Today I have the lovely and multi-talented Leslie Kendall Dye of Hungry Little Animal on Better Know A Blogger. I met Leslie online. In a nefarious chat room. Just kidding, but that’s how it always sounds. I read her piece, How Not to Potty Train at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Blunt Moms and had to get more. So I did. I followed her all around the internet until she finally let me be her friend. Then I demanded she answer all my questions and submit a bio and here we are.
Leslie’s bio may be more interesting than any of the interview questions I’ve come up with. Leslie grew up in LA and started working in theatre at age ten, playing the the Little Prince in a ballet adaptation of the book by Antoine de Saint Exupery.
Leslie: I hope my characterization didn’t wreck the book for anyone.
At 11 she began working in television and film.
Leslie: Although during the lean times I was forced to return to school.
Leslie: I co-starred in a wildly unpopular Fox TV series starring the late great Sam Kinison, and I did a turn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which is the one thing people ever care about on my resume. Seriously. A man in England bought the costume at auction, which I guess is nice if you want an old TV costume of yours hanging on a stranger’s mannequin in the basement of his country house. (Could I make this up?)
OFM: I don’t think so. Although I’m more interested in the whole co-starring with Sam Kinison bit. Were you Punky Bruster? Am I friends with Punky Bruster?!
Leslie: Anyway, I grew up, attended Columbia University, kept working in Los Angeles and New York after graduation, met my husband while shooting a film, got married and had one perfect kid. I think so, anyway. I mean I know I have only one kid, but technically the “perfect” thing is subjective.
OFM: I have called my kids a lot off things, but I don’t think perfect was ever one of them.
Leslie: I still dance and act, but these days, more in my head than in real life. Once the kid goes to school, that life will call to me and I shall answer the call. In the meantime I am available for day shoots, staged readings and any other acting gig that takes only a few days. You know, if you are reading this and hiring.
OFM: I have a lot of film execs reading my blog.
Leslie: I live in NYC with my husband and kid. That is obvious, but I just like writing it out, as it sounds like it is on the dust jacket of a book I wrote. I have not written a book.
OFM: Do you happen to know Stephen Colbert by any chance?
All that was before the actual interview so I apologize if my interview pales in comparison.
1. Why did you decide to start your blog, and did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into?
I never have any idea what I am getting into, if I did, I would never get into anything. By the way, what have I gotten into? Is it bad? Can I still get out? Will you call for help?
OFM: There is no getting out. You can call for help, but no one will answer.
Anyway, I guess I just wanted to write down how I felt about everything (in the two hours my child slept during the day.) In the first year of her life, I often napped with her. When she turned two I arrived at this divide: I wanted to snuggle, and I needed the sleep, but I also had all these thoughts percolating as she slept on my stomach, and I gradually found my way to slipping out of the dark, perfect stillness of the bedroom and toward the keyboard. For me, it became a metaphor for finding yourself again after becoming a mother: you find something fulfilling to do, but it is (brightly) colored by and completely informed by being a parent. You can’t help it.
2. How long have you been at this racket?
One year. Wow, yeah, one year.
3. Do you have a blogging schedule? If so, what is it? Does it help? Does it change? Do you want to stomp on it, and tell people to go away – you have enough to do?
I have no schedule. I never know how any day will play out. I am highly disorganized, impetuous, easily distracted and willing to give up my goals for a day so no schedule for me. It’s all impulse. This sounds right, that sounds bad. Hey, could you take our daughter to the park for one hour at 8 pm tonight, husband dear, because I just want to write something really quick? Please? Or getting up at 3 am when I can’t fall back to sleep and writing can be fun too. it’s hard to know where the window will be. Especially because my child is not fond of sleep.
OFM: Isn’t it sad how that will change when it’s too late? Like when she has moved out?
4. Tell us a little bit about your background: What did you do in your previous life or still do in addition to blogging? I guess what I’m getting at here is what uniquely qualifies you to be a blogger other than a dollar and a dream?
I have no qualifications to be a blogger. Wait, I do have a fancy Nikon DSLR camera and a love of captioning, so there are my qualifications right there! I am an actor and a ballet dancer, and I still do both, although I have ramped down for the early years of childhood with my daughter as I just can’t tear myself away. I was a child actor and acted all the years of my life except those in college and the one year of pregnancy, so I know I will find the path back. As for dancing, once a dancer, as Allegra Kent said. Now my daughter and my husband pick me up at class and she dances outside the studio. It makes me laugh. And cry.
5. Do you have any kids, how many and why? Why would you do that to yourself?
I have one child. I was a nanny for 10 years part time, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. To some extent, I think I did have much more awareness of the challenges and the pace of the day with a young child, so it didn’t hit me with as much impact as I know it can for some. We had a child because we really wanted to do it. We went to Paris one fall and on the elevator ride down to the lobby, the day we returned to NYC, a mother and father and their two kids got on the elevator and my husband and I looked at each other and looked back at them and we thought: “We are getting pretty old, let’s try to do this while we can. We’ll always have Paris.”
We were very sad about leaving Paris so if we didn’t have a baby we would have continued to mope excessively about it. OK, we still mope about it, but now we can dream of taking her there someday.
6. If you don’t have children but do have some other wild animal living in your home, what is it & how many of them do you have?
We desperately want to get a dog, but our building doesn’t allow them. We might someday adopt a tiny one and pretend it is a baby wrapped in a blanket, like Lucy did when she brought that sausage or whatever it was home from Italy on the plane. (I hope my husband isn’t reading this, I haven’t told him about this plan, but my toddler knows about it.)
7. Which of the following statements (and this could have major implications for our relationship going forward) would you be more likely to agree with: Yes, people can have granddogs. Or, No, it’s physically impossible for people to have grandpets of any kind. This question is based on a bumper sticker I once saw, and I’m just trying to tell who among us is crazy. The answer will give us all the information we need.
Granddogs? Oh, I get it. Your grown children have dogs, so they are your granddogs? I don’t think so, no. They are your children’s dogs. But you are definitely free to adore them. They are dogs, and therefore adorable.
OFM: Ok, fine.
8. What is your social media platform of choice? What social media or tech thingy should be wiped off the face of the earth?
Social media platform? I don’t do well at any of them. No one generally reads or sees my posts on Facebook because Facebook is trying to earn money so they hide the posts, yada yada. Twitter I actually get a kick out of sometimes: I like the challenge of trying to sell someone on clicking my link in less than 140 characters (you know, because the link takes up characters!) Pinterest; I have tried. I like real bulletin boards. But I have been featured on some boards and I get a huge thrill out of seeing my essays and photos, or those of good friends, up on virtual boards. But I am terrible at making my own. I have never tried Instagram, but I think I would hate it. I like to edit photos slowly and carefully and “Instagram” sounds trendy to me, although I know it is at least a year old, which makes it ancient. I think Vine is awful. Six seconds for a movie? Ick. My husband writes movies, and I don’t think he could write a screenplay for a 6 second film, so I don’t like Vine.
OFM: Your husband should try it. It’ll be called a Super Short Short. He could be a pioneer in the genre.
9. What is one pet peeve of yours that no one should ever do in your presence if they know what’s good for them?
No one should ever ask you how your child sleeps. My answer will always be “with her eyes closed, in a bed.” No matter what, that question is wrought with judgment even if the questioner doesn’t realize it. Or at least it feels that way to me.
OFM: Got it.
10. What is one of your hidden talents if you have one? I personally have no talents other than being declared the best Kraft Mac & Cheese maker in my household.
I have no hidden talents or if I do, they are so well hidden I can’t find them.
11. And – this was a question on a Facebook post going around – but I find it amusing & fun so let’s do it here. What are 3 movies you’ve seen more than 3 times?
Quiz Show. Broadcast News. Postcards from the Edge. You Can’t Take It With You. See, that’s four. I told you, I am highly disorganized and can’t follow instructions. Did I tell you the part about not being able to follow instructions? I am too lazy to go back and check. I did tell you the part about being lazy.
12. Finally, Steven Colbert: Great fake news anchor or greatest fake news anchor of all time?
Stephen Colbert is the greatest fake news anchor of all time. Have you ever thought about how on Earth they construct “The Word?” A comedian friend of mine told me she tried to sit down and do it once and realized how ridiculously smart he must be. We went to a taping once but his writers were on strike. It was still the most hilarious, heartwarming experience I ever had at a taping. He’s fabulous. (I hope my husband isn’t reading this, but he does know how I feel about Colbert.)
OFM: My husband knows. There’s no hiding it. I think he would even be fine with me sleeping with Stephen just because it’s been a life long goal of mine and he likes to see me succeed.
Bonus question, what is your favorite book or books?
Sophie’s Choice. I know. Seriously? No one would ever want to hang out with a person who names that book as her favorite. What can I do? It is incredible writing. But if you hate that answer, The World of Christopher Robin is also my favorite. Oh, and No Name, by Wilkie Collins. I love sensation fiction, and he invented it.
OFM: Yeah, I can’t hang out with you anymore. You’re too depressing.
But I do love your writing so I guess I’ll be silently stalking you. If you want to stalk Leslie, too, start here: Thanks for the Memory and Seasonal Confusion, which sound about perfect for this time of year. Or skulk around on the #1 stalker site, Facebook.
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