Posts from the ‘Carving the Story’ Category

 Another Hallelujah


Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017
Working on a novel is like having a newborn: it lets you know when something’s wrong and you can’t ignore that cry. When there’s a mess you change it and you forget to brush your teeth because personal hygiene falls by the wayside while you are in service of a new life. Read more…

Georgia on my mind…

Ray Charles Plaza, Albany, GA

Ray Charles Plaza on the banks of the Flint

I’m headed to Albany next Thursday to take care of the sell of Ms. Irene‘s dream house; a bittersweet trip, Read more…

Character Interviews (i.e.,talking to myself)

For years on my daily morning walks I carried small notebooks and a pen for ideas about stories, homeschooling, etc. Even though I obviously know the value of the spoken word, (being an oral tradition storyteller), for some reason I felt better about writing the notes. Until one day Read more…

Trees make drafts come true

I’m grateful for generous friends with a well-appointed cabin in the woods of Nicasio

where I hit the 5-8 mark a week ago today

a gift of quiet so quiet I could hear myself write, stop mid sentence to nap, wake and pick up where I left off. Read more…

Update on The Writing

Revisions: slow and sure, that’s the name of the game at the moment. I have only two rejections under my belt so you know I have a ways to go yet. The second rejection came with helpful feedback, which I’m considering as I rewrite. Thought you might be interested in seeing three books that have proven to be indispensable in researching the SNCC Movement in southwest Georgia: Read more…

Oh ~ So this is what a first draft feels like!

I promised to keep y’all updated on the progress of Peach Seed Monkey so here I am (finally) with a real update. Thanksgiving is two days away so I’m also here to give thanks ~ first to you for visiting/reading/subscribing to the PSM blog.

It’s been quiet the past couple of weeks for good reason ~ I  focused all available energy on finishing the first drafthallelujah! This comes at the end of a long, hard road: snatching time to write while motherhood and family life marched on—throughout the tail end of homeschooling and into the high school transition. Thank you Universe for the sanity to survive.

I’m often asked where the idea for the book started (and especially how the peach seed monkey made it’s way in) and much will be revealed by and by, but I will share this much now ~

The seed (really is the best word)  for the story was planted in September 2005 while my family and I were visiting Albany, Georgia for a family reunion. I went in search of an untold story and knew little about exactly what that would be—only that I wanted to tell a story about how black men of my father’s generation (he was born in 1921) in a place like southwest Georgia managed to be leaders in their homes and communities when the larger society did not see them that way at all. My dad passed away six years before I was pondering the question, but all my life he had shown me how that was done. Thank you, Silas.

Cousin Jessie on his property: Putney, Georgia, Sept. 2005

And I still had a very valuable resource: my cousin Jessie Jones (born in 1919) who lived right next to Albany in Putney. He and my dad grew up together and Jessie had a good memory. He passed away last year at age 91, but I have lots of audio interviews with details that serve the story well. Thank you Jessie.

A month ago I found out that my agent would be ready to read around the middle of November, so I set last Friday, November 18th as my deadline to wrap up the first draft. I thank my husband, Rob (a graphic designer used to deadlines) for making me set them.

Last Wednesday I was given a gift that made meeting the deadline possible ~ the use of a friend’s beach house for four days and nights in complete solitude. With the help of several pots of tea, chips, hummus and a huge jug of Superfood the 14-16 hour days yielded results. (Having the space and solitude to walk around reading the whole manuscript out loud made all the difference. ) It’s hard to thank my friend enough.

And now after a six year journey it feels almost unreal to have a first draft. This sudden,  post-partum freedom from the everyday demands of my fictional folk is VERY strange. So now I’m waiting to hear the thoughts of the agent who receives the last—but in no way the least—of my thanks.

About Anita

In the late 1980s, Anita migrated to San Francisco, escaping life as a New York City fashion model. In further efforts to avoid the 9-5, and figure out how to use a Fine Arts degree in Drawing & Painting, a random detour lead her to writing in earnest: children’s stories and adult fiction. Anita joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators which led to working as a freelance oral tradition storyteller for schools, libraries and corporations, a skill which served her well during the seven years she spent as a homeschool mama.

Anita’s upcoming book, PEACH SEED MONKEY, is her first completed novel (her first effort—Headrag—is waiting patiently on a floppy disk).

Anita is executive director of The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation, a small family foundation she co-founded with her husband, Robert Roehrick in 2002 in memory of her mother, father and sister.

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