Due out in November: History Will be Kind: An Anthology of Historical Fiction

history-kind-sml-2My days of writing fiction feel like history, yet I’ve got a story floating around still. My short story “Into the Forest” has been included in The Copperfield Review‘s first anthology. Books are now available to order! And if you’re on Goodreads, go visit our page there.

This gorgeous cover was designed by Robin Ludwig–I love its warmth. Special thanks also to Meredith Allard, the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review and of this anthology.

“Into the Forest” is based on one of my husband’s ancestors. According to family legend, Mourning Medley was a Cherokee woman who, along with her children, was rounded up and taken to the holding pen at Fort Butler. That was one of the places where the United States soldiers took the captive Cherokee people to await the long journey that would later come to be fortbutlerfortbutler2known as the Trail of Tears.

She was later rescued from the staging area by a man named Samuel Medley, but no one has been able to discover any records to find out who he was or why he did it. I had so much fun looking and talking to family in other parts of the country, but we all reached a dead end.

Fort Butler is now a small park in Murphy, North Carolina.

A few years ago, I decided to find it. I asked around town to find the park, but few people there knew what I was looking for. Eventually I found some women outside at a yard sale who were able to point me in the right direction. The park is up on a hill overlooking the town and surrounded by littered woods and poverty. At some point, it seems that someone cared enough to create a monument and set aside this space, but the neglect left me feeling sad and angry. Has history been kind to the Cherokee people?

When one or two doors close, other ones open

This week signaled the beginning of a shift. Yes, school gets out and life slows down. But beyond that, I left a job that wasn’t working out, plus I decided to shelve my Cherokee novel. A few new things bubbled out to fill the space, and there is a new energy working in my life.

Why I’m shelving the novel: we went to visit Cherokee, and spending time there on the land of the Eastern Band, seeing their artwork and the museum, I realized two things: 1, that their story is theirs, and 2, that I don’t have the specialized knowledge that it would take to write a book from the point of view of a Cherokee girl of 1838. Not that I couldn’t build that knowledge, but it would be an intensive academic project. The idea of that kind of intense focus has had me averting my eyes, and I’m thinking that the idea has run its course. I still find the story compelling, though.

What I’ve learned: the basic process of writing a novel and how to put the pieces together. I can use this stuff I’ve learned for another novel. It’ll come in time, an idea for another one. I’ve learned that there are always more ideas. I’ve learned that finishing a piece is satisfying. (I had been working on this novel for so long that I forgot what it was like to finish something and send it off.)

Also, I am interested in lightening up, having more fun, and leave behind the stories with baggage. This week I wrote a short bird story and it was so FUN! I’ve had lots of ideas that have been pushed aside and I’m now revisiting them, taking a look at some projects that have potential. Yes, writing is rolling again.

I feel like shedding these obligations (and yes, this novel was starting to feel like something I felt obligated to finish) has opened my world up to lots of new things. I had a burst of creativity: I re-covered a chair, wrote a short story, and baked a beautiful blueberry pie.

And, I’ll be taking on a role on the board of the Writer’s Group of the Triad. That happened to open up this week, and I’m pleased to have a chance to get more involved in the local writing community.

I believe in synchronicities. Do you? What doors are opening and closing in your life?