There were two dogwood trees in my front yard as a kid, a delightful contrast to the nine, sappy pine trees scattered around. One was bifurcated at the base, but otherwise grew straight up, only small, thin branches sprouting from the top of its two trunks.
The other had broad, thick branches stretched out, starting a couple feet off the ground. Its bark was worn smooth in a handful of spots from all the times my brother and I had climbed it. It was a great tree for climbing. It didn’t take us long to find the right combination of moves to reach its top: a foot here, hand there, grab this branch, swing around here. (more…)
Every little kid needs that person, that someone who makes them feel like the center of the universe. I was lucky enough to have that person in my life since my birth. The one who was always proud of me, always listened to my stories — my grandfather.
Any time my parents dropped me off at my grandparents’ home, I went straight for his lap. I knew it was my safe place. Eventually, I got too big to climb on his lap, but I knew I had a safe place in his heart. (more…)
I’ve always been a writer. From the moment I first wrapped my little fingers around a pencil, I’ve been scribbling thoughts and ideas. But I haven’t always written fiction. In fact, if you told me five years ago that I would write a novel (much less two), I would’ve smiled politely while thinking, Okay, strange person.
I tried writing fiction when I was a kid. It wasn’t very good. I was smart enough to realize that. And when you grow up in a competitive family, you either get good at whatever it is you attempt or you find something you are good at. I didn’t know how to get better. And the one writing workshop I went to actually made it harder for me to write.
I figured it just wasn’t for me. So at the age of 10, I dumped fiction and focused on poetry. Poetry was good to me. People liked my poetry. It came easily, effortlessly.
And then, as with all great personal stories, things happened. (more…)