in The Moment project. “A Conversation with My Dad” is a tribute to the stalwart yet awkward support of her father in the days preceding her teenage abortion. “It was the first time I’d written about the experience since it happened twenty years ago,” says Allen. “When I wrote about it, it was a relief, and I was able to forgive myself a little for the choice I made.”
Allen, who contributes to SMITH from Leesburg, VA, keeps busy raising her three young sons. “I have my hands full,” she says. “I know this for a fact because I hear it all the time from strangers observing me at Target.” Yet she still makes time to pursue her two big dreams: write a book and become a rock star. Recently, rocker/writer Ashley Allen took a few minutes out of her day to answer six questions from SMITH Magazine contributing editor Vivian Chum.
How did you first come to start writing on SMITH Magazine?
I saw a link that one of my friends posted on Facebook to the Six-Word Memoir page. I joined, came up with my first memoir, hit “submit,” and by some act of God, I actually won “Memoir of the Day” the following day!
What do you enjoy most about being part of this community?
I joined not knowing a thing about it, but when I actually started exploring SMITH, I realized that it was going to be my new favorite hangout. The member writers are witty, creative, and overall very supportive. I’ve made some friends who actually know more about me than people who’ve known me for years. Also, the different writing projects that SMITH offers are inspiring and really motivating, which is vital to a writer who is prone to slumps (like me!).
What was your father’s response to “A Conversation with My Dad”?
Two months after posting it on SMITH, I emailed the story to my dad, my whole body braced as I hit the “send” button. Still a man of few words, he emailed back to me: “I’ve always wondered if you thought we did the right thing.” So, now we at least have the beginnings of a dialogue about it.
Tell us more about your aspirations to write a book and become a rock star?
My dream is to have the guts, time, and talent to write a book. And finish it. Let’s just forget about publishing it, for the time-being. Just to get the thing written would be a dream come true. Lastly, since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. At 36 years old, some part of this is still true!
What’s your plan?
I got a guitar for my birthday, and now just need to learn how to play the thing. I own a karaoke machine with a bazillion karaoke CDs, and I occasionally visit our local karaoke dive and bring down the house. I should mention that bringing down the house is so do-able when you bring your own entourage/audience with you, but still!
Finally, Ashley Allen, what’s your Six-Word Memoir?
First dream: rock star. Now, writer.