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The beginning

“Write what you know.”

Write what I know? At the know-it-all age of 13, when my English teacher spoke these words to me, I scoffed. I holed up. My chin jutted out, and I displayed stubbornness that would have made my 5-year-old daughter proud.

Write what I know? I didn’t want to write what I knew. After all, I was a teenager. I knew it all anyway. I wanted to write science fiction, a space odyssey to top all the others, a novel that would put my name up on bold billboards. A book that would be made into a movie, one that would instantly grant me fame and fortune.

Write what I know? What did I know? I was borderline redneck from a community that didn’t even have a red light. My zip code was actually the next biggest town. I literally grew up across the street from a cotton field. What was there that I could write and I knew?

I knew…me.

A dear mentor of mine taught about writing universal emotions – emotions that we all feel and experience throughout our lifetime. We all love. We all fear. We all cry and suffer. We all rejoice. We all have bouts of anxiety and loneliness, of contentment and happiness. We all understand what it’s like to be embarrassed, to wait impatiently, to be surprised at events in our life. The only emotion of life we don’t understand is what it feels like to die, and even then, we all will experience that, too.

I understand that emotion, not because I have been trained in it or have studied it, but because life has gifted me with being able to use my mind and my senses to experience the world around me. I have held my newborn in my arms, listened to her mew quietly as she slept. I have been a blushing bride, jumpy and giddy as I saw my groom. I have been the student who stayed up all night, studying and writing and wondering if my life would ever be worth it if I didn’t pass.

So, because I live, I write.

I write my life, because I know it. I have no expectations of others’ regarding my work, except because of universal emotion, I believe we all can learn and grow from each other. My friends and family help shape me, help me understand the world around me. If my words and my story can make someone else say – “Oh, yes, I’ve felt that way, too” – then I have done good work.

I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, a student, a writer, a reader. I am just like everyone else, yet different because of various attributes, characteristics, opportunities, and choices. I am different from you because I was born to my parents in a certain country with certain privileges and certain advantages and disadvantages. We are the same, though, because we are all striving to do the best we can with this one life we’ve been given.

So, welcome. Welcome to this odd little corner, this reading nest, this place of work and rest where I write. I can’t tell you the topics, because I write what I know – and occasionally what I dream up. I can’t tell you it will always be happy, because life is not always happy. I can’t tell you you’ll always agree – and I hope you don’t, because you should never always agree with anyone. But I can tell you that I am so excited you have chosen to visit this little blog.

I can’t wait to explore this world with you.

–jr