When Daddy crafted a sign and planted it along my pristine new driveway leading to my vacation mountain home, I’m sure he could hardly wait for my husband and I to return from South Carolina. The sign announced this 64-bypass was now a toll road and it listed who, or what animal, had to pay certain amounts--but turkeys were free.
Maybe he decided this was appropriate because we had named our place Turkey Creek Farm. He attached a tin can at the bottom of the sign. Sometimes we would discover a dime or quarter there, but most of our guests must have been turkeys. My first article, Appalachian Humor, grew from this experience. After that, I began to devour books on the craft of writing and continued to write.
One day Mother said, “We don’t have any secrets anymore! ” I think she was afraid to see what might be coming next as my human-interest stories began appearing in our South Carolina paper, The State. Daddy took it all in stride and even carried my stories around in his shirt pocket. He said, "Just In case anyone should inquire about his children, he could pull one out—or several." Those stories were probably worse than having to endure pictures of the grandchildren!
In a creative writing class, at USC in Columbia, SC, a professor asked us to write about someone we loved. I chose my daddy, but then felt completely stumped. There was so much to tell, where should I begin? The instructor wisely said, “Our lives are as broad and as vast as the ocean. You don’t have the space to tell it all. Start small, with some details that will make that person real to the reader, and see where it leads you.”
And so I wrote: In Honor of an Appalachian Coal Miner, Charles Ison Guthrie. It was published in our local newspaper.
What seeds in your life have turned into stories?
This page is dedicated to my inspirations and those who have enriched my life along the way.