She died over a year before I was born, a very young mother of four daughters…and one of my greatest inspirations. I inherited a very wonderful, and sometimes perplexing habit from my mom and from her mother…and that is a love of quotes, of short verse that sparks a feeling deep inside my soul, of keeping written notes. My mother lost her mom early, as I mentioned earlier…on New Year’s Day the year before I was born. And yet, through several things I found through the years, she still seems so real and intriguing to me.
Let me explain. My grandmother was a school teacher, one of the earliest students at what is now known as University of Southern Mississippi. When she attended it was known simply as Mississippi Normal College….with students usually seeking a career in teaching. She came from a large family, the eldest of many boys and girls. And while she died young, the others lived to ripe old ages and shared many great times with their families. My mother loved her own mom dearly; after my grandmother died she kept several of her primers….used to teach all those years ago. She also kept tiny items that triggered wonderful memories of her mom’s time with her.
My mother gave me those primers a long time ago. I was fascinated. Penciled in margins, written across pages, doodled on blank pages at the ends of the books….in my grandmother’s wonderful cursive…were things she was thinking. Sometimes a quote….sometimes notes for class….sometimes little reminders to herself of an occasion. She often wrote dates that meant something to her. A dear example is the entry where she described meeting a boy at church…and it gave the date. Many, many years later while chatting with my elderly grandfather I asked how he had met my late grandmother. He sat on the front porch…looked off into the distance….and related a tale of how he met her at church when she began teaching in the area. He told how he and another boy had eyes for her…and he’d won her heart. From his story and her entry….I pieced together that these two memories~one from her immediate memory and one from his distant thought~were descriptions of the same event. Ah, the romance, the sheer knowing of that moment. I will never forget that feeling. That is the feeling I want to instill in my readers.
And my mom. Bless her, she was taken from us in 2004…way, way too early for us. As we came to find out after she passed away, she’d keep scraps of paper with quotes she’d seen or short phrases that touched her; very frequently in a handwriting so similar to that of her mom. Often inspirational, sometimes funny, but always ringing true. She actually wrote a nonfictional story of her very own that we found after her death….and it was beautiful. While going through her things I was drawn to keep each slip of paper, each thought she’d found time to write about. She was like me….she saw a story in everything that touched her.
So why do I write? Why do I need to put things onto paper? It is that footprint. That need to express myself like those before me. Only I want to do it even bigger….and I wish to heaven they could both be here to see me as I chase my dreams. I want to write those romances, share those special feelings…touch the reader’s hearts with words the way words touch me. And I want to publish them so they will live on, much as their words live on in me.
I got it honestly….two generations (LOL, and there could have been more!) of women came before me who loved to write of feelings. I hope I do them proud……
Always a true romantic at heart,