Monday, September 14, 2009



In a surprise raid, a local blogger was apprehended today for impersonating a writer. TravelinOma was indicted on several counts of fraud, including teaching without a license, extorting hush-hush particulars from "students" and philosophizing sans a Ph.D.

TravelinOma (a Mormon, of course,) was nabbed on her way to church Sunday morning. An onlooker was heard shouting, "School Days was a scam! I want my money back!" Oma has published over 57 posts (the equivalent of 390 pages) since September 1st, presenting herself as a wordsmith of sorts. More than 300 different readers have been conned into leaving comments or sending emails, many on a regular basis!

In an exclusive interview she answered the question, "Why? Why'd ya do it?"

Behind Bars

TravelinOma said, "Honestly, I never thought I'd be found out. I know I'm just a scribbler, a hack. But I wanted to give it a shot. Writing's the only thing I've ever been good at. And I thought if I set myself up as a woman of letters, I'd be able to practice—you know—be motivated. It just grew from there. It got out of hand.

"I devised School Days hoping ace writers would sign up, hand in their work, and I could learn from them. They did. I admit it—I preyed on innocent young bloggers. What got into me?


"I'm guilty, but I'm not sorry. I've learned a lot these past few weeks, from my students and from my research. Jail won't silence me. Lock me in a cell with my books and a pad of paper and I'll carry on. Other (legitimate) writing teachers give me hope:

"Anne LaMott said, 'Try not to feel sorry for yourselves, when you find the going hard and lonely. You seem to want to write, so write. You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories . . . This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.'

"Monica Wood wrote, 'I have been asked why I teach writing, since statistics hold that 99% of writers will never actually publish anything. True, perhaps. But what an appalling criterion for teaching people to write with more intention, more craft, more delight. To write means to live thoughtfully. To respect your inner life. To engage with the world. Why shouldn't everyone aspire to this richness?'

"Natalie Goldberg said, 'Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there's another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time.

'"Writers are more interested in living life again in their writing than in making money. Now, let's understand—writers do like money; it's just that money isn't the driving force. I feel very rich when I have time to write and very poor when I get a regular paycheck and no time to work at my real work. Think of it. Employers pay salaries for time. That is the basic commodity that human beings have that is valuable. We exchange our time in life for money. Writers stay with the first step—their time—and feel it is valuable before they even get money for it.'"

Writer's Block

TravelinOma will not be gagged; she will continue her scribbling even while in exile. She pleaded with this journalist to communicate her motto:

"Word warriors, unite!
Write, write, write away!"

Homework: Do any or all or be inspired

~Write a newspaper article about yourself.


the wrath of khandrea said...

for some reason, this post has me laughing in a loud, crazy way.
really loving the accompanying pics. you cracked me up.

thanks, i needed a good laugh this morning.

Deborah said...

What a fun post! Thanks, I needed that for a Monday morning :) You are so creative... love your blog.

marta said...

oma.. you're the best. i am laughing out loud at your darling 'booked' and 'behind bars' photos. no one but you makes such creative posts. thank you for the seminar, we have all been inspired by you!!!

Yiota said...

Congratulations to everyone who graduated!

cannwin said...

I love this homework! Fit perfectly with my blog for the day.

diane said...

The pictures are priceless.

Whatever you cover next in your seminar, I'll be there. I'm just so happy you are going to continue!

Alisha Stamper | Photographer said...

I was also laughing out loud at the beginning of the post, and then I was feeling so full and rejuvenated about my work. Love you, Marty! So sad I was laid up with pneumonia (while pregnant! ergh!) during the beginning or I would have done so much of this. Its all starred and bookmarked. I'm looking forward to a fantastic, school-days winter break!

mama jo said...

what a funny the pictures...i'll visit you in jail...bring you a file in a cake!

The Grandmother Here said...

Sorry to see you behind bars.

polly said...

haven't seen or heard from you in a while. Now I know why! I'll come for a visit soon.

Diane Linford said...

You are so creative! My suggestions for future seminars are included here.

~Kristina said...

fantastic! Three cheers to you for leading such an amazing, incredible seminar. You are certainly an inspiration.
As for the future, I'd love for you to lead a philosophical or self-discovery seminar. I'm intrigued to know what you would say.

gab said...

What? My momma's a convict now? I liked her a whole lot better when she was a nun.

audrey said...

I loved this post! It was so creative.

Here you go!

Heather @ Alis Grave Nil said...

Love your prison photos! LOL!

This is off topic, but your writing about travel inspired the birthday present we gave to my daughter today. I remember you writing something about part of the joy of a trip being in the planning... I made her a journal for an upcoming trip to San Francisco with a section for before, during, and after the trip. Thanks for the idea! My daughter is 7 and already loves travel and writing. You inspired me!

link to the post: HERE

Tiffany said...

I keep deeming each new post of yours my favorite, but that's just because you keep out-doing yourself! I love the photos and the quotes and all of your added wisdom and humor! I wish I could have participated more, but I read every word and have felt truly enriched. Thank you so much for taking the time to organize this! You have touched so many!

Christie said...

Omi! I love your mug shot and jail cell. You are too, too cute. Way to persevere with an awesome webinar. I've loved it.

dalene said...

that was awesome. thank you. and i'm done.