I woke up that first morning contemplating my next move in this new place. I didn’t know anything about the area. Was there a trading post, other settlers? If there were others, they would most likely be along the river, probably further southwest. It was an uncertain time in the territory. The both of us traveling a distance on one horse was risky but we had no choice. We needed tools, basic supplies, a mule and a wagon. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 10
I left Tennessee toward the middle of February, halfway thinking about following my old friend Crockett to Texas to see what was happening there. The Colonel had lost his appetite for Washington politics, according to a man who came into the shop one day saying he had read about it in a copy of the Alabama Watchman. I suspect Davy simply tired of having his honor trampled by the likes of Andrew Jackson, and opted for more worthy pursuits. For whatever reason, most likely adventure, he went to Texas. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 9
We got married on June 30, 1820, on a Friday evening at the Wilkes’ house. The preacher came down from Pitts Burg Landing to perform the ceremony. He was a Baptist, quite young, a red-faced Scotch-Irish fellow, another Wilkes’ relative. Danny was not a religious man, as far as I knew. The subject never came up. I had been baptized at Christ’s Church in Montreal, but had never taken to the church life myself, having found it to be an inconvenience, as had my parents. Mana and her family, on the other hand, were Baptists. Mrs. Wilkes belonged to The Primitive Baptist Church, but Mana must have taken after her father in that respect, for Homer rarely attended services. Mrs. Wilkes spent a lot of time excusing their absences. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 3
Way back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.
Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties, Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.
Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands: farmers, herders, builders, teachers, healers.
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
Once, a poetic woman
found the heartbeat of God
beneath a blade of grass.
She simply pulled the leaves apart
and felt the ancient pulse.
When she pressed her palm against the living earth,
and felt the power pounding,
she surely was compelled
To lay her body down.
Breast to breast,
heart to heart,
throbbing. Anita Stubbs
This old house squats around me, over me
Like a brooding mother hen,
Her wings spreading out, to gather me close,
To confine me to her sagging, cozy bosom.
This old house speaks to me, privately,
Like a jealous old lover,
Resenting the chiming doorbell,
The ringing telephone,
Their rude presumptuousness.
Nestling down around me,
Her creaking old body embraces my fears,
And I snuggle deeper into her womb. Anita Stubbs
Words are garments
which clothe my thoughts,
like fabric woven from threads.
They can be worn loosely, letting my spirit breathe,
or, bound so tightly, the thoughts are never free.
A few thoughts, essentially unspeakable,
I must wrap warmly in dark, heavy wool,
dressing them carefully for discretion’s sake-
But the majority can be draped in transparent lace,
and exposed to the world. Anita Stubbs
When my husband was a little boy, according to court documents, his mother, a widow, left him and his sister in the care of “vicious and immoral people, without proper food or sanitation.” Due to her neglect, the county removed her youngest two children—my husband and his sister—from the residence and she lost all parental rights. The older daughter, thirteen-years-old and pregnant, was sent to a state school for girls, where her baby was born and placed for adoption. An older son, age sixteen, joined the army. My husband and his sister were ultimately separated from each other. When he was two and a half and she was five, they were adopted by different families. They never saw their mother again. Continue reading Women and Children in Need
Alex Haley’s book, Roots, first sparked my interest in the study of family history. It fostered an acute awareness in me of the strength, the pure willpower of each of our fore-bearers, to survive. The legacy we all share, regardless of our biological beginnings, is that we are all descendants of survivors—generation after generation of survivors. That book gave me a better understanding of the miracle that each one—in his or her own place and time—survived at least long enough to produce what would become us! You know, that is an astounding thing when you think about it. Continue reading Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction
My greatest challenge in writing the Velvet Bridge was to tell the tale in such a way to expose the flaws in my protagonist, Mattie Featherstone, and not leave the reader disliking her. Even though the behavior and life decisions Mattie makes in the beginning are below the standard of acceptable behavior and decency, particularly for a mother, my job is to make sure the reader loves her anyway. Continue reading Reflections of Real Life in Fiction