Mother of Rain Posts

Happy Halloween Y’all

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Stories Behind the Story

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There was that moment, (you knew there would be one, didn’t you?), when Kimberly Faith Hickman, the insightful and masterful director of MOTHER OF RAIN, took me by the hand after the show and said, “You have to hear this story.”

This was on Saturday, following the Talk Back session, a time when audience members were given opportunity to ask questions of the actors, the director, or Paul Pierce, who adapted the novel for the stage, or of me. I’d never really had a sit-down with the actors or with the director, so I had no idea that sometime during rehearsals that Hickman had shared with the actors the story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children. read more

In the Image of God

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My son called me from Winslow, Arizona. It’s one of several stops he’s making this week as he winds his way from Oregon to Georgia. He’s doing the reverse migration that his momma made. Stephan, who has grown up in Oregon, has accepted at job at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.

Come Thursday, God willing and the Texas creeks don’t rise, I’ll be meeting him in my hometown. There are all kinds of reasons why I still consider Columbus home, even though I’ve lived as long in Oregon as I ever did in Georgia. I’ve spent years trying to understand why I feel like an immigrant to the Pacific Northwest. The simplest truth is that Columbus is the community that helped raise me. read more

If you’re a Nashville fan

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From 2004-2013, I worked on my first novel, Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press). It was hard work. I was trying to tackle a lot of things all at once.

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Put aside the fact that I had never really written fiction. I’d been a journalist. An opinion writer. A human interest columnist. I’d never even attempted to write short stories, much less a full-length novel. Even so, I knew I had a story to tell that could not be told in a non-fiction manner, especially because the story was inspired by a true-life terrifying event – a dear friend had suffered some sort of mental breakdown. We didn’t know the words for it then, didn’t have access to online, laptops and nobody had ever heard the term Social Media. read more

It’s My Party

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Today is my 59th birthday. I can hardly fathom it. I feel like I’ve finally mastered some game that has granted me access to a warp zone where everything goes faster, where the Novembers seem to bump up right next to one another, where the summers get shorter and shorter, and even the winters don’t seem long enough anymore.

Does everyone come to feel that way?

For the past decade, I have spent nearly every birthday on a plane, flying from DC back to Oregon. I’ve taken one detour from that routine, to fulfill a speaking gig in Atlanta. After that gig (one in which I stood behind a platform in a swanky uptown Atlanta hotel and asked a crowd of 800 dark suits how many names of dead and wounded would be enough before they finally decided to put an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ) I swore I’d never miss another Veterans Day in DC. read more