”We live so far in the backwoods, we have to pump sunshine through hollow logs,” Susanette’s daddy says when asked where the Howell family lives. Their four-room cracker house sits on a farm near the Suwannee River. In this neck of the woods in the 1940s, kids run barefoot, use their pennies to buy bubblegum off the rolling store, and can’t wait for polecat on cane-grinding day and warm cracklins on hog-killing day. Susanette and her older sisters attend a three-room school for eight grades, when schools in the South are segregated and the Suwannee County school district bars country kids—white and black—from elementary schools in town. Young Susanette brings this time and place to life with humor and innocence as she struggles to understand her own embarrassing situations and overcome the apprehension she feels as her world begins to change.
This manual evolved from my five-week course on writing memoir. It’s packed with writing prompts, exercises, questionnaires, assignments, and resources to help prod your memory and guide you to write a cohesive memoir.
Whether you are writing to discover yourself, leave a legacy for your descendants, or publish a best seller, you’ll be guided from your first story to publication.
C.G. & Ethel is a true story that focuses on the lives of my father, C.G., the son of a sharecropper, orphaned at a young age, and my mother, Ethel, who grew up in the log cabin her grandfather built in the 1800s on land he homesteaded in the Florida wilderness.
Though C.G. was still a high-school student at age twenty, he refused to give up on his education.
After meeting Ethel, the girl of his dreams, he spent an entire night helping her father unload a tobacco barn “to get in good with her daddy,” C.G. said. “We didn’t have a pot to pee in when we married. So we bought one.”
The mortgaged farmhouse the bride and groom moved into in 1941 had no indoor plumbing, no screens on the windows, and no electricity. But together, the couple struggled to improve their lot and that of their three daughters, born within a four-year period. The couple’s frugality will amaze, and their gritty determination to overcome hardships will warm your heart.
“This memoir reads like a novel but is packed with truth. These people endured hard times, but the stories are told with absolutely no bitterness.” — M. Lanier, Baltimore, MD
“My husband read me half the stories in this book while he was chuckling.” — E. B. Newbern, Live Oak, FL
“This book made me feel the trials and triumphs of this family. This stuff is what our country was built on.” — J. R. Baxter, Kissimmee, FL
“An informative, funny, and heartwarming book.” — B. Sherman, Glenwood Springs, CO
Paperback, 111 illustrations; on Amazon: ISBN 978-0-615-21348-4