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Blog: Born to Write 

Rachel Carson, the woman behind Earth Day

In 1962, an American marine biologist named Rachel Carson published her third book. She called it, Silent Spring.

This book was a masterpiece. Although she died several years before someone coined the term “Earth Day,” and April 22 – today! – was designated an official holiday, Miss Carson is widely credited with laying the groundwork for  Read More 

In Praise of Teachers

Years ago, when daffodils first made their appearance each Spring in Columbia, South Carolina, my mother would help my sister and me gather the nicest ones from our yard.

We didn’t keep them.

We gave them away – to our teachers.

Teachers were special. That was the message we heard in big ways and  Read More 

The Last Honey Jar

My mother’s parents worked a long time, with great sacrifice, to achieve the American Dream.

They were German immigrants who came to the U.S. through Ellis Island in 1921. For thirty years, they worked in difficult, dangerous jobs in clothing factories. Grandpa, who had been trained as a mason, also took brick-laying jobs including the building of towering smoke stacks in New York and Chicago.

Finally, they saved enough money Read More 

Feeling Loved and Supported (and a Little Anxious)

September 8 used to feel like a long time in the future.

But not so much anymore.

That’s the publication date of my new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County.

The book is squarely in the production phase. Right now I am reviewing what are called “first-pass pages.” This is the first time I’m Read More 

Musings on Black History Month, Having Our Say, and the Delany Sisters

Back in 1991 when I was a newspaper reporter and met the then-unknown Delany Sisters, the 100 and 102 year old pair of sisters insisted on being described first and foremost as American.

Yes, they were Black. Yes, they were women. And proud of it.

But “American” came first.

The same held true after my newspaper story  Read More 

Finding A Place to Belong

When I was twelve my family moved from a rural area outside of Columbia, South Carolina to Scarsdale, New York, the famed suburb of New York City. Overnight, I went from being a confident Carolina tomboy with plenty of friends to “the new kid” sitting alone, day after day, in the lunchroom. I was  Read More 

New Year's, the Scots, and "Old Lang Syne"

I blame my sentimental side on my Dad’s Scottish ancestors. After all, it was a Scot – the legendary writer Robert Burns – who wrote the poem, “Auld Lang Syne,” first published in 1787 and arguably the most sentimental words ever put on paper.

Auld Lang Syne means “Old Long Ago” in an ancient Scottish dialect.  Read More 

A Simpler Christmas

I sometimes envy the way people celebrated Christmas in days gone by. The Delany Sisters, born in 1889 and 1891, often told me about being thrilled to find an orange in their Christmas stockings – an orange being a treat.

My mom recalls the Depression when some years there weren’t Christmas celebrations at all. One year  Read More 

Remembering a Vietnam Veteran: Bob's Story

His name was Bob. He lost an eye in Vietnam, and so much more.

He lost his youth and his dreams for the future. Worst of all, he lost hope.

I want to tell you a little about Bob as we honor our nation’s veterans this week.

I didn’t meet Bob until recently, near the end of his life. My husband knew Bob through his work. Then one day in early 2012, Bob seemed to vanish. Bob was known all around his town, a recognizable figure always on a bicycle. He spent a considerable amount of time at the library. He had lived with his mother and been fairly stable until she grew old and died. Everyone knew the one-eyed Vietnam veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. But no one had seen him recently. Read More 

Baby Goats and Kudzu: Interview of Southern Author Renea Winchester

Please welcome Renea Winchester to my blog this morning! Renea is the author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches, published last month by Mercer University Press, a sequel to her much-loved debut, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. Renea is also the author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half Truths from Appalachia. Read More