A red ribbon around my childhood

Published 8:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2022

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Dearest readers, if you’ve kept up with my column over the past year, then you know that my novel has been on its way to the bookshelves for a while now. For those of you who are new, welcome! I’m the author of a young adult novel titled Between the Ocean and the Stars, releasing near the end of October.

I’ve spent a lot of time prepping for release, waiting for my favorite season to get here so I can share my brand-new novel. On this chilly September, I’m feeling nostalgic, as this kind of weather reminds me of my childhood.

Just the other day, I was sitting outside with my mom, enjoying the cool morning, and drinking coffee. “I had the best childhood,” I told her, and then explained why.

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Picture it: M.M. frolicking in her quiet childhood, wearing a jacket, darting into the woods.

I have a specific memory that pops up when I think of being a kid. Close your eyes and picture it again: M.M. standing in the kitchen. Like dreams often are, imagine this picture in a cloudy frame, fuzzy at the edges, the way all nostalgic moments come floating back.

The golden light from the autumn sun flooded through the leaves of a colorful oak tree, casting an orange light through the windows, and onto the tile floor and stovetop. The shadows of leaves swayed back and forth in a gentle breeze. Flocks of blackbirds used to land in the oak and swarm over the house.

There was nothing I loved more than strapping on some boots, pulling on a jacket, and wandering toward the woods. I wrote in journals. Dabbled in prose. Started writing books. Became a teenager. Graduated college. Got one of those books published.

Fast forward to today. I reflect on my childhood and collect those memories, tie a red ribbon around them, and store them in a place where I’ll always be able to find them.

It’s the cool September mornings that have me longing for childhood,  but that also show me who that little girl grew up to be: a newspaper reporter. Author. Cookie baker. Coffee drinker. Little M.M. would be very happy with the person she turned out to be, doing exactly the things she loved. All the times I ran into the woods and imagined the years to come, this is kind of exactly what I pictured: messy bun, sweaters on cold mornings, glasses, and coffee.

I really couldn’t be in a better place to release the novel I wrote––created from the roots I planted in those woods by my childhood home.

Between the Ocean and the Stars, my creative flair came to life.

And now for this new journey. . .