Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear friends. 
And God bless.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rest in Peace, Nelson Mandela.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
~ Nelson Mandela ~
 July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet,
For song of bird, and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
For pleasant shade of branches high,
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Sunday, November 24, 2013


A room without books
is like a body without a soul.
~ Cicero ~

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963


I was twenty-three years old when President John F. Kennedy was assasinated on November 22, 1963, and I cannot begin to tell you how horrible that day was.  I posted about it five years ago:  Blowin' in the Wind.

Like all Americans, my husband and I were glued to the television, and to this day, when I hear "Hail to the Chief," I am swept back in time to our young President's funeral where the Air Force band played the anthem on the steps of the rotunda. 

I was brought to tears.  Again.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Little Girls

My great-granddaughter, Kamryn

Little girls are made of sunshine
and cupcakes and fresh morning dew,
And these are the reasons, little one,

why everyone loves you.

~ Karen Barnes ~ 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Update: Murder at the P. O.

My short story, "Murder at the P. O.," is now online.  It's in the inaugural issue of Blank Fiction Magazine, Page 37. 

This is my first attempt at writing a murder mystery, and I really enjoyed it. 

I hope you enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Memory

I could bear the memory, but I could not bear the music
that made the memory such a killing thing.
~ Pat Conroy ~

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Murder at the P. O.

My story, "Murder at the P. O.," has been accepted for publication in the first issue of Blank Fiction Magazine.  It will be out in November.

I wrote a version of the story years ago but never attempted to get it published. I knew it wasn't quite ready. But several months ago I took another look at it and began revising; leaving it for weeks at a time, and going back and revising, revising, revising, before finally deeming it might be publishable.

It was worth it, though, particularly when the editor of Blank added this note: We very much liked the way you braided the narrative together through different character perspectives.
And to a writer, that means the world.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Woman

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know
how strong she is until she gets into hot water.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Answers

The answers are within me.
I only need to open my mind
and heart to find them.

~ Louise L. Hay ~ 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Poem

As the sun sets and shadows fall,
she walks in purple dusk...

I was very curious when I was a child, always asking questions:

"Why does Mr. Bill walk everywhere?" 

"He doesn't drive," Maw Maw Wilson said, "Never has."

"Why did Mr. Riley just stand there and not say a word when Brother Crider told him to give the closing prayer?"

"He's always been backward."

Although Maw Maw's answers didn't contain much detail, I was satisfied.  They made sense. 

What didn't make sense were the answers I got when I asked why everyone in the neighborhood got so upset when Lily Worthington's husband took her to Memphis every now and then.  They discussed it relentlessly, shaking their heads, voices down to murmurs, pained looks on their faces.

"She has spells sometimes," Maw Maw explained, "And makes a lot of cakes."

Mother's answer was a little more detailed; she said Lily had problems, which caused her to stay up all night, making cakes.

But I didn't understand that.  Mother and my grandmothers made cakes; every woman I knew made cakes.  Even I made cakes.  We made them during the day, of course, but what was wrong with making them at night?  And why did Lily's husband have to take her to Memphis because she made cakes? 

That is why, after all these years, I wrote "The Poem."  Although the idea for the story came from Lily, it is purely a work of fiction.   

"The Poem" was accepted by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.  You can find it here.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Writing

If you do not breathe through writing,
if you do not cry out in writing,
or sing in writing, then don't write,
because our culture has no use for it.
~ Anais Nin ~

Sunday, June 30, 2013

An Honest Book

I've received great news.  Shapato Publishing has accepted my story, An Honest Book, for inclusion in their upcoming 2013 anthology, the sixth in a series of true stories about growing up on farms or in small towns in the Midwest. 

The book, Needle in a Haystack, will be available on Amazon in October.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart
 do not know how to laugh, either.
  ~ Golda Meir ~

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Sacrifices He Made

Tommy J. Wilson
My father never much liked having his picture taken.  I finally found this one Gina took in 1988.  He was down in the Mississippi River Bottoms where he farmed, like generations of Wilsons before him.  He loved working the land.  But as the family grew, he took a job in Paducah to make ends meet. 
I miss you, Daddy.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate the sacrifices you made for us.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Southerners' Memories: A Time Machine

* * *
They say we Southerners live in the past. That, they say, is our problem; the past is dead, Faulkner or no Faulkner.
I guess I could try to explain, to tell them that for us memory is not an inventory, not a catalog of events, but a time machine. It lifts us off the dull treadmill of grown-up responsibilities to a time of adventure and wonder. The past is not dead, and so the dead are never really gone. We resurrect them, daily, for one more story, one more buck dance or ball game, or one more cast into the cool water.
  Southern Living Magazine

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Real Meaning of Memorial Day

The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.
~ Aaron Kilbourn ~

Friday, May 10, 2013

On Writing

Get yourself a notebook and write in it every night for two weeks.  Then stop if you can.  If you can't, you're a writer.
~Charles Ghigna~

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Life Is Like Coffee.

Savor the coffee, not the cup.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Saturday, April 13, 2013

On Writing

Writing, to me, is simply
thinking through my fingers.
~ Isaac Asimov ~

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Have a blessed Easter, dear friends.

And this is the promise
which He Himself
made to us:  eternal life.

~ 1 John 2:25 ~


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Blarney Castle

The English may have invented
their own language,
but the Irish perfected it.
~ Oscar Wilde ~

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My, Oh My, How Time Flies

Kamryn and her dad
This is a photo of my great-granddaughter, Kamryn, taken last night.  The photo of Kamryn's dad and my grandson, Chase, was taken in 1989. 

My, oh my, how time flies.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On Writing

You don't write because you want to say something,
you write because you've got something to say.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald ~

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hot Damn!

Brookfield, Illinois
Fall, 1960
Before we knew it, October’s bright blue weather had moved into the Windy City. Renewed and invigorated after the hot, muggy days of summer, I decided to host my first big Sunday dinner. Since space was limited in our two-room attic apartment, we invited three couples:  Roger and Sharon, the Jerrys (Jerri and Jerry) and Maurice and Glenda.
I rose early that morning and made a meat loaf from a recipe I’d found on the Quaker Oats box.  I wanted to make sure we had enough, so I doubled the recipe.  I also made huge bowls of mashed potatoes and coleslaw, opened four cans of pork & beans and Mexican corn and several  packages of brown & serve rolls.  (We ate leftovers for a week after that!) 

For appetizers, I made deviled eggs, dressing them up with half an olive in the center of each, and opened a bag of Ruffles potato chips. I served them with something new:  dip made from Lipton's onion soup mix. 

I put our yellow-flowered tablecloth (a wedding gift) on the little oval kitchen table and we found two backless old chairs and a stool in the kitchen crawl space.  I dusted them off, and as we were pulling them around the table, Roger and Sharon arrived.
Sharon rushed up the stairs carrying a beautiful homemade four-layer Red Velvet Cake with buttercream frosting.  Every other space was piled with pots and pans, so I told her to place it on the stove. (I forgot the stove was hot!)     

By that time Maurice and Glenda and the Jerrys had arrived, so I brought out the appetizers. 

Our guests were sitting on our saggy pin-striped sofa munching on potato chips and deviled eggs and sipping RC colas when unexpected guests stopped by:  Lloyd and Marion. As they grabbed some appetizers and plopped down on the floor, I rustled up two more plates.  Since there were no more chairs or forks, Carroll and Maurice stood and ate their meals with spoons.   

When dessert time came, Sharon removed the cover of her Red Velvet Cake and one layer immediately slid onto the stove.  We watched in horror as the second layer slid down the side of the stove and landed upside down on the floor.  

Sharon rushed to retrieve the two layers that were slowly sliding toward the edge, catching them in her hands and arms.  "Hot damn!" she squealed as I captured what was left on a cookie sheet.

As we were all giggling and trying to get the cake onto dessert plates, Jim and Hope showed up.  Although they said they had already eaten, Jim filled his plate.  Then he lined up alongside Carroll, Maurice, Roger and Jerry, making no comment when I gave him a spoon. Afterward, we all ate what was left of Sharon’s mushy (but delicious) Red Velvet Cake.
That afternoon we traveled in a motorcade to downtown Chicago where we toured the Museum of Science and Industry.  When we arrived back at our place, it was eight o'clock.  

"The night is young," Jim said, "Come on, follow us out to Joliet so you can see our new apartment!"

Hope and Jim's apartment was upstairs in an old house which smelled of mildew. It contained a small living room, two bedrooms and a small kitchen, all furnished in dilapidated furniture.
“This is really living!”Jim said, as we crowded into the bathroom with its turquoise toilet, pink sink and tub and yellow fish decals on the walls, “Isn't this some shit house?" 

We were all speechless.  Until Sharon poked her head in the door.  

"Hot damn!" she said.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Hoity-Toity Person

Don't y'all just detest people who think they are better than others; those who pass judgment on kind, caring people while building themselves up?  We Southerners call them "hoity-toity."

A good example of a hoity-toity person is Britanna Bridgewater.  She lives in the Deep South and is the focus of my short story which was published in Open Road Review this month. 

People Like Them can be found here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Fiction is like a spider’s web,
attached ever so lightly perhaps,
but still attached to life at all four corners.
~ Virginia Woolf ~ 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

True Beauty

People are like stained-glass windows. 
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in
their true beauty  is revealed
only if there is light from within.
~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross~

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Favorite Grandson!

Chase & Daughter Kamryn
November 16, 2011

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

People Like Them

What a great way to start the new year! I have been informed by the editor of Open Road Review, a literary journal in New Deli, India, that my fiction piece, People Like Them, has been accepted for publication.

This is the first story I've written in epistolary form. It didn't start out that way; as I got into it, I realized that a letter from Britanna Bridgewater to her cousin Lillian Kirby informing her of a murder/suicide in their little southern town was the best way to present the tragic news of people they both knew.

People Like Them will appear in their February issue.
All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley