I first started writing creatively nine years ago this month.  I am sure of this because my youngest child started kindergarten that year. Theoretically, I thought, I should have a little more free time now that he was in school everyday, so I seized the opportunity to take a creative writing class in the continuing education at MTSU (similar classes now offered through The Writer’s Loft at MTSU).

Now, as that youngest child is a 5′ 11″, deep-voiced man-child starting high school and our oldest is going off to college, I have two new children: my first collection of poetry is coming out this fall, and my husband and I have purchased a little “fixer-upper” house to be a writing retreat and, perhaps in a few years, our full-time retirement home.  Between those projects, family obligations and my “real” job, I have no business starting a blog. None whatsoever. If I had any spare time, I should be using it to clean off my desk. Improve my aerobic fitness. Scrapbook eighteen years’ worth of family photos. Call my mother.

But no. Here I am, drawn to the page in yet another of its incarnations. I don’t expect that I’m going to produce my best writing for this blog, but I do hope I’m going to produce some thoughts and information that will be useful or interesting to others. For example,

  • Since I’m a geek, other writers often ask me about web sites, blogs, and other techy stuff. As I wrote up a long explanation addressing some questions about web sites and social media for a couple of writer friends a few weeks ago, it occured to me that others might like to see this information.
  • I follow the blogs of recent NC poet laureate Kay Byer (here and here). She often promotes other poets, particularly those in NC, and I’d like to do the same for writers, particularly those in Tennessee or who have Tennessee connections.  (So if you have something to share, let me know!)
  • I’m very interested in encouraging others to their own unique creativity as a source of divine joy and self-fulfillment. I’m not sure what that encouragement is going to look like, but I want to explore it.

Our Lady of the Spiral Notebook by Anne Carothers

Mentioning creativity reminds me of the art that inspired this blog title. My dear friend and neighbor Anne Carothers painted this iconographic version of me after I read her some of my poems (“Leap” and “Tired of the Same Old Answers”) from the forthcoming Heaven Was the Moon. I’ve had the pleasure of naming a number of Anne’s paintings, and she left this one for me to title, too. After kicking around a few ideas – including “Mama Was a Saint” –  “Our Lady of the Spiral Notebook” felt right to both of us. I admit it’s still a little disconcerting to see my image depicted this way, but it’s a very cool representation of how writing and faith have intersected for me.

More about that in coming entries.  In the meantime, I welcome you on this journey with me and thank you for your readership, ideas and comments.