Remember from your school days that girl everyone wanted to sit next to at lunch, the one who always had something clever or interesting to say, who was a shoo-in for class representative, and who was smart but never in a nerdy, obnoxious way? Well, in the junior high school cafeteria of Associated Content from Yahoo!, Maria Roth is that girl. She’s actually a grown woman, of course, and one with a husband, kids, a mortgage, and weighty problems, but she is still recognizable as the irrepressible spirit and lively wit we all gravitate to.
Yes, she’s the most popular, well-liked contributor on AC (although Lyn Lomasi and Crystal Ray are also contenders). And she has made the rounds commenting on ALL our stuff, so that makes her even more popular. How can you not like someone who is always popping up making pithy, apt, but not cloying positive remarks about your work? When you add to the mix her all-American Pippi Longstocking good looks, wholesome family including two cute-as-a-button kids, well-she’s irresistible.
Pippi Longstocking from Kansas
And she’s also from KANSAS! Kansas is the heartland, the place Dorothy and Toto wanted to return to, remember? I’ve actually been to Kansas only once (slept through it on a cross-country trip) but it is definitely an unimpeachable place to be from. The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye—ooops-that was OOOOOKlahoma… I am somewhat vague on my Midwestern states.
At any rate, the problem with Maria (watching a lot of musicals lately?) is that she withholds her bon mots and makes us wait and wait for the next installment of Maria-ness. She has always been a quality-over-quantity type of AC writer. I can tell because I have nearly as many articles as she does and she has been on AC two years to my one year. In fact, her average output has been 129 divided by 24 or 5.37 articles per month. Lately it’s been even fewer than that. When you put it that way, her “contributions” sound pretty meager!
Oh, but it is all part of her scheme to keep us, her loyal readers, interested. We Maria subscribers are thrilled when we (finally) receive an e-mail notice that “Maria Roth has published on Associated Content!” and we all rush in to read and comment, boosting WHATEVER she has written to the day’s “Most Commented” list. Maria has us all hooked, so she could publish excerpts from the Topeka yellow pages and we would read them and write gooey comments like:
“Wow, Maria does it again!” “What a combination of humor and pathos-no one does it like Maria!”
Filling in that Time between Marticles (Maria Articles)
So here’s the rub-what do we do to pass the time while waiting for Maria’s next article? I have been thinking about it and have these five suggestions.
#1 thing to do while waiting for Maria’s next article
Write an article yourself that is about Maria and the whole Maria phenomenon on AC from Yahoo! Did you notice? I seem to have done that…
#2 thing to do while waiting for Maria’s next article
OK, this is really, really obvious, but how about reading Maria’s old articles? There are only 129, so it won’t take all that long.Her PMA-winning piece–“Coping With a Child’s Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: What Has Helped Me”-is always well worth reading again. It is still excellent. Or dip into the “Page View Poison” series or even the “Excerpts from a Rejected Romance Novel” items. And don’t miss the wedding photos that she published (strangely) more than a month before her actual 10th anniversary date! (Was she that desperate for material in late June?)
#3 thing to do while waiting for Maria’s next article
Read the next best thing-her Dad’s articles! Mike Oberg, AC Contributor, has published some excellent photographs and articles that are definitely worth a look. In June he published this hard-hitting news item: “Zachary and Audrey Spend Time with Nana and Papa!” Let’s hope he cited his sources. Maria’s Mom, Mary Oberg, is also an AC Contributor, with 7 articles to her credit so far. One is “So Proud of You, Maria!” Doesn’t that sound like the kind of article a Mom would write? Also don’t miss her mouth-watering piece on “Toxic Strawberries”
#4 thing to do while waiting for Maria’s next article
Practice your creative writing with a Maria-themed haiku or acrostic!
Here’s an example:
M is for Modest (at least according to her profile)
A is for Audrey and Zach’s mom
R is for Redhead
I is for Inventive and
A is for Awfully nice person
R is for Real (because she keeps it real)
O is for Original
T is for Tall (but not as tall as I am)
H is for Happy (usually)
#5 thing to do while waiting for Maria’s next article
Comment on this article to tell Maria how glad we are to have her participating in AC even though her life is really busy and complicated and writing humor pieces for the amusement of other AC writers is not exactly a get-rich-quick strategy.
Believe me, this is not a ploy to boost my page views (which are laughable), but just a way to acknowledge Maria, one of the brightest spots on AC.