February 24, 2018

Kory’s Start to Writing

I’ve been writing since I was quite young. Here I am driving my first poetry submission to the post office. 

Kory shares how she got started writing:

My mama had me reading and writing poetry before I was even in kindergarten. My mamaw loved roosters, and I’m sure that inspired this early poem I wrote:

 Papaw is a rooster

Mamaw is a hen

The rest of us are baby chicks

A-peeping around them.

I grew up loving to read and listening to Mama and Mamaw tell stories. I read Gone with the Wind the summer I was thirteen, cause that’s what my mama had done, and it wasn’t too many years later that I started reading Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Lee Smith and others. I always enjoyed writing and even won a few awards for essays throughout my elementary and high school years, but I also loved math and computers (back in the days when an Apple II was sizzling silicon) and decided to major in computer science at Middle Tennessee State University.

As I pursued my career, married, and had children, I hardly had time to sleep, let alone read or write. However, a pivotal moment occurred for me on Thanksgiving Day in 1995. After a big meal, many of my extended family sat around the dining table, too stuffed to move. Somehow the conversation turned to abandoned dreams, and my mamaw asked everyone there,

“If you could live your life over, what would you be?
What dream did you have that you never pursued?”

The answer came out of my mouth before it even registered in my brain: a writer!

“I’m still young,” I said. “I haven’t missed my chance.”

After that exchange, I started reading again, and journaling, and writing down story ideas. But it wasn’t until 2000, when my youngest child started kindergarten, that I officially claimed some time for my interest by taking a creative writing class. I signed up for a class taught by the talented Darnell Arnoult. I didn’t know anything about Darnell, but when she came in the first day and started talking about Lee Smith, I knew I had found a great teacher, mentor and friend. Since that time I have also regularly participated in several writing groups. The feedback, encouragement and friendship from these groups has been very helpful and important to me.