Sunday, April 22, 2012

Remembering Sunday Mornings with Grandmother

Sundays always make me think of my grandmother. We would go to church with her and then later have dinner with the family at her house. Every Sunday was almost like Thanksgiving – there was always so much food – good, home-cooked food.

We lost grandmother in 2007, but I have her Bible. She recorded births and deaths as well as marriages. By those of use who divorced later, she put a small letter d by the names. On the first page of Genesis, where it starts with “In the beginning...,”  she has written “I believe.” It gives me great comfort to go through her Bible and notice the passages she marked and the notes she made. And she did all this back when it was considered sacriligious to make marks in the Bible.

I took a poetry writing class a few months ago and in memory of my grandmother on this Sunday morning, here it is:

Sunday Morning with Grandmother

Sunday morning before church,
her lips freshly painted pink,
pearls adorn her neck,
her hair is perfectly coifed.
But she wears only her slip,
so as not to mess her dress.

With self-manicured fingers,
nails the same shade as her lips,
she sifts the flour, the handle
squeaks with every turn.
A small mountain of powder
rises in the aluminum bowl,
battered from years of daily use.
She adds a small scoop of Crisco,
kneading the mealy mixture
with her left hand
while adding buttermilk
with the other, molding
it to a ball of dough.

She plops it on wax paper,
rolling it flat, lightly
sprinkling flour across it. She
takes the biscuit cutter
twisting it in the dough
forming perfect circles,
placed side by side, edges
barely touching.

As they bake,
she slips on her dress,
the green one
with the paisley print,
then slides into her best
sensible shoes.
She glimpses her reflection,
coats her lips again
and pats a strand of hair
back into place.

She takes the biscuits
from the oven, placing one
on a plate with a little butter
and apple jelly, my favorite.
She places it before me,
an unexpected treat
I delight in.

She hums
How Great Thou Art,
while preparing the dinner
our family will enjoy later.

As we walk into
Beaumont Baptist Church,
the organ howls as she places
two shiny quarters in my hand
for the collection plate.

I wish I had the courage
to keep them for myself
as my little brother
so often does.

©connie thompson kuhn

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What I Learned at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference

I have been to several writing conferences since I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I was so excited to find that this one was extremely affordable and would be hosted in my hometown. 

Some of the information I’ve heard before. Writers write. Write what you know. Perseverance is the key; you must show up. Writers read. After all, how can you write if you never read?

The keynote speaker was Carolyn Stoddard Goss. She was amazing. Three questions you should ask yourself if you want to be a writer.

  1. Are you an observer?
  2. Do you tend to your mind?
  3. Do you write?

The answer to all three for me is yes in varying degrees. Most of the time I feel like I am an astute observer, but the other day I was passing through town only to realize that the old movie theatre is no longer there. I’m not sure when that happened.

I try to tend to my mind. I do read quite widely. While contemporary women’s fiction is my favorite genre. I read across many. I also read writing books, biographies, memoirs, and just about anything that catches my attention. I love the fact that with e-books I can sample several pages before committing to a purchase.

I have been writing a good bit lately, but I am preparing my senior thesis. My novel in progress is beckoning me, but I jot ideas down and throw them in the box. One thing at a time.

And time management is something I feel is important for every writer. It is easy in this day of technology to get caught up in other things. Sometimes you have to turn it all off and just write.

So if you want to be a writer, go to writers conferences. As Vonda Skelton said, “It is wonderful to be around other people, who are weird like me.” For if you’re a writer, you take no offense for you know exactly what she means.

And then there was Edie Melson. Thanks to her, I am no longer terrified of twitter, Facebook, or blogging. I came away with some valuable information and I can't wait to put it to use. She also has a wonderful ebook that you should check out for the bargain price of 99 cents and it is perfect for newbies, who are just beginning to dip their toes in the social networking pool.

My blog is a work in progress. I have several changes in mind for the near feature. I plan on implementing scheduled topics and some design changes. I am also navigating hoot suite to make better use of Twitter and Facebook.