Daily Archives: May 13, 2013


I keep writing and then erasing. Writing and then erasing again. I can’t decide what to say–what tone I want to take, what feeling I want to express. This has been a heavy and happy and sad time for me and my family. I am surprised by the spectrum of emotions that I can have in the course of a day (or an hour, or a minute).

I don’t feel like writing very much. i knew I wouldn’t feel like it even before I had the baby but it’s worse than I anticipated. It’s like my writing energy has been zapped away and even when I have time, I can’t make myself sit down and create.

And I still have some small revisions to do.

And just before this baby came and all the other things that have been happening, writing had been my lifeline. It kept me sane and it felt like I had boundless energy to do it. Now . . . I feel empty.

What do you do when you feel empty?

Even when you know writing, pushing through the emptiness, will get you through?

What makes your MC feel empty? What gets them through?

Why is life so hard?

And so good?

And so horrible?

And so funny?

And so confusing?

I think writing a memoir is a good idea. I also think writing our lives is a good idea. I think we should always write our lives. It does come out in our fiction–the questions, the pain, the joys, etc.–but I don’t think that’s enough. We need to write our histories. We need to write down the things that keep us up at night, the things that make us cry, the things make us laugh our faces off. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our children and we owe it to all people who need stories. True stories. Real stories. Our stories.


Filed under Uncategorized


No one sent any of their writing exercises in, so there is no need to share.

I wonder, should we even try these anymore?



I happened upon a very interesting thing as I wrote my speech for the Outstanding Achievement Award that was given to me by LDS Storymakers.

(By the way, this honor blew my mind. I never expected it. There are many, many people who could win this. Many great people who have won–like Rick Walton–last year.)

So, while I was writing what I would say (because you know in advance about this) I figured out why I write for kids.

The truth is, I have a very 12-yr-old voice.

I remember parts of when I was twelve.

And, while I won’t share it here, when I was writing this acceptance speech I knew the MOMENT I became twelve forever.


How the world was upside down because two important people in my lifeĀ  were both so ill. Both in hospitals. One in Orlando. One in Daytona. We lived in Longwood, right in the middle between these two hospitals that were more than 56 miles apart.

My family and I would drive back and forth, after I got out of school, nearly every day to see these loved ones.


I must have been tired.

Because one day my best friend Vickie Finlay said, “You shouldn’t be going every day. This isn’t something a kid should be doing.”

I can’t remember what classroom we were sitting in. But she turned around in her seat to tell me that. “Carol. Only your mom should be doing that.”


Have any of you ever felt like writing a memoir?

I know my dear friend Claudia Mills has. In fact she has an amazing first line that makes you laugh and feel sorrow at the same time. She is a terrific writer.

Anyway, some days, I think, ‘Should I tell my story? Do I make it official? Do I have enough memories? Do I want those memories coming back?’

I’m not sure.

Plus, there is this fact: I know my truth seeps out and into my writing.

Do I need anything more?


Here’s another thing: The Olivers–that line Nanny came from–could hold a grudge forever.

I have tried to not do that because I mostly love people, but there have been a few individuals, a handful, that I have gotten angry with and kept the fury-flame a-burning because that person–who probably never thinks about me–deserves my fury. For example, the woman who has caused me so much grief these past two months.

I should be angry with her!

I have no place to live!

And she’s the kind of person who would walk around Macey’s grocery store in her wedding dress and not buy anything. (I know this for a fact.)

(PS I have decided to stay angry a little longer. I will let this go when I am no longer panicked aboutĀ  where we will go. I will stop my Southern Turnip Curse when all my stuff has been safely placed in my forever home. I will quit telling others what I hope happens to this woman once we move to a good place. I promise!)


That said

these grudges aren’t so great.

One of my family members hasn’t spoken to me–really spoken to me–in more than sixteen years.

And now her children, who meant the world to me–haven’t spoken to me in several years. Not one of them.

I am missing out on their lives.

Yes, this story, bits of it will wind up in books.



I think of how Ann Dee adores her mom.

That’s the way life should be.


I guess what I am saying is, even more important than all the books I have published or all the awards–and I have been very, very proud of these things–is who I am on the inside and my children. In the end, no books will circle my deathbed. Only my children and their families will. The Chosen One will not kiss me goodbye. Carolina Autumn will not hold my hand. Waiting will not tell me to “Go toward the light.”

Only my girls will.

Plus maybe my best friends (I have a few).

This will be my reward.


So I must do better. At all of it.

(Except the couple of grudge holding bits)




Filed under CLW, Depression, Family