Thursday, September 29, 2005

Maybe I Need To Be A Bitch Like Martha Stewart…

I’m kicking against the pricks in my life. People who ridicule, and though it’s not in their words, it’s in their voice. Dammit, I hear it. “Why is she wasting her time. Why doesn’t she have a real job? How could she quit a great job, a for-sure paycheck?”

“One more failure for the drama queen.”

“She’ll never make it.”


“She’s an idiot.”

They’ve not a clue. Not one clue how hard this is for me. How damn hard I work to write every day … words – stories that will last long after I’m gone. After all the pricks are dead.

I think even if I’m successful in whatever terms you wish to consider as success, there will still be those pricks that won’t believe it. Hell, I could win a damn Pulitzer, and they'll still say … “well, it took her long enough. She’s really a nobody, you know.”

Maybe I need to be a bitch. A real one. Like Martha Stewart. Prison didn’t change her much from what I see and hear, in fact, I’ll bet she’s probably bitchier. (I know someone that met her, whoo-wee, you wouldn’t believe it – the woman can say what she wants, act how she wants, and get away with it.)

Now she’s even got a TV show like Donald Trump’s! No matter how you feel about her, she’s faced her demons, paid a lot of dues. She’s laughed in the face of adversity and has said to her accusers, “Hell with you, peckerhead, I can do what I want when I get out of here, and you’ll still be an attorney working for a pittance of what I make in a day! The words Ex-Con on my resume, doesn’t matter a hill of beans.” She’s turned her adversity into her advantage. Prison only cost her a few months of her life and made her richer, more powerful, and even more famous.

But, I wonder how many people, if the truth was told, how many people really love her. How many.

Many respect her, she makes people rich. But how many who know her, love her.

I wonder if it bothered Martha years ago when she first got started, when people said nasty things about her, called her a failure.

Maybe I should be a bitch … and not care.

Problem is … I do … care.


It hurts to care.

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's A Dog's Life

My writing buddy, Dena, was on the radio this morning being interviewed about her new book coming out ... Lessons in Stalking...Adjusting to Life With Cats - Also, she had two stories in the Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. Great interview, a whole hour on WGOS am radio. I'm sure it will sell more that a few books for her, Dena is nothing less than a professional with a sweet spirit, and a hell of a funny writer. (Other than the fact that the radio station didn't TAPE THE ridiculous is went off without a my humble opinion.)

But I don't have cats. I'm allergic. I like cats, but I can't say I've ever loved a cat never having the opportunity. My eyes itch and turn red and I sneeze for hours, so cats aren't something I've gravitated to. But dogs, that's different. My two doggies, little Maltese - Sebastian and Ariel (yes, from the Little Mermaid) are the luckiest two puppies on the face of the earth. They're never alone, they get too much to eat, and they spend their time ... sleeping most of the day away.

Other than when my mother-in-law (really they're her dogs) feeds them and lets them out, for the most part - they're a couple of pig bellies. I love them dearly...they're like having a constant baby around, but not as much work.

I watch them as they lay here at my feet, snoring. I'm thinking about joining them.

What a way to live ... no worries from one meal to the next.

A dog's life. Nice.

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

An Oprah Moment for a Woman at Sea

I was born the same year as Oprah. I've watched her closely from the time she arrived in Chicago to today. I love her. Dearly. Most people do. She is the great humanitarian that will be studied in history books by our great grandchildren. I quote her from time-to-time and one of my favorites is, "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." When I think of this quote, I think of Michael's cousin, Beth. A cousin, I've claimed as my own.

Take a look at this woman's blog. Talk about courage. She's on a trip around the world, a Semester at Sea, working administratively on a ship full of students and faculty that takes them to ports around the globe. A breath-taking adventure, not only at sea, but in courage. How many of us would do that, as adults ... living in comfort zones far beyond what we deserve, settled into routines we take for granted. How many of us would leave our families to teach young people there's a world out there, far beyond the suburbs and highways of America. A third world ... and not all of it nice.

Take a look ... - rewind and start from the beginning.

There is no doubt in my mind, she's coming back as a different woman than when she left. She'll be here at Christmas, and I'm anxious to hear all of it. No travel writer (in my humble opinion) gets this kind of opportunity. Her account of her travels and her time on board ship, should be published in a book. I don't think she realizes how she mesmerizes those of us who are following her.

Your family and friends are watching, Beth.

Oprah would definitely be proud.

Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I'm Not Elizabeth Spencer

Sometimes I wish I was. I took a long look at her mile long list of awards and accomplishments this morning. The woman is a giant in the literary world. A beautiful website,, her writing is legendary.

Alas, I feel as though I'm in a race against time. Still chasing the dream. Who wouldn't love to be legendary? I want to be like Elizabeth when I grow up.

And, I know what I don't want to be.

I'm sure I don't want to be fluffy and stuffy like some MFA writers I've read lately. It's like wading through pages of riddles. At other times I read their stories and feel like I'm trudging through mud. My mind wanders so bad it takes me friggen forever to get through the damn thing. And I always feel like I have to finish it, "because it was written by someone that went to school for a DEGREE in writing." I forget sometimes, that twenty years of studying the craft and writing most everyday has to count for something. But I swear, most of these writers, it's like I'm reading an article in JAMA about brain surgery. Or worse, the side effects on a bottle of aspirin. I get to the end, and think, Huh? What is it he/she was trying to say? What is this ending all about? What the hell was this? It's as if they have all this "education" and are severely lacking in natural God-given storytelling ability.

I love what Willa Cather said. "The talent for writing is largely the talent for living, and it is utterly independent of knowledge."

I like stories that are easy to read, touch your heart, move you, make you laugh, take your mind off your troubles, put you in another world, make you forget you're reading a book and before you know it, it's 2 a.m. I don't want to search for deep hidden meangings. Good God, spit it out. Don't make me have to work for what you're trying to tell me. I want a good story, not a spin off of your Master's thesis.

The events I've experienced, the stories that've been passed down to me, living here in the South, the long road I traveled to get to this point - once again, counts for something. I've got something to say. And I plan to write it all down.

I do love the work of Elizabeth Spencer. I understand what she writes. I get it. When I see Elizabeth at the end of the month, I'm sure she'll have lots of interesting things to say. I respect her and her work, as well as all the legendary writers here in my neck of the woods. But I think, in the end, we're all made out of the same kind of mud. Some writers just make better pies.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Foggy Morning, A Foggy Mind

A blanket of cloud lays over the Triad this morning. I think it's invaded my head. I can't seem to shake it out. It could be because I was up 'til two a.m. finishing a story.

I'm still rubbing my eyes and I'm e-mailed new pictures of a Michael's brand new great nephew, Tanner. Our nephew, Nick, looks so fresh and rested while Tanner's mommy looks pretty, but wasted. Like she's just had a baby. God, I remember those "newborn" days. Talk about a cloudy head. I think the fog never lifted until my babies were three months old. It cracks me up, all new mothers are anxious to get home and "get started." If they only knew what awaits them ... they'd beg the insurance companies for a week in the hospital.

But, from the looks of things our little great nephew, Tanner, might be the perfect child. Sleep all night, never spit up, never leak poop out his diapers, never cause his parents a sleepless night, never scream for no reason, never embarass his mama at the Food Lion, never pitch a fit in Target, never come home covered in mud from head to toe with frogs in his pockets, never wreck his bike and skin his knees ... just the perfect little boy.

Ain't happenin' Nick and Lesley.

And you wouldn't want it any other way. Cherish the memories ... even the nasty ones that keep you up for days. You'll laugh about 'em later. Congratuations!

I guess I'm waking up. Another cup of coffee should burn out the rest of the fog. I'll stare at the baby pictures a little longer. Maybe that'll help me remember what it was like to be totally fogged up.

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

One Day At A Time, Sweet Jesus

I know ... it's an old song.

But it describes how I feel this morning. I think I'm getting a lot accomplished, and then I look at my six mile long list. I think Michael's is a mile and half longer than mine, though.

Today's entry is a mixture of bits and pieces of everything.

A visit to WCOM yesterday and a read on the radio humbled and inspired me at the same time. Typically, I don't like the sound of my voice on recordings, but I'll be danged, this didn't sound too bad. In fact, I heard a bit of Marshall Chapman in there somewhere. (Whoo-wee. Love that woman's voice.) And, I love radio and I'm hoping to do more of it. Michael will be adding yet another page to the web site so you'll be able to listen to this recording.

I feel a mixture of emotions this morning. It seems the proverbial carrot of success swings just beyond my grasp as I trudge down this writing road. I think I'm working harder than I've ever worked in my life. But somehow, a writer's world is different in that it's much more personal. Sometimes instead of gaining confidence, I think I'm overwhelmed by the craft and all its "rules." I want to write and not think or worry about my choice of verb or too much backstory. I just want to write great pieces of literature that'll churn over in someone's head throughout the night and next day. I'm sure I'm not alone in my thoughts here. I want to write for the people, NOT the publishers.

The more I know ... the less confident I feel ... the harder I work. Who said chasing your dream was easy? But I can't imagine going back to anything else. I think the secret to grabbing the carrot and holding on to it is to stay inspired. A writer's mind never sleeps. Inspiration comes in many ways.

Today, I'm inspired by the mass of homeless humanity and weather events. This country and it's "natural" disasters wears thin on all of us. My heart bleeds for the vast number of displaced citizens. I want this damn blasted hurricane season to end. Our weather beaten Southern states are facing yet another bout of madness in the form of Rita. We've made all the way to R ... good grief.

We could all have a coronary over it. (Oh man, I need some humor today!)

And yet, we find ways to entertain ourselves in the midst of this weather madness. In the form of football season. A diversion.

My list is waiting as I as beat away on this blog. I need to inspire myself into the shower and get on with my day.

One more cup of coffee ... add a few more things to the list.

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Southeast Booksellers Association Trade Show PART II

My Sisters in Crime group kicked butt. The table was hoppin'. All day Saturday and today. A great bunch of people signing their books, in support of each other, and talking about their group and the Mystery Writers of America. Pictures will be posted to the web site at the end of the month. These writers are phenomenal. Many thanks to Sarah Shaber, Author of Tar Heel Dead. She organized a great table for all of us to promote ourselves and our group. Thank you, Sarah.

SEBA is a much smaller version, of course, than the Book Expo America. But, they're impressive. They are highly organized and offer great support and encouragment to their members. I enjoyed walking around (when I had the chance) and viewing the tables of all the exhibitors.

All that being said ... here's what disturbed me ... I overheard and ran into some pretty rude authors. I just couldn't believe my ears and eyes. Gettin' all pissy if you were standing in line to get a signed copy of their book and you weren't a bookseller. What the hell is that all about? First of all, I'm paying to get in or working a table same as the bookseller. Second, if you're passing out copies of your book to someone interested enough to stand in line to get one, be grateful. Who cares if the person asking sweetly for your book is a vendor, author, bookseller, or the building janitor? The bookseller isn't the only one that sells books. Word of mouth is huge to an author. If I am lucky enough to get to a trade show and get a copy of your book, I'm going to read it and recommend it to just as many people as I can.

I was offended by the behavior of some of the authors I came into contact with. My God, I thought, and these people are Southern authors? Where's their manners? I understand authors don't want people getting their books for "free." Honey, I understand that. Because I hope to be in the same boat someday. But not everybody can get into trade shows, or wants to, or can afford it... but those of us that take the time and pay the bucks to get in or work the shows, should be treated with the same respect as everyone else. We're all in this together.

I want to SELL as many books as I can--just like you ... but I hope when I'm in your position, I'm not going to look at the color of someone's badge and sneer at them because they're not a bookseller.

Publishers! I recommend you give your authors some lessons in manners...especially when they sit at your booths.

As for the author that was rude to me ... will I recommend her book?

What do YOU think?

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Southeast Booksellers Association Trade Show to yet another world of books... working tables today with my Sisters In Crime group from High Point. We're lucky this year, the trade show is in Winston-Salem. I'm so excited to work this show ... and I'm ready to stuff buyers bags with my own promotional piece.

Michael and I have worked hard all week getting the cover of Southern Fried Women and the back cover ready to go for this show. It's a beautiful piece of artwork and description, if I say so myself. I'm about ready to take an Ambien and go to sleep for twelve hours.

But I've still got to get in the shower, meet Dena for lunch to plan her book launch, and be at the convention center at one.

Then set up the table with the Sisters, work until six, meet Michael for dinner ... and drive home.

It's been crazy like this all week. I think I'll get drunk tomorrow.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cassandra King and Friends

Yesterday was the Fall Meeting of the High Point Literary League featuring Cassandra King as the speaker. Author of Making Waves, The Sunday Wife, and Same Sweet Girls. And as luck would have it, I was able to sit at the table with her.

But even better than that. I sat right beside her.

I love this woman. Her books are great works about friendship. But they also keep you riveted to the pages. I think one gets a picture of living in the South, how other women deal with divorce, death, raising children, falling in love later in life, and just what it means to have real and precious girlfriends.

I highly recommend reading Cassandra King.

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Assholes Are The Center Of The Universe ...

I had lunch yesterday with three great friends I used to work with. (When I used to have a J-O-B.)

I love all the women there. God bless 'em. Lil, Angie, and Susan are true Southern women and give me so much material to write about, I'm rapidly taking notes in my head until finally, I haul my pen and pad out of my purse. I can't contain myself, I'm crying with laughter, making a pure spectacle of myself.

These girls make me laugh like no one else can.

Susan gives me a list of "sayin's my mama says." Like, "Assholes are the center of the universe, when it speaks, you listen." I died.

Whoo-wee. You had to be there.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Great and Funny Blog - Sunday - I'm A Woman Now

I remember the days of the 3 inchers. You wear sneakers to walk the mile into work, then another quarter mile to your office after entering the building. Should you forget to wear your sneakers, you either pull your nylons off in the car to walk barefoot into the office, or drive back home and call off sick. The pain isn't worth it.

Upon getting to your desk, you pull off your comfy Reeboks, socks, adjust the toes of your pantyhose, then slip into your pretty stilettos. They smile up at you just waiting to sabotage your day. As long as you're sitting, you're fine. You walk to the copier, make coffee, stop for a quick chat with a co-worker. So far, so good. But after ten minutes of standing in your Director's office you're reaching for the chair in front of his desk. Later, you can manage a trip to the restroom because sitting on the toilet gives your feet a brief rest.

After a morning of heavy computer work at your desk, you brave the thought of pain and head for the cafeteria downstairs. You make a quick pass for an apple, a tuna sandwich, and hope the checkout line isn't too long. Then you quickly rush for the elevator. By this time, your bunion, corn, and ingrown toenails are screaming.

"Pretty shoes," says a co-worker.

"Thanks," you say as you're shifting your weight from one leg to the other.


"The most comfy shoes in my closet." Liar. (By this time you're biting the inside of your mouth and squeezing your butt cheeks together the pain is so intense.)

You wobble back to your desk and under it's cover kick off your shoes, cuss, and go barefoot the rest of the afternoon.

Yes, those were the days. I laugh at Carrie Bradshaw wearing her four hundred dollar stilettos around New York City. Of course, it helps if you weigh 90 pounds and are getting paid a million bucks to do it.

Nowadays, my shoe collection is different shades of flip flops. Or bare feet.

I'm sure my friend Dena will be abosolutely gorgeous in her new shoes! As long as she doesn't have to walk to far. :-)

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

French Toast and Friends

Mmm-mmm good. French toast. Picture it ... thick sliced with the perfect batter, fried golden brown and covered in butter and warm syrup ... red skinned fried potatoes and onions on the side. Fresh muffins and hot rich coffee with cream. We Southerners know how to eat.

Michael and I met our friends this morning for breakfast. I love the heathen hour. That Sunday morning time between 10 and noon, before the church people let out and crowd the restaurants with screaming babies and kids.

Brunch with friends on a warm, sunny, Sunday. Of course we had to get home right afterward - NFL football starts today. There are few Southern men that can't be in front of the TV during football season. But that's okay - I'll pop in from time to time, get a few scores, yell "hold 'em!" or "pass the ball!" for effect, and find out where my husband and 76-year-old mother-in-law stands in the family football pool.

The woman loves football more than most women I know! Of course, I'd venture to say she not like most 76-year-olds you know. She loves to watch the Gaither's sing gospel on TV, wiping her eyes while they sing What A Friend We Have In Jesus. Then she stands, strolls to the sliding glass doors, lights her cigarette (after all it's been five minutes, since her last one), and as she opens the blinds to look at the outdoor thermometer she says matter-of-fact, "I wonder what the temperature is on my dick?" (She means deck.) What do you expect from a woman whose favorite word is the F word? There's never a dull moment around my house. She is who she is, loves her family, pulls no punches, and doesn't give a damn what people think.

I love her. I hope to be just like her when I grow up.

Okay, so I'm rambling today ... here's to a lovely sunny day with a nip of fall in the air.

By the way, we all had french toast except Dena, but I'm having what she had next time - Salmon Benedict!

Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Book Festival

Book Marks Book Festival in Winston-Salem was beyond my expectations. Michele Andrea Bowen, Church Folk; Second Sunday; Dorothea Benton Frank, Pawleys Island; Bill Thompson, Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs - Reflections on North Carolina Life; Ann B. Ross, The Miss Julia Series; Quinn Dalton, Bulletproof Girl; Mindy Friddle, The Garden Angel; Lynn York, The Piano Teacher; Sara Shaber, Tar Heel Dead; Michael Parker, If You Want Me To Stay; Tommy Hays, The Pleasure Was Mine; Lynne Hinton, The Last Odd Day; Micah Nathan, Gods of Aberdeen; Edward Falco, Wolf Point, and my favorite today was Gene Cheek, The Color of Love: A Mother's Choice in the Jim Crow South.

These are just a sampling of the authors at the festival today. Exhibitors including publishers, concessions, Barnes & Noble, and a bright blue sunny sky and low humidity.

I'm tired, covered with dust, my feet hurt, my back aches, but I had a blast! Stay tuned for pictures on my web site!
Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sister Story Goddesses

Throughout the course of this blog, you'll hear about the Story Goddesses. A group of six women, writers and editors with flare. We met in Orlando at the Breakout Novel Intensive and we all just clicked. Like a bunch of giddy girls that love to dance and drink mojitos. We range in ages, backgrounds, and writing experience. We live in New York, Washington, Idaho, North Carolina, Maryland, and Florida. But our goals are all to publish and over the months, our friendships solidified so thoroughly that one would wonder about the destiny of it all. Pictures of the goddesses can be found on my web site in Journey 2005 and in the Photo Album.

I think of my SSG's and miss them when the week goes by with no emails flying back and forth. I wonder if Lisa is back home from Australia, and just what is next on her wedding list of things to do. And if the conferences outside of the U.S. are as wonderful as ours. I miss Lisa's sweetness.

I think about Jody, and if she's winding down after a great season of weddings, and long nights of other people's parties at their restaurant. Where is she with her book. Done, I'll bet, or close to it. I miss being around Jody's tenacity.

How Bitsy is so lucky to be grandmother to THREE. How her baby boy is doing. If she's ready to publish that hot romance. I miss Bitsy's voice. I really do. I miss hearing the sound of her laugh.

And where in the world is Beth Ann? I read her blog and miss her even more. The woman is fearless. She's on a round the world cruise, how fearless is that? In more ways than one. I miss Beth's calming quality. And her unconditional love.

And Jolee, is she ready to sell and move inland? Or will she stick out yet another hurricane season? The yoga queen will prevail. A woman of substance. God, I miss her moxie!

I suppose all the hurricane devastation has made me a little melancholy. I miss my friends.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Writers' Group Of The Triad is their web site. Take a look. I'm the PR Director of this group, and other than working on my own writing, this group is my support system second to my husband.

Stay tuned because I'm also the Chairman of the 2006 Poetry and Short Fiction Awards. An international contest with two $500 cash first prizes. I'll post the submission guidelines in the near future. Contest opens January 1, 2006 and ends April 30, 2006. We will also be publishing the top ten finalists in an anthology. Lots of good things in the works.

If you're a writer, think about submitting to this contest.
Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Don't You Get Bored At Home?

"I'm not sure I should dignify this question with an answer." That was a quote my mama used often. "Young lady, I'm not sure I can dignify your question with an answer." (I know, makes no sense to me either.)

I'd like to ask a question myself that I'm sure the State officials in Louisiana won't dignify with an answer. Actually, the question was originally asked by a writing buddy of mine, Karen. She was puzzled about this and frankly, so am I. Karen's question was, "Did the state follow The Louisiana's Hurricane Emergency Plan? In the plan, the State was supposed to use city vehicles, school buses, etc. to evacuate the people when a mandatory evacuation was declared PRIOR to the hurricane."

And what about this question? Can we dignify it? "How come they MOVED the prisoners, over 6500, from low lying areas prior to the storm? I know you can't assign different values to human life, but why would they move prisoners and leave the general population to face this on their own?" Karen and I are pretty damn curious about that one.

I suppose, we all have a truck load of questions about that disaster we'd like to ask and will never get a straight answer. In the meantime, we'll watch CNN like everybody else. Maybe Wolf Blitzer can find out.

Oh, the original question - Do I get bored at home. Good Lord, no. I don't have time to get bored. I'm up 'til after midnight as it is. Is that dignified enough for ya? (Stay at home mothers everywhere can concur.)

Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Trying To Empty A Lake Using An Eyedropper

I received an e-mail this morning from a friend who said that sending her two bags of toiletries to the hurricane Katrina victims was like trying to empty a lake using an eyedropper. I think we all feel that way, to a degree. I sit and watch report after report of the horrendous aftermath of this storm on these people, and I think we all tend to feel helpless.

Katrina has and will continue to impact our lives in ways we've only begun to see. I thought about all the catastrophes in our country over the past 200 years, starting with the founding of our nation. The impact that had on native Americans, and then the Revolutionary War. The Civil War, many years later, changed us in ways we still feel today. The stories of the depression my grandma told were horrific in themselves. For me, the Vietnam war and 9/11 had a huge impact. As a mother of a Marine, our boys are fighting and dying in heat and conditions RIGHT NOW we can't imagine. Now, this. Can we pull together, once again? I once heard that the mothers of the world should get together and bring peace. Maybe there's some truth to that.

Sorry, don't mean to bring us down here, but I think sometimes we need to take a look at the past, realize ... we've been through shit before. We can get through this. No matter how you feel about Bush, or the Mayor of New Orleans, that really doesn't matter in the end. What matters is that we find our American spirit. I believe it's part of our DNA, if you're an American.

But like my dear friend said to me, "maybe if we all used an eye dropper, we could eventually empty that lake."

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What is a Southern Fried Woman?

One warm Carolina day, I said to a certain young woman of mine that the average Yankee man knows as much about a Southern Fried Woman as a cat knows about God’s plan of redemption.

“What’s a Southern Fried Woman? Lord, Mama, where d’you come up with that?”

I’m great at embarrassing my kids.

And so, I explained … while she sat and dutifully listened, as always.

A Southern Fried Woman’s family and friends laugh at her dreams. But Southern Fried Women have learned not to boil over about it and make a mess. They fry all the criticism out of their heads, admiring and tasting the occasional golden brown results … when nobody else does.

Boiling it down, they’re women born below the Mason Dixon line and range in age from sixteen to ninety-six. They’re not only fried, they’re burnt out on empty promises, dead end jobs, junk cars, making ends meet, and cheating husbands. Southern Fried Women are what Faith Hill, Loretta Lynn, and Patty Loveless sing about. Pasty Cline, Marshall Chapman, and the Judd’s are fine examples of Southern Fried Women.

Not being perfect, Southern Fried Women live to love again, believing the next set of dreams won’t give out.

For years, Southern Fried Women have fled northern cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Chicago. They escape the bitter cold of bad relationships and weather and return to the peace they once thought was boredom. They travel back to a life they once ran away from to achieve dreams that over time turned into nightmares.

Searching for the comfort of their roots, the Southern Fried Woman packs her car, her kids, and sometimes her husband, and heads home. Home to the “hollers” and coal towns of West Virginia and Kentucky, the Blue Ridge and beaches of Virginia, and the North Carolina Mountains and Outer Banks. The Low Country and battlefields of South Carolina whisper to her daily. Her eyes close and the plantations and bayou of Louisiana flash on her brain screen. The peach groves and rural dirt roads of Georgia call her in her dreams. Cotton fields and shrimp boats in Alabama invade her thoughts. The everglades, horse farms, and keys of Florida beckon. A vast river called the Mississippi winds through her memories. All roads lead to the Great Smoky Mountains and the back roads of Tennessee for some Southern Fried Women. The lakes, rivers, and farms of Arkansas reach out and pull her by the hand. The Southlands draw her to a place she once called home, or to a new place that something reincarnated in her must find.

Before she reaches the Ohio River, she hears the call of the whippoorwill, the wind rushing through the tobacco fields, and the whir of the cicada. She feels the hot sun on her back, tastes the sweet tea of the local diner where she had her first date and the salty air of the barrier island beaches where she lost her virginity.

A Southern Fried Woman is fed up with promises of something better. She woke up to find she possessed the ingredients for a happy life a long time ago. She’s let go of her pain, to hell with her pride. The dream was never any further than her mama’s backyard.

Southern Fried Women not only have all their eggs in one basket, they’ve fried them up with grits and gravy, hot buttered biscuits, and a pound of bacon and don’t give a damn who knows it. Southern Fried Women can’t stand to eat alone. When they cook a mess of beans, they want to eat them with a mess of people. But they’re experts at drinking alone.

A Southern Fried Woman knows life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. They keep away from skunks, lawyers, and people who’ve been mean to them and learned a long time ago you can't unsay a cruel thing. A Southern Fried Woman’s path has had some puddles. They’ve washed a lot of mud off their faces.

They’re not frail and they don’t swoon. Southern Fried Women are about as fragile as a pack mule. After all, their mama’s taught them how to wash laundry in a Hotpoint on the back porch hanging miles of wet, heavy sheets and to pray the rain holds off. They iron their own clothes and can do their own hair and nails. They’ve been preached to, lied about, screamed at, broken, bruised, and just plain FRIED. They never give up; they just go home.

So you ask me, what is a Southern Fried Woman?

She’s any woman brave enough to start over again, Darlin’, never gives up her dream, wherever she decides home is.

Blessings to you and yours.