"People want to know about you, who you are."
That's what my oldest son said.
It's no secret that I want people to buy, read and like, my just released novel. After it got published, I hit the social media ground running with a website, a twitter feed, and this blog. It's too soon to tell what, if any, difference it's all making. I started down this public road because of my book, and like many reclusive writers I balked at all the self promotion.
I have to say though, I've enjoyed writing this blog. More than I thought I would. And, I hope people read it and enjoy it...more than I thought I would.
So, I thought I'd take my son's advice and talk about who I am, even though it feels weird. Who cares? But, in case anyone does...
I grew up on a highway - this highway. A sort of town, in the middle of nowhere. "Huh? Where is that?" people say when I tell them.
"You don't look like you come from a place like that," used to be the highest compliment anyone could pay me. But, now, I'm not so sure.
After all, it's on this highway that I learned:
how to slit a turkey's throat then stuff it for Thanksgiving.
how to cut the balls off a bull then fry 'em up in a pan.
how to load a gun.
how to shoot clay pigeons and glass bottles at the dump.
how to ride a motorcycle.
how to drive a tractor
how to mix a 7 & 7
what a brooder is.
how to get thrown off a horse, just right.
how to smoke.
how to put peanuts in my coke.
that eating Faye White's homemade maple bars are the closest I'll get to heaven.
What's a town without its people? There're not a lot of them there, but in all my over 50 years, I've never met people anything like those I grew up with and I don't believe I ever will. Eccentricity, to me is normal. Some say the characters in my novels are...well...odd. To me, spending time with them is just like spending a day on the highway.
The folks where I grew up believe:
drinking and driving is a skill set.
getting run over by tractor blades doesn't necessarily kill you.
a dog mauling among friends isn't that big a deal.
Pi aren't squared. Pi are round. Cornbread are squared.
"I thought somebody woulda shot you by now" is the same as "I'm so glad to see you."
pot can grow in barns.
you should be nice to your neighbors, you'll be related to them eventually.
the system is there to work it.
they should put your crippled horse down because you don't have the heart for it.
they should drive you to the grocery store or the doctor or anywhere you need to go if you don't know how to drive.
they should sell things they can't afford to be without so they can pool their money and give you $13,000 in a cigar box to help pay for your chemotherapy.
they should come to your house as many times as you need so they can change your dying husband's diaper because he's too heavy for you to lift.
they should give you their last piece of bread because you're hungry.
eating Faye White's homemade maple bars are the closest they'll get to heaven.
Funny enough, I couldn't get outta there fast enough.
But, the truth is, I go back there in my mind, every day of my life.
It's the well I draw from, they're the people I carry with me, the place I count on to never change. I wouldn't be a writer if I hadn't come from there, or known those people.
Now, my life couldn't be further from this place. I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, retired professional fundraiser, writer, and author. I don't smoke. I live on the 28th floor of a luxurious high rise in the center of a bustling city, downtown. I love clothes, shoes and Le Creuset cookware. This is my life now, it's who I am.
But it's not all I am.
I'm still the girl who:
loves the smell of wet alfalfa, chicken frying in a cast iron skillet, all you can eat buffets and road trips.
won't pay full price. Ever.
loves costume jewelry better than real.
could get down on my knees in gratitude when I go to the grocery store and don't have to put anything back at the checkout counter because I don't have enough money.
never did learn to make maple bars.
And no matter where my life leads, or what I accomplish, inside I'm still that poor, uneducated, pregnant 17 year-old who came from the highway and dreamed of bigger things.
8/5/2013 05:31:42 am
I'm glad you enjoy writing your blog. I certainly enjoy reading it. The commonalities I see in this piece just make me smile. I'm sure there are many others who will recognize parts of themselves in it as well.
8/5/2013 06:49:41 am
Thanks for reading, and for all your kind words!
8/9/2013 12:46:41 pm
Love this post I can identify with many of the memory stirring things you written here. So perfectly worded !
8/10/2013 12:19:59 am
I'm so glad you connected with it. Thank you for reading and leaving such a nice comment.
8/11/2013 01:05:28 pm
I found your blog due to a sponsored Facebook post. Something about it drew me to do what I rarely do: click. I'm glad I did. You write very well, and I like that. Before I check out your book, I want to get to your short stories, because I'm first and foremost a short story kind of guy....
8/11/2013 10:19:43 pm
I'm so grateful that you did. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. I hope you like my story. I plan to put more short stories up, but am trying to finish my second book as well. Thanks again for stopping by, I hope you keep reading.
8/14/2013 09:03:32 am
This the first blog I've ever read. Probably because you're a writer. Thanks, I loved it.
8/14/2013 01:32:17 pm
We're even! This is the first blog I've ever written. I'm so glad you took the time to read and comment. It really means a lot. I hope you come back and keep reading.
8/14/2013 12:29:50 pm
I love your writing! Spare and clear, focused so we can know. Thank you!
8/14/2013 01:33:20 pm
I'm so glad! Thank you for reading. I hope you keep coming back. Really. Thanks so much.
8/17/2013 12:41:58 am
Loved reading this and the first three chapters on Amazon. As a published author myself I look forward to reading it. Just curious, how would one obtain a signed copy? Are you doing any book signings?
8/17/2013 03:48:51 am
Thank you, so much! I hope you enjoy the book, too. I'm doing a signing in Denver on August 31st from 2-5 at the Four Seasons. I'm also doing one in Carpinteria, CA at the end of September, exact date TBD. Not sure where you are, but if you're in either area, please drop by. I will post the exact date in September on FB.
8/17/2013 10:15:21 am
Oooooohh now I have to read the book. I'm really intrigued. Your blog has me hunting for a kindle edition.
8/19/2013 06:41:55 am
Thanks so much for reading and commenting! And subscribing. You can get the kindle version at Amazon. I hope you like it.
8/23/2013 05:23:35 am
So glad I read this! I stopped on your picture cuz I liked your hair! I really like your bio though and I can relate! I am going to read your books now because you are the real deal!
8/23/2013 06:53:00 am
So happy my hair brought you here! Thanks so much for your nice comment and for reading. I hope you like my book and would love to hear from you after you read it.
11/20/2013 11:44:27 pm
You sound like ok people to me.
11/21/2013 12:45:15 am
Yes, unfortunately many of these little gems look like ghost towns now. My hometown too. No more young people. Sad. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Thank you for sharing this about yourself! I enjoyed reading this. I get what you said about self-promotion and feeling funny, it does feel odd to do it, doesn't it? I grew up on a farm and did some things and learned some things nobody would ever believe looking at me now. I often go back to those days in my mind too, just as you said you do. Anyway, I enjoyed this post and wish you all the best with your book!
11/21/2013 01:49:53 am
Thank you, Lissa. Self promotion is really icky. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel. But, I've also met some really nice people because of it. So...I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.
1/16/2016 04:43:02 pm
Awesomeness! Not many people who leave 'home' still refer to it as home. They say 'I'm from..." It was a special time & is a special place....always my home!
1/17/2016 01:05:38 pm
Me too. You don't know what you had till it's gone.
1/16/2016 06:41:10 pm
love your writing only reason i saw this was because some one you tagged on facebook my family lived in cuyama for many years stacy"s parents are my godparents
1/17/2016 01:12:07 pm
So glad you stopped by, took the time to read and comment. Thank you! The Wades were/are such special people. Ninalee and Bill were like my parents. We all had lots of "parents" in Cuyama.
1/16/2016 07:16:19 pm
Life in that valley certainly made you realize the importance of the simple things
1/17/2016 01:13:16 pm
We certainly didn't feel poor. We were rich in all the things that mattered. Thank you so much for reading. I remember your family well. Laura...such a sweetie.
Gina Darrah Fair
1/17/2016 01:09:42 am
Beautifully written - I remember with fondness - spending the night at your house "Kathy" and we would get up early in the morning and feed those blasted turkeys. I liked it because your mom paid us. I wish I had tasted Faye White's maple bars. Kerrylea - please find recipe and share.
1/17/2016 01:14:32 pm
Those damn turkeys! What an experience. I eat those maple bars in my dreams. Miss you, girl.
Oh. My. Goodness. You are me. Or I am you. I, too came from a little hole-in-the-wall place on the highway just north of the Alberta/Montana border. All of me comes from there. All of my stories come from there. My characters. My beliefs. I LOVED reading this. And getting to know your roots just a little better!
1/17/2016 01:15:57 pm
Those hole in the wall towns are THE BEST. My husband is from Havre, Montana! Salt of the earth folks. My roots are always showing, no matter where I live, or how old I get.
11/28/2016 01:06:56 pm
Enjoyed reading. I still remember the poems you used to write. You have a wonderful talent....
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IF YOU LIKE THE BLOGS YOU'LL LOVE THE NOVELS IN HER TWISTED CRIME SERIES