The Kitchen Table

The theme this week for the group, Upbeat Authors is ‘Places you’ve found inspiration for stories’. As you can imagine it’s a theme that is seductive in it’s range. I thought of places I’ve lived, places I’ve hiked and places I’ve worked -all have sparked ideas but the one place that has been a constant place back to my earliest memories has been the kitchen table. It has always been a meeting place in my family. I remember sitting at or under the table listening to my mother and female relatives. It seems men were in the living room or out in the yard.

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But in the kitchen, at the table, sat the matriarchs and the sisters, cousins and daughters. Best friends and even the Avon lady gathered at the kitchen table -there were plates of cookies or a coffee cake and ruling all was the fountain of elixir –the MrCoffee machine fueling the words. All news, gossip, raves, rants and sorrows were shared over coffee at the kitchen table.

Memories spilled from the circle of women. Mom and Gram with my sisters and me shared the latest letters from aunts in Ohio and D.C. After school girlfriends and homework littered the table while dreams and crushes were shared. My family was definitely populated with more women than men and yet, this oddly gave the men more power. They ruled from their place at the head of the table but it was only for quickly eaten meals. Suppers were times when we listened to tales of bravado and masculine work dramas, while my mother sat silent eating her supper of dry toast and black coffee. We never questioned her diet, it was why she was thin and pretty. Suppers were times of extremes and their memories provide tension and black moments in my writing.

But the rest of the time, the kitchen tables of my life had more healthy, happy times. Scrabble games with Gram and Mom enveloped me and my sisters in fits of giggles. I learned some words and combinations sounded funny, their music was joyful. Even at the end of my Grandmother’s life a gift of a can of baked beans from Harris Teeter sent her into peals of laughter. Her last name was Harris and the Harris Teeter brand caused her to lose it, the contagious laughter leaving us gasping for air and wiping away tears. I think this love of the sound of words made me fall in love with poetry.

Listening to stories and memories around the kitchen table. It was the throne of matriarchy in my family. So much of my life was filtered through the gatherings at the table. So many old stories became the spark of a story that made me wonder ‘what if?’ The kitchen table in my life became the opening line for so much of my life and what I write. Certainly every poem ever published bore circular fee cup stains from the kitchen table. #UpbeatAuthors

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Author Interview: Ashantay Peters

ashantayI met Ashantay about five years ago in Charlotte. Her enthusiasm is one of the first things you notice, next is her sincerity and finally her sense of humor. Her books reflect her twisted sense of life’s random calamity and often make me laugh out loud. When I met Ashantay, she was yet unpublished, so it’s been a joy to watch her success grow with each year with each new book!

First, introduce yourself:  Hi! Im Ashantay Peters and I live in Western North Carolina, just south of Asheville. I’m retired and spend as much time as possible outside. That is, until the mosquitoes send me slapping and cursing back into the house. Born in the Midwest,  I’ve lived in multiple areas of the country, including a year traveling in an RV.

Here’s a mimosa – now let’s sit and chat!  More

Un petit moment…

Every once in a while, you come across a spoonful of wisdom that is so perfectly seasoned it needs nothing more. This from Brené Brown:

”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

~ Brené Brown

 

Author Interview: Sandy Bruney

SandyBWho doesn’t enjoy reading interviews about other writers and what they reveal about their process? We all come from such diverse backgrounds, embrace words and tell tales. I’ve also throughly enjoyed the Q&A James Lipton asks on the Inside the Actor’s Studio TV show; so, I thought I’d add these same set questions from Bernard Pivot to the end of the Interview. The questions were originally asked on the French series: “Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot and James Lipton added them to the end of his show. What the answers reveal can be insightful, amusing, intriguing or simply brilliant.

I met Sandy in Charlotte, NC in a writer’s group over four years ago. Sandy is also my blog partner. She is hardworking, disciplined and reliable –traits I have lost over the years and I appreciate her always enjoyable Sunday posts. This week Sandy is on a well-deserved vacation and her Interview takes the place of her usual post. Enjoy! More

Author Interview: Kate Maloy

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Kate Maloy

Who doesn’t enjoy reading interviews about other writers and what they reveal about their process? We all come from such diverse backgrounds, embrace words and tell tales. I’ve also throughly enjoyed the Q&A James Lipton asked on Inside the Actor’s Studio TV Show, so I thought I’d also add these set questions from Bernard Pivot to the end of the Interview. The questions were originally asked on the French series: “Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot.

I met Kate Maloy at an Artist Way Seminar last year in Winston-Salem. We were a diverse group of creatives who became great friends and still meet monthly. Kate is both an author and editor, who agreed to be interviewed here on Mimosa Mornings. More

Split the Baby

Cut that Baby in Half with a Sharp Penstroke

A few years ago, I created a truly evil villain; she was supremely pathological and committed to the Motherland. I had meticulously mapped out her role as a double, double dastardly evil agent. But, this month my writing slowed, I couldn’t work the plot. I was frustrated and dismayed.

Writers often talk of killing their babies, otherwise known as, removing a character who doesn’t fit or serve a purpose, someone you truly love but need to live without. More

Write in Peace, Derek Walcott

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Poet, playwright and Nobel laureate, Derek Walcott died Friday. He was 87 years young. Sir Derek Walcott won the 1992 Nobel Prize for literature among many other awards. He was a very successful poet, no small feat in a world that does not recognize or read of listen to poetry. He was and is now no longer among us, yet forever his poetry will live on with his many accomplishments. More

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