Author and badass Kysa Kelleher
I was recently in a children's store in Portland when I saw a book titled, Say it Once: The No Bullshit Guide to Parenting by Kysa Kelleher. I thought, Hey I know her! I've done commercial photography work for her husband, and then took hilarious photos for their family for a Brady Bunch themed holiday card. I knew she and her husband have SIX kids, so she probably had some interesting things to say about parenting. Also, she is wicked smart. So I bought it, and after reading a few chapters I had to dig up her email address to tell her how RAD the book is and how authentic her voice in it is. This woman is speaking my language! The whole time I'm reading it I'm thinking, yes! exactly! tell me more! Don't you just love books like that?
Kysa and I began developing a closer relationship via Instagram. Which is so weird, but it actually does happen and is a reason I continue to love IG over other social media channels. It has good energy. People are cool to eachother there. Anyway, I knew I had to profile her. Writing is a creative goal that many people have or are interested by and I knew we needed to hear Kysa's story.
My first question to Kysa was why she wrote a book about parenting:
When I first got my stepson, Ian, I thought the way to do it was to do everything. But as I looked at all the parents around me I thought, no one is enjoying this. Not the parents, not the kids. So I started my blog. I just want people to enjoy this parenting thing more. I want to help them chill the F out.
Writing a book has so many challenges. We've all heard how hard it is to get down on paper your thoughts, to actually articulate them in the way you hoped. But after all of that, the work has just begun! Because here comes the editor. Kysa sent her book to her editor and received a revised version that actually made her sick. She paced her dining room table in a state of shock yelling at no one. "I was so embarrassed. I wrote a book about parenting, but what they sent me was a book about me. Who wants to read a book about me?!" Kysa had to spend some time asking herself if she could trust these people. In the end, she realized that these were professionals who know what they are doing and she is a novice book writer who should trust the editors who are genuinely helping her. The editors wanted her personal story to be front and center, and in hindsight Kysa can see that the book flows better their way.
I think it is so important to be unattached to the way we think things should be. Deepak Chopra lists Unattachment as one of the 7 spiritual laws of success. It is so easy and normal to get stuck on the way we think something will go down. We might have everything all planned out in our minds the way we think would be best. But the truth is, that is rarely the best way. We do not know everything! A better course of action is to do our very best and be open to help and assistance coming from unexpected places. Luckily Kysa realized this and let her book transform to be even better than it was.
Now that her book is out in the world, it leads to speaking engagements and appearances on TV. Kysa says she is still feeling herself out as a public speaker. She isn't trained to be a speaker, so of course she isn't totally comfortable with it.
I think this is a good thing. Some of you may have read my post on what I believe is the end of everyone trying to be perfect. I think it is refreshing to hear from someone who is just being THEMSELVES. Without perfecting every word they say. This is Kysa all the way and I'm not the only one who loves it. Real is the new perfect.
Kysa says the reason she wrote this book was because she saw so many parents killing themselves trying to be perfect parents. "Raising your kids is wonderful. But it's not everything. And I don't think we raise better kids by having them as our only focus." Spoken by a women currently raising six amazing kids! She wrote this book just after having her 5th and 6th kids, twins. She said she was in a dark, dark time. Twin babies are so hard, add to that 4 older children! Writing this book saved her sanity. It gave her a creative outlet which she was desperate for. She jokes that if all she had was babies at that time and no personal creative outlet she might have become an alcoholic. I know it's a joke, but is it? Brene Brown says, "Unused creativity is not benign." We all have a need to express ourselves. If we stuff that need down, it comes out in super destructive ways as fear, guilt, anger, etc.
“We all need to be creative. Imagine all the things firing in your head when you are being creative. It’s like you are going down a different hallway in your brain. I think it’s super important for everybody.”
Kysa doesn't have a master plan for this career path. "Do I want to be onstage in front of 300 people barking at them about parenting?? I don't know. Maybe." The cool thing is, she doesn't need to know. She and I bonded over our belief that the best course of action is being open to the way things unfold. And enjoying every step of the way! "I have a meeting this week with a woman who teaches parenting in Palm Springs. I don't know what we are going to talk about, but it's pretty cool! I'm taking it as it comes."
Kysa thank you so much for sharing your book and it's story with Art Fare! You guys need to read her book, Say it Once: The No Bullshit Guide to Parenting. Her voice is so real and her advice is so good.
If you are struggling with finding creative outlets in your life, sign up with the Humanities Dept! We have 3 upcoming workshops where you get to be creative for the fun of it. Painting, Writing, and Photography workshops beginning next week! Because we all need to travel down those hallways in our brains. See you there!