Josette Williams Davison’s kids post themselves at windows reporting, “No snow yet, Mama, only leaves falling.” Bertice Teague Robinson writes of evergreens, clementines, country ham and memories of the young and old as her family gathers before the hearth of her rambling Southern home. Crystal Tennille Irby remembers the powerful and the holy present as Black church women teach their children how to honor the Christ Child. And Susan A. Sistare celebrates what she calls her “Hannumas House,” her home where people play dreidel games, light the menorah, eat latkes and Christmas cookies and enjoy her Christmas trees. These stories and more by 34 Spartanburg, South Carolina, writers are found in Hub for the Holidays: Spartanburg Writers on Christmas newly published by Hub City Press. Their sharing is a wonderful way to build community. Congratulations to the writers and this nonprofit press for a fun and meaningful anthology. Visit Hub City. org.
My family will print my chapbook, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir, in honor of my 70th birthday. Awesome! I empathize with Cynthia Morgan’s drawing of this “Mu Cow” who has graduated from a Moo of Writing class and whose milk pail runneth over. My daughter Jenny, her husband Jim, my son Jeff, and my husband Ron, told me the news and revealed the book cover when we were all together at my daughter’s house in Michigan this month. What a gift! To see the cover visit www.nanlundeen.com.
And more awesome news–the pending publication of my handbook, Moo of Writing: how to milk your potential, received a boost from Writing Magazine in the UK who published my article, “Find Your Moos,” in its December issue. The editor has written me a lovely blurb for the cover of my handbook which will come out early 2014.
What a Thanksgiving for me this year. I am grateful.
A Jersey gal taps her Southern roots and shares her take on Geechee red peas, sweet tea, barbecue and Frogmore stew, too in two poems, “Covered Dishes,” and “Verna.” She writes about Southern cooking as the mother of cuisine, but she’s not quite sure what y’all are really thinking when you bite into her genteel pimento cheese spread and say, “Bless your heart.”
Mindfulness is a big buzz word these days. Used to be called awareness. No matter what you call it, both or either come in handy for writers. We need to pay close attention to detail. That means walking around in our lives with eyes and ears open, noses and taste buds alive. In a writing class, someone read a description of an explosion. The teacher asked, “Did it really boom? If it was in a ditch as you described, would it sound muffled?” That kind of explicit detail brings writing alive. I offer you examples I’m fond of in “the power’s in the details.” Please register on our site if you haven’t already and share details that have come to your attention lately.
Who is your mentor? Message me on Facebook or contact us through the “contact us” link on this site to let me know if you’d like to share thoughts about your mentor on MooingAround.
Jenny Munro honors her mother in her poem, “the typist.” I love how Jenny uses sound—the tap, tap, tap of her mother’s typewriter. Jenny draws a word portrait of her—”Concentrating, with her tongue caught between her teeth,” and shares a few things she learned from observing her role model.
My mentor, Sylvia Barclay, whom I knew in the 1970s in Muskegon, Michigan, generously shared writing wisdom. Whenever I asked how I could repay her she would say, “Pass it on.” That’s what I aim to do with my handbook, Moo of Writing. I was in Muskegon’s library on a hot July day when the sky turned dark. Solar eclipse. I discovered, Sylvia had passed away about the time of the eclipse, which her students found appropriate. A day or two later, I took a yoga class and meditated for the first time. Sylvia stood in my mind’s eye, her mouth pursed in a familiar expression under one of her offbeat hats. Oh, an opportunity to learn what was on the other side. “What’s it like there?” I asked. “Love is all you need to know for now, Nan.” I thought she meant I’d learn more about the afterlife in this lifetime. Hasn’t happened yet. What a gift she gave me. Love really is all I need to know.