It took me a long time to figure out what kind of material it is that I write. I knew it was nonfiction simply because I wrote about things I saw, or heard, or experienced. Where is all this material? Gone and lost over the years for one reason or another. The truth is, while I did write a lot, I felt I wasn’t writing enough. I was writing more for the action of it than I was for writing something for others to read. Those were the days before life in the real world would actually give me something to write about. For instance, when I gave blood for the first time, it was for 9/11. You’ll be able to read about it in my story “Bleeding Patriotism”.
Embarking on my journey into college for further education in the field of writing and therefore pursuing a degree in English/Creative Writing to be completed this July 2017, I’ve since been able to pin-point more accurately, what kind of material I write and therefore what category I fit in. The best way for me to explain this would be to compare myself to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. I hope to become a contributor to this book series one day. Their books are filled with true stories and inspiration which is like the material I write. Some stories make you laugh, some stories are emotional, but they are all heartfelt. In other words, if you love them, you’ll enjoy my work. I’ve always been a fan, since reading Teenage Soul as a teenager, but I hadn’t read any of their new stuff. I had no idea how much their book appearance had changed or evolved. My husband recently bought me Random Acts of Kindness on a whim as a surprise. At first I wasn’t thrilled simply because I had submitted a story that unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but as I paged through it, my grudge became appreciation. Had he not purchased a physical book for me to study and observe, I would not have known the books had changed, or how much there had been. For instance, I noticed on the back cover, in the upper left hand corner, the genre is listed; Self-Help/Personal Growth/Inspiration; that is where it clicked. The kind of material I write is categorized as Self-Help. That is my genre. Now, while Chicken Soup for the Soul is a book series; each book being filled with stories from various authors, “Y’all Didn’t Hear it from Me” is basically my memoir; because I’ve seen and dealt with so much in my life.
My material isn’t only like that of Chicken Soup for the Soul, I also write about things that aren’t so happy. I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy when we had her Wake, I write about music and how certain songs make me feel. Just the other day, I was listening to music with my husband. He had put in one of our older compilations; one we hadn’t listened to in a few years; when the disc began to play, the first song was “Who Needs Pictures” by country singer Brad Paisley. Instantly, I could remember when the song first came out, I could remember how I thought about things back then, I know how the song was making me feel listening to it at that present moment being the other day, and I knew what I was thinking in comparison. Music has a tendency to do that to me, so why not write about it and share.
I think I write about things everyone can relate to. I’ve been through some things I thought were pretty intense, I’ve met some interesting characters in life, I’ve made some bad decisions, but you know what? Who hasn’t, right? I’ve learned a lot of things growing up, and through writing I can help others because my readers can take advice from my stories, they can seek a friend, join in the laughter, and perhaps better understand someone else they may know.
“Y’all Didn’t Hear it from Me” is my way of sharing my experiences and knowledge with you, my reader.