Thursday, September 25, 2008


The first words of My Louisiana Sky came to me while I was taking a bath. Later I read somewhere that three places inspiration strikes the most are right before sleep, while bathing, or during transportation.

I remember the day inspiration struck me. It was the summer of 1994 and I'd started writing the month before. That day I decided to take a soak after my morning writing session on the screen porch. For weeks, I'd been trying to write an adult story that meant nothing to me, a story that I thought my sell. I had an important lesson to learn. A writer must care deeply about the story they are writing.

While I struggled to move the story forth each day, a childhood memory returned to me. I was nine. My mother and I were riding to my grandmother's home when we passed a woman walking on the road. My mother mentioned that the lady was mentally retarded and that she had children. That moment stayed with me throughout my life. Occasionally I would think about the woman and wonder about her children. But the summer I began to write, the moment visited me each day, usually while I wrote.

It was as if the moment was saying, Pay attention. This is where your heart is. Then that day while I relaxed in the tub, I heard Tiger's voice. Before that, I'd never experienced hearing a character's voice. Now days, I call that experience heart meeting imagination. But that day it was magic.

My heart pounded. Without drying off, I put on my robe and dashed to my office. I searched for a pen, opening drawers and glancing at the floor. I felt desperate, as if I didn't quickly catch the words, they would disappear. Then I remembered my typewriter. I slipped in the paper, pushed the feed button and began to type the first words to the story that would one day become my first book. A story that I cared about then and still do today.
(Click on image above to enlarge)


***September Giveaway: To enter the drawing for a signed copy of My Louisiana Sky, send your snail mail address to The deadline is Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 5 pm central time.

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