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Southern Roots

I spent my early years in central Louisiana. I have not been back since I was ten years old though my Aunt Glenda still lives there.

Lemme tell you about my Aunt G who is the younger sister of my mother and their brother my Uncle David.

Aunt G was a pole climber for more than thirty years with the phone company. She, along with two other women, were hired way back in the day to add some diversity to the crew. "One of them women fell and hit her head, and even with a hard hat on still got epilepsy from that fall," she told me.

This was the first time in my life to have my Aunt G all to myself. I stayed a couple of nights on her three acres in her charming country home complete with two cats. "That cat was a stray that came in through the ash door of the fireplace," said my Aunt Glenda. Turns out the cat was pregnant. She kept the momma cat and one kitten while the rest were homed out.

Aunt G ended her time pole climbing a long while back. She now drives cars for dealerships all over the state of Louisiana and beyond. She gave me great driving tips for getting to New Orleans including which gas station to stop at for Fried Short Ribs if I wanted.

Her daughter, my cousin Lindsey, lives in the area with her family. I have not visited with her FOREVERRRRR!

I loosely planned this Epic Road Trip with some destinations in mind as well as room to Let It Become whatever it would become. Without trying or forcing, this time on the road away from my Beloved Green Forest lands, has become about Roots and Family.

As I was driving from Texas to Louisiana the other day it occurred to me how much this time is nourishing the writer in me. Everything I create, whether art or word, is informed by the entirety of my life experience. Coming back to Louisiana is to come back home to the place where my language first formed and took shape. I learned how to talk growing up here, the Southern twang and colorful way with words is my native tongue. I almost drawled the other day just being here. There is a cadence to how Southern folk talk that is melodic. It is a comfort to me, the familiar sing-song flow of words and storytelling bantering that feels like home. Because it is my roots, where I learned to cast a story with all the ease of a boy canepole fishing on the banks of the creek.

It has become an unexpected turn in the story of my road trip being able to visit my Aunt Glenda and cousin Lindsey, to meet her kids and her husband... to meet and hug on my

Aunt G's longtime friend and neighbor Joann who is sweeter than the sweet tea they drink around here.

I may be a Northwest woman, yet my roots run deep in the South. It is good to drive Van Gogh on her highways and byways and soak up the storytelling magic deep into my skin and bones. It feels like there is a conspiracy afoot to prepare me to write the best (and most vulnerable) writing of my life... which I have an announcement about that later...

I am so far from home and yet I Am Home at the same time.

It was such a leap of faith to go on this big road trip, to disrupt my routines and lean into the unknown. I am so glad I did.


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