Barking at the Moon with Humor Columnist Tracy Beckerman
Play • 27 min

Tracy Beckerman is an award-winning author, speaker, and syndicated humor columnist who has appeared on numerous TV shows, including NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, and Good Day New York. Her honors for writing include the prestigious Writer’s Guild of America award, a CLIO, an International Film and Television award, and a New York Emmy. Beckerman has been voted “America’s Top Blogger” by The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, has won a National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for humor writing, and was the Global Humor Award Winner of the coveted Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.

Beckerman joins the show today to discuss her latest book, Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble, and what led her to write it. She shares the story of getting a dog so that her kids could grow up with that great childhood experience, and how it made her slow down and appreciate life in a new way. She talks about learning to cherish small moments with her family, and how writing her column, Lost in Suburbia, helped her find the joy and humor in parenting. She answers questions about the upbeat tone of her writing, dealing with isolation during the pandemic, what dogs bring to our lives as humans, and what we can learn from our furry friends. You’ll also hear hilarious stories about her dog, Riley, what it was like to come together as a family to say goodbye to him, and how life with her new dog, Monty, is different as an empty nester. Beckerman ends by explaining the touching inspiration behind her latest book title, and encourages listeners to find the humor through all of life’s ups and downs.

Episode Highlights:

  • Beckerman’s books include Lost in Suburbia - A Momoir and Rebel Without a Minivan
  • Her latest book is Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble
  • She thought it would be a good idea to get a dog so her kids could grow up with that experience
  • The dog ended up being “Dogzilla” and tore the house apart
  • Barking at the Moon became a good bridge book between Lost in Suburbia and her upcoming book, Lost in Midlife
  • Her dog, Riley, slowed things down and made her appreciate the here and now
  • Life with children is hectic, but it goes by quickly
  • She moved to the suburbs and left her high-powered career in television, and felt lost
  • She lost her sense of identity and became depressed
  • Writing about experiences with her kids helped her find the humor in it, and embrace the joy of parenting
  • Her column is upbeat and silly
  • Her book takes on a similar tone, and she takes great joy in being able to give people laughter through her writing, especially during the pandemic
  • Not being able to see her loved ones during the pandemic has been very difficult
  • Her dog kept her company, made her laugh, and motivated her to get outside
  • Dogs bring so much joy to our lives as humans, and they are loyal to a fault
  • Beckerman shares the funniest stories about her dog, Riley
  • They came together as a family to say goodbye to him 
  • It was a good opportunity to support her children through a difficult experience 
  • Having a dog as an empty nester versus when her kids were living at home
  • The touching story behind the title “Barking at the Moon”


Quotes:

“We thought it would be a good idea for the kids to have a dog growing up because it was a great experience for us.”


“We ended up with this dog that was like Dogzilla.The dog was just absolutely nuts, and tore our house apart. But, you know, in a very loving way.”


“This was a really great bridge book between the two to talk about that sweet spot when you're raising children from the time that they're 5 until 15 or 17.”


“Something about having the dog slowed things down, and made me realize that I really need to stop and smell the fire hydrant, and appreciate what we had right then and not wish it away too fast.”


“[Having pets] added a great deal of chaos to the house, which we already had, because we had two kids, but it was a joyous chaos. So I think there's a lot of fun in that kind of hectic time of your life.”


“That's how Lost in Suburbia was born, because I was literally lost. I just did not know what my identity was anymore without the city and the job. And I kind of was really depressed. I had yet to discover the joy in parenting. It just felt like such a burden. And I feel horrible saying that, but it was just true.”


“I found the humor in it. And it brought so much more joy to the parenting experience.”


“To not see everybody for over a year was really difficult.”


“There's a reason so many people went out and got dogs during the pandemic. It was for that warmth and that comfort, that companionship, and the joy of the silly things that dogs do.”


“I think that there's really something special about dogs and our relationship with dogs… They’re just loyal to a fault.”


“After we lost Riley, I was sitting with my husband out on the porch, and I was staring at the stars and the moon. And I said, I feel like barking at the moon in Riley's honor. And my husband said to me, Do you know what barking at the moon means? ...It actually means trying to do something in vain. So whatever it is that you're trying to do, and it's not going to happen. You're barking at the moon. And I realized that it was sort of an appropriate analogy, because here I was trying to stop time, not have the dog die, not have the kids get older and move out. And I was really barking at the moon because you can't do that.”


“I definitely recommend dogs as pets, because they're wonderful companions, and they definitely enhance life. We're always looking for ways to make things happier, and better, and shinier, and having a dog seems to do that.”


Links:

Halston Media Group website

Tracy Beckerman website


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