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dearest me's dearest word-babies

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At first, I wasn't going to post any of my writing here, as I want people to actually visit my website. Then, I realized that in a few months, I'll be creating an entirely new website, so I said screw that. Also, I wouldn't mind gaining a few new potential fans. So, I'm going to periodically post excerpts of my work here, and if you like what you read, PM me and I can link you to the entirety of the piece.

I'm going to begin simply by copying and pasting the About blurb I wrote for my website to give you a feel for where I'm coming from (with slight edits to remove geographical markers and whatnot, denoted with X). You'll notice that I talk about creative nonfiction a great deal, but I do write fiction and poetry (ew) as well, the latter often being very spiritual/sensual in nature. My prose often plays on plant-life analogies for life and death. If you dig that sort of stuff. When I share blips of my work, I'll label it at the top as either Creative Nonfiction or Fiction.


Mid-October, 2002, hidden away in the lounge of the X Funeral Home in X, Louisiana, I took advantage of my mother's distracting grief and poured cup after sugary cup of my preferred concoction, powdered creamer with a splash of coffee. With a cheap, three-subject notebook tucked under my arm and an ink pen innocently stolen from the guestbook table, I paraded around the property, squeezing through crowds and patiently enduring too-tight hugs from grown-ups I didn't know; I was on a mission. I interviewed each of my cousins that day, asking "What's the one thing you'd want Maw Maw Lil to know?" and "What is the greatest thing that you've learned from her?" I compiled our responses and wrote a final letter to her that was placed inside her casket and buried. This was how I coped with experiencing loss for the first time. I was nine years old.

In 2014, I earned my BA in English from X State University, with an unsurprising concentration in—drumroll please—creative writing. Born from my grandmother's death was a relentless passion to write, and as I developed the craft, I realized that writing was not only therapeutic for me but for my readers, as well. A minor in humanities broadened my understanding of a world that did not revolve around X X, and this renewed perspective paired perfectly with my skills as a writer. I could use words to make a difference in the lives of others throughout my own discovery for truth, hope, and healing. I'd been empowered to do just this my entire life, but I finally accepted this gift.

In elementary school, I won various awards for fiction and poetry in the Young Author's Contests. As the eighth-grade student of the year, I'd been tasked with writing the closing address to my peers. I still remember my wavering voice as I compared our education and social development to a walk along the beach. I remember receiving the highest score that my high school had seen on an English end-of-course assessment. All the while, I explored writing fables, folklore, and a twelve page research capstone on human trafficking. I had both poetry and nonfiction featured in Teen Ink magazine, and the essay distinguishing Christian artists from Christian music was voted as the Editor's Pick several weeks in a row. I came alongside a friend when he revived the school's newspaper, The Stampede, and worked as both a contributing writer and the managing editor until I graduated.

I continued helping peers with essays when I began college, working as a writing consultant. It was this that motivated me to change my major from art to English. Although I loved art nearly as much as writing, this move was expected by my closest friends and family, who would point out that I was a natural at writing and that it came to me like breathing came to everyone else. Others simply could not picture me pursuing anything else!

At X, I contributed the maximum amount of prose allowed in Mosaic, the official literary magazine of XSU, served on the editorial board, and later as the assistant editor, and I was honored when I learned that I had been selected as a finalist in the David Middleton Poetry Contest. However, my heart had taken root in creative nonfiction, a genre that I didn't even know existed until my second year of college when I'd taken the required course, and I was ecstatic to learn that of my graduating class, I received the Katherine Tracy Award for Outstanding Graduate in Creative Nonfiction!

My grandmother's letter might be considered my first memoir project, a portrait of one woman who impacted the lives of countless others. Although I write fiction and poetry, screenplays, and blogs alike, my favorite work is to take the everyday characters and conflicts of our lives and weave them together into a story that grabs its reader and says, "Hey, you over there. You're not alone. You're not."

I'd love to hear your stories. I'd love to sit next to you, share a carafe of coffee, kettle of tea, or whatever you find comforting—I'm not that picky—and get to know the people who have shaped you. Maybe you're considering sharing your story as a tribute to someone special, but you aren't quite sure how to string together your ideas in a cohesive way. When you can't seem to find the words to paint your memories in a tangible way, I can help you find them.

Or maybe you've stitched together a story, essay, or any other written work, for that matter, but you'd like a second set of eyes to comb over your project to ensure professional quality and no misplaced commas? I can help with that, as well.

We all have our own story, and each of our stories interconnect to form one expansive work of art. It's time for a collision between you and me. X.
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Excerpt from "Shells, Pecans, and Matchbox Cars", creative nonfiction.
PM me to read the rest.

“What’s it like being the preacher’s daughter?” they ask, and I struggle to find an answer.

I don’t remember riding on the back of the preacher’s blue Yamaha V Star or conquering the water slides at Wet Willy’s in Biloxi with him. Neither do I recall it being my preacher that taught me to ride a bike or slipped the crystal shoe onto my foot as he consoled a hysterical flower girl drenched in salted tears and sticky Sprite.

Daddy built my brother and me wooden boats to coast in our flooded backyard after rainy days. He painted the bodies red and the engines black with white lettering. I don’t think he knows that those are my favorite colors.

In summer, we’d walk along the Mississippi shoreline, and he helped me find the shells worthy enough to keep. We’d use a cracked orange Frisbee as a basket, and even though he hated the extra sand and junk added to the packed sedan, we would later rinse and sift through the collection as Looney Tunes played on the hotel television.

As summer slipped past, cool breezes carried our kites into the sky. My dad helped me collect fallen pecans in the yard every year as autumn tiptoed onward. I hated the taste of pecans, but I remember that I’d gather them to be carried around in my shirt, poured out onto the table, cracked open, and made into one of his favorite pies.

It was my dad and not my preacher who braved the Batman roller-coaster ride at Six Flags, New Orleans when I was ten and the passenger’s seat of that ’99 Mercury Tracer when I turned sixteen. And it wasn’t my preacher pitching me the softball at practice all the years in between. It was Dad.
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