A million years ago, Shelly Mazzanoble had a short story published in a literary magazine called Whetstone. She was paid $50 which she spent on a keg of beer and threw a great, big party.
Motivated by her strong desire to curate menus for cocktail parties and her friends’ penchant for drinking free beer, Shelly has gone on to publish short stories and essays in Carve, The Seattle Times, Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Pregnant Chicken, Blunt Moms, Tribe Magazine, and has been syndicated on popular websites such as TODAY Parents and BlogHer, where she has been named a featured writer. She writes a regular column called Mom in the Middle for the Seattle-based parenting network, PEPs (Program for Early Parent Support) where she seeks to scare daunt forewarn enlighten new parents about the terrors joys of parenthood and has recently realized her biggest dream come true– writing a column about The Bachelor. That’s right. The Bachelor. Her regular series for the lovelies over at In the Powder Room, Mother Rose Best, mines one of TV’s greatest treasures for the most practical and life-changing parenting advice ever. Yes, ever. Don’t miss it!
Not wanting to completely waste the theater degree procured from lovely Ithaca College, she removed all the narrative from that first published short story and turned it into a one-act play. Blue Malls, starring Shelly herself, was produced in Seattle’s Mae West Fest XIII. Due to the anxiety dreams still plaguing her, she did not star, support or even understudy in her play, The Chicken & the Egg (also originally a short-story), which was produced in Mae West Fest IV and later Manhattan Theatre Source’s Estrogenius Festival.
In 2006, Shelly was introduced to the roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, while working for Wizards of the Coast. She’s still bitter that no one introduced her to this game earlier as her imaginary friends and innate desire to
lie tell stories would have been put to good use. Her book, Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girls Guide to the Dungeons and Dragons Game published by Wizards of the Coast, was nominated for an Origins Award and won the gold ENnies Award— the annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop roleplaying gaming. Confessions has been translated into Japanese with the far superior title of, On Mondays I’m a Wizard (even though her game was on Wednesdays) and has been required reading in college classes focusing on game design and theory. Her second book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons: One Woman’s Quest to Trade Self-Help for Elf-Help was nominated for an Origins Award and has the distinct honor of being read by at least six of her non-D&D playing friends. Shelly is the co-host of Dragon Talk, the official Dungeons & Dragons podcast where she frequently practices her impression of Bert from Sesame Street. (“Ernie! My pige-unnns!”) Uncanny, right?
When not slandering the reputations of newborns and eschewing the very notion that having “just one baby” is indeed easy (WTH, Mom?!) she enjoys eating raw cookie dough, pretty much anything on Bravo, pretending to be asleep so her husband gets up to fix the child breakfast, going down a Pinterest rabbit hole, painting things gray, ankle booties, coming home and taking off her bra, quoting Mommie Dearest, the idea of a garden, being the oldest mom at daycare, and writing books with very long titles. In fact, she is at work on another book with a very long title. Sadly it does not include a dungeon or a dragon but it does include a toddler and several euphemisms for “lady parts.” (TMI? Just wait.)
She lives in Seattle with an alpha cat named Zelda, a smelly dog named Puppy, a very patient man who either doesn’t read her blog or has a really good sense of humor, and a genius* child who loves big butts and cannot lie. He continues to provide his proud mother with endless fodder. At least until he gets a lawyer.
She should probably be properly fitted for a bra.
Shelly encourages you to check out her blog, especially Mother Rose Best and the older entries because she had a lot more time to think and edit back then. If you like reality TV, Shelly wants to be your friend.
*According to 3 out of 4 grandparents
An Interview with Shelly’s Mom
by Shelly Mazzanoble
While visiting my parents in lovely Jupiter, FL, I sat down with the woman who supposedly knows me best for a little chat.
ME: Hi Mommy. Thanks for doing this.
MOM: You’re making me. But you’re welcome, I guess.
ME: I thought it would be fun. Us girls, hanging out, you pretending to interview me. You never know. There might actually be something about me you didn’t know.
MOM: Then there’s probably a reason for that.
ME: Well be careful what you ask me.
MOM: What am I supposed to ask you?
ME: Whatever you want.
MOM: Why are you making me do this?
ME: I told you, I thought it would be fun. If you don’t want to play I’ll ask dad.
MOM: OK. Bye.
ME: Not funny. Okay, I’ll ask you a question. What did you want me to be when I grew up?
MOM: Married with children.
ME: I guess I’m a big disappointment, huh?
MOM: Oh, now I feel bad. Okay, I’ll try to play along. I hoped you’d end up doing something creative so I could justify how weird you were as a child.
ME: Weird? Please elaborate.
MOM: Remember your imaginary dog? You used to play with that thing in the front yard. In front of the neighbors.
ME: Woofie. He’s a German Shepard. He’s here right now in fact.
MOM: I never told you to stop but I did ask you to take the dog to the backyard. You know, because it was fenced.
ME: That was considerate of you.
MOM: It was mortifying, watching you throwing sticks across the grass and screaming “Go get it! Good boy!” I saw you rolling on the grass giggling like a maniac. I’m not sure what was happening. I think you needed help.
ME: Oh look. Woofie just peed on your couch. Sorry about that.
MOM: And remember you monster friends? You used to pretend to be them.
ME: Monster with the Glasses, Bee Monster, and Red Monster. I remember them well.
MOM: You used to wear these sunglasses with the lenses popped out. If you wore them the correct way you were just Shelly being weird, wearing ugly sunglasses with the lenses poked out. If you wore them upside down, you were Monster with the Glasses. I was supposed to notice the difference.
ME: I’m not seeing “weird.” I think I sound creative and imaginative.
MOM: You were a loon. Dr. Phil would have had a field day with you.
ME: Dr. Phil could still have a field day when I tell him how my mom calls me a loon.
MOM: I wanted you to do normal things like gymnastics or dance or play piano. You hated everything I signed you up for so I let you quit.
ME: Brownies were very misleading. I thought chocolate would be involved.
MOM: You loved the color brown. I thought it would have been right up your alley.
ME: And my fear of being upside down curtailed my career as a gymnast. I don’t regret my decision to retire at all.
MOM: You weren’t a very good dancer, I have to say.
ME: Still not.
MOM: Cute as a button though.
ME: Still am. Right? Right? Why are you laughing?
MOM: You liked to write. And read. I still have the first story you wrote for me. The story of “Cie and the Prince.” It was a badly spelled and thinly disguised knock off of Cinderella.
ME: You were so kind not to tell me that story had already been told.
MOM: You wrote all the time. The story about the missing chocolate chip cookies. That was in your mystery phase.
ME: Spoiler alert! Mike did it!
MOM: And the one about the lights going out at Harrison’s when we were grocery shopping.
ME: That was my hard-hitting journalism phase.
MOM: Then there was your poetry phase.
ME: I took walk down by the sea. No one was there. Only me.
MOM: Short lived. Thankfully.
ME: There were a whole bunch I never showed you. My teen-angst stage.
MOM: You had teen-angst?
ME: Sure. Want to hear some? I still remember. I thought you said we’d be together. Now I’ll stop loving you never!
MOM: (laughing) Wow. Deep.
ME: I wrote that about Chad Lowe.
ME: Rob Lowe’s less attractive, less popular, younger brother. I loved him.
MOM: You always loved the underdog. The unadoptable dogs, the kids in class with speech impediments, your brother. All your best friends.
ME: I don’t like competition. Okay, one more question. Know how they say you turn into your mother? Do you notice me turning into you?
MOM: You wish.
ME: I guess there are worse things I could turn into. Like a werewolf or a pillar of salt.
MOM: I notice you read cookbooks like novels. I do that. And you like to play cards.
ME: I’m a pretty good cook too. We like recipes. We can talk for hours about the perfect white sauce.
MOM: And you like to play Scrabble, although you’re not very good at it so it makes it not fun to play with you. You’re a lousy speller. Weird for a writer.
ME: You don’t like playing with me? We just played last night!
MOM: I know. (Dramatically yawns.)
ME: Well excuse me. I thought we were bonding. And I didn’t suck. I got some good words.
MOM: Kayak is spelled with a K, not a C. I let that one slide because it looked like you were going to have an aneurysm from excitement and I was ahead by 138 points.
ME: That was mighty big of you.
MOM: What was that line from Mommie Dearest? Joan says to Christina after she beats her at swimming?
ME: I’m bigger and I’m faster and I will always beat you. I still remember 90% of the words to that movie.
MOM: I made your brother and you watch it as a warning. Who knew you’d both fall in love with Joan Crawford and take her side.
ME: Oh yeah! I wrote a play based on Mommie Dearest. Just my favorite scenes. The annotated Mommie Dearest. I starred in it too. I wore that bathrobe Grandma and Grandpa gave me with the huge shoulders. You bought me satin sheets because Joan had them.
MOM: See? I never told you to stop. I let you act out your weirdness in hopes you’d outgrow it or turn it into a career.
ME: I’m getting too nostalgic. We need to stop now.
MOM: Just when I was starting to have fun.
ME: Thanks for playing.
MOM: Anytime. Speaking of playing, let’s play cards. I’m going to kick your ass.
ME: Yes, Mommie Dearest.