As a little girl, most of my waking hours were spent with my nose in a book or playing by the creek in the foothills of Kennesaw Mountain. When I wasn’t searching for soldiers’ buttons left behind in the Civil War trenches near the house or reading a story, I was writing. The first tale I remember composing was about a princess named Helena. Mysteriously transported to another realm one afternoon as she sat reading a book beneath a mushroom, Helena discovered an alternate reality in which frogs could talk and dogs ruled the land with an iron fist. I found putting words together to form a story so delightful that I have never given it up-even if the topics have changed. My paternal grandfather, a small man known for his bear hugs and tall tales, also instilled in me a love for the fine art of Southern storytelling. I used to sit for hours at a time as he tirelessly spun yarns about life in the small Southern town of Brunswick, Georgia. In high school, I was fortunate enough to have a creative writing class with Mr. Lewis, a passionate literature teacher who wasn’t afraid to hold class in old graveyards or the football stadium if it provided an inspirational change of scenery.
From Mr. Lewis, I learned how to change my perspective. At Vanderbilt University, I studied creative writing and took my first poetry composition course with Kate Daniels, a talented Southern poet who showed me that deeper meanings are often communicated with fewer words. After graduation, I moved to France to complete a master’s in literature at l’Université Paul Valery. My thesis covered the Re/Vision of the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone in contemporary American women’s poetry. After landing unexpectedly in a writing job at a small newspaper a few years later, I discovered a love for journalism. I realized that I love writing features about interesting people and their personal stories. I especially enjoy combining my love for travel with writing and anything connected to language. For seven years I wrote a column on Innovations for the Jerusalem Post’s UpFront magazine twice a month, wrote a monthly Letter from Israel for Julep magazine and published a broad range of articles for different publications. I also worked in PR/marketing writing and technical/content writing for websites, working with SEO, adwords and lots of other fun tools. I took the last few years off for maternity leave and I’m just returning to work this fall. So far, I haven’t fallen asleep beneath any magic mushrooms.