Hi! I’m Joe-la Dowdy. Let’s go ahead and get the awkwardness out of the way. It’s pronounced Joe (as in Joe) with the addition of the syllable ‘La’ (as in So, La, Ti, Do). My mother insists the hyphen is there to help with pronunciation but I’m pretty sure it’s there to fuck up scan-tron forms and make people ask stupid questions like “is La your middle name?” (who the hell hyphenates their first and middle names?) It’s actually homage to my father who was killed in a car accident before I was born. This makes for a great way to bring the house down when people ask how I got my name. By day, I’m a physician and I live in northern Michigan with my Hubby who is also a doctor, my daughter who will be leaving the nest soon for college, my 10-year-old son, a menagerie of dogs, a cat and a lizard named Mr. Kipling.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania which is similar to northern Michigan in its crappy weather and lack of good restaurants. When I was 5 years old, two things happened that shaped my future; first, my mother had to have her gallbladder out and she brought home a jar with her gall stones in it (and what child would not have been completely enthralled with a jar of rocks that her amazing mother’s body made? Did I mention it was rural PA? Not a lot of excitement). Secondly, I was struggling with constant sore throats and the doctor finally declared that I should have my tonsils removed. This news made me very happy because 1. I was told there would be “A LOT” of ice cream and 2. I assumed that I would be getting my own body-parts-in-a-jar souvenir. Turns out I was disappointed on both counts (Oh, there was lots of ice cream but I couldn’t swallow any of it and there was no souvenir….some nonsense about soft tissue and decomposition). When I was able to speak again without severe pain I told everyone that I was going to grow up to be a doctor so then I could look at all the tonsils I wanted.
In sixth grade I discovered books and when I do something, I tend to go whole hog (there’s that rural farm girl coming out again), so I should say I discovered Stephen King books. I devoured them. He was my first love and I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to write like Stephen King. All of a sudden, I didn’t want to look at tonsils anymore, I wanted to write about them getting ripped out by werewolves! My family, however, was not as keen about bragging that I was not going to be a doctor anymore but a writer and assured me that I could still be a writer….on the side….as a hobby….when I am not “doctoring”. That seemed completely reasonable and so I continued my pursuit of medicine. Somehow, along the way, my interests in medicine crept further and further from the throat area. I decided to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Sometimes though, women will say that it feels like I am trying to examine their tonsils in a new and completely illogical way, but for the most part, I do not look at or check tonsils at all. I also discovered that in medical training, there really isn’t a lot of time (on the side) to pursue your hobbies so it wasn’t until I completed my training and took a job as a clinical teacher, that I have again found time to pursue my love of writing.
It’s not hard to imagine that in my line of work, occasionally, I have a stressful day. Once, after a particularly long day, I posted “Top 5 Things I Hate Today” on my Facebook page. People loved it and asked for more. The following morning, when I was complaining to my husband about the taste of Crest Toothpaste, he said “There’s your blog. Go hate on that today”, and with that, my petulant muse was born. All of a sudden, writing wasn’t difficult, it was fun and I was having a blast. The more I wrote, the better the comments and encouragement became. So, with the help of a moody little fairy, I started this blog. I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or if you have something to rant about, feel free to leave me a comment. And if you don’t like it, you can also leave a comment, but I’ll probably ignore it.