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I grew up immersed in the South’s tradition of oral literature. My earliest memories are memories of drowsing under the quilt frames while my mother and grandmother told and retold family myths and legends.
Later, as an undergraduate and graduate student, I studied literature. I read the best of the Southern writers. I also immersed myself in folktales and early epics—Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Egil’s Saga, and more.
Currently, I work as community advocate for DART (Domestic Abuse Resistance Team) in Ruston, Louisiana. In that capacity, I use my skill at telling stories to capture the attention of my audience. I want to teach them about the dynamics of domestic violence and to motivate them to speak out against domestic violence in Louisiana. I’m fortunate to have a long-running column in the Ruston Daily Leader giving voice to the local family violence movement.
When I recently compiled thirty years of short stories in one binder, I was surprised to see how my early fiction predicted my current work life. Themes which appear again and again are the descent into mental illness or the multigenerational blight of domestic violence and its effects on individual families.
Louisiana is the most dangerous state in the nation for women and children. At least four but perhaps as many as six children in every classroom in this state go home to domestic violence every day. My goal is to exploit my narrative skill in order to enhance physical and emotional safety and perhaps even healing for children in Louisiana.
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“After 11 years of working in the field of domestic violence, I have returned to my literary roots and taken up writing again.”