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Chicago Crush of the Month: Sonny Mott and Erin O’Neill

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I’ve been writing The Crush of the Month Blog for over a year now, and in any long-term relationship, there comes a time when you need to spice things up.

So let’s talk about my crush within a crush, my inner sanctum of crushes, the true crush that lies below the false bottom of the crush proclivity you thought you knew.

I get crushes on couples.

In truth, my couple crushes are pretty tame. I find myself fascinated with relationship mechanics, enamored by the way two people become not a crock pot stew of codependence and resentment, but a crisp chopped salad in which the carrots are autonomous but care very much how the hearts of palm feel.

With that in mind I’d like to introduce you to January’s Crush of the Month: Husband and Wife, Sonny Mott and Erin O’Neill

Hometown: Erin-Chicago, Sonny-San Diego

Profession: Erin-Writer/Editor/Marketer, Sonny-Law Student

Hobbies: Erin-Reading, cooking, baking pies, and watching Bravo. Sonny- Law school and [daughter]Lucy.

Our Town: How did you two meet?
Erin O’Neill At the infamous Tom Tom Club in Washington, DC, going on eight years ago.
Sonny Mott I pursued her shamelessly.
Erin This is true.

OT Describe your wedding day.
Erin Which one? Because of Sonny's deployment schedule, we were lucky enough to get married (to each other) twice, so I got both my dream weddings. The first time, we got married at City Hall, then went to the White Sox game--a friend put our names up on the scoreboard, which was amazing-- and met up with friends in a bar to celebrate. The second, we had the big Catholic wedding, in the big white dress, then had the reception in my high school cafeteria (at St. Ignatius). Both were perfect, for totally different reasons, but walking down the aisle, seeing Sonny standing there, holding hands at the altar and exchanging vows meant way more to me than I thought it would.

OT Erin, you’re a writer. Any tips for those looking to freelance?
Erin I hate giving advice [because] I'm a pretty big believer that most of my "success"--if you call not having a job with health insurance success--is luck, timing, and a little networking. Overall, my best advice is to keep reading, writing, and submitting. Freelancing takes an incredible amount of passion, discipline, and hard work, but if you can make it work, it's the best gig going.

OT Sonny rarely reads your writing, why?
Erin I don't write the kind of writing he likes, and it's far too dangerous to my ego to have him not like my writing. I write creative non-fiction; a lot of personal essays about my life and relationships. The last time he read anything I wrote, it was a thinly veiled personal story about a family falling apart in a cabin in rural Michigan. When he finished, I asked him what he thought, and he said, "It was ok. It needed more wolves."

OT Sonny, you served in the US Marine Corps for more than eight years. How was it to transition back to civilian life?
Sonny Bittersweet. You miss the good times and the camaraderie but I enjoy all of the free time with our daughter Lucy.

OT Erin, what was the hardest thing about being in a relationship with someone deployed?
Erin Obviously, worrying about his safety was hardest. I obsessively watched the news, researched the Iraqi conflict, immersed myself in the military community in order to get any word possible. The other hard part was the lack of communication. During his Iraqi tours, we could go as long as six weeks with no word whatsoever. I still remember all the nights I'd hold my breath, after hearing about something on the news, and the elated feeling of relief when I'd get a letter or phone call from him. Sonny's brother is also a Marine and currently deployed to Afghanistan, and I'm hoping this will be the last wartime deployment for our family.

OT Sonny, what’s the hardest thing about being in a relationship with a writer?
Sonny When she sits me down for grammar lessons.

OT What’s your view on the repeal of DADT?
Sonny Port calls are going to get a little more interesting. No...probably not.

OT Erin, you actually had a role in the repeal.
Erin Sonny and I differ on most things, politically. But in 2010, I was invited to attend a military spouse luncheon with General Ham and Mr. Jeh Johnson, who were in the process of meeting with the military community to understand the impact that repealing DADT would have. Sonny not only urged me to go, he actually rented a car to get me back to Virginia from North Carolina, in order to make it to the luncheon. I felt that repealing DADT was an important action for American civil liberties. That our military serves our nation to protect our freedoms, but that many of those who serve weren't free to be open about who they were and who they loved, was the biggest hypocrisy ever. After that luncheon, Mr. Johnson asked me to type up a few of my thoughts, which I did, and when the official report and recommendations were presented to congress, a whole page of my writing was included in the report.

OT Describe your perfect day:
Sonny Family sleep in with Lucy and Finley Doggie.
Erin Definitely. But add in some Mexican, Thai or Indian food, and a Real Housewives marathon.

OT Relationship Deal breaker:
Sonny Fear of spicy food...shows a weakness of 
moral fiber.
Erin Packers fan.

OT Who was your first crush?
Erin A kid I grew up with named Mike Raspatello.
Sonny Daisy Duke.
Erin That makes sense; I get confused for her all the time.

OT Why are you crushworthy?
Sonny Burt Reynolds on a bear skin rug.

OT Any questions for me?
Erin Will you please stop throwing your car keys in our fruit bowl?

Want to take a class with Erin O'Neill? Check her out here.

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Terez-Rosenblum published on January 7, 2012 10:08 AM.

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