For the past five months I have delighted in interviewing friends and new acquaintances, and sharing these conversations with you as the weekly *Kindling Friendship* feature of this blog. These homey little chats have been very well received, and I am sincerely grateful to everyone who has participated– either by joining me in a cup of virtual tea, or by commenting afterward.
But the hummingbirds outside my kitchen window are already scoping out the perfect location for their nest, knowing that Spring and renewal are right around the corner. Soon the green daffodil sprouts will be crowned by dozens of yellow flowers, and I, too, will need to rearrange my creative furniture, to make room for something new. So after a few more guests, *Kindling Friendship* will become only an occasional feature.
The afternoon sprawls uncertainly overhead today, a combination of grey skies and somewhat mild temperatures. I suppose Winter must continue to assert its claim for a while longer, even despite early signs of Spring’s impending return.
I, however, don’t have to accept it.
The house is cheery, with the bubblingfountain singing in the living room, and the tea kettle whistling in the kitchen. A wispy aroma of freshly baked cookies intermingles with the slight citrus tang of peeled oranges, and I sigh, “Ah, Shabbot is coming.”
Another moment, the doorbell rings, and I’m welcoming my guest, author Ann Barnes.
Me: Welcome, Ann, how nice of you to drop by!
Ann: Thanks for having me, it’s great to be here.
Me: Come in and get cozy…what may I get you as we chat, a cup of tea? Coffee? I also have a few tidbits to nibble. How about a cookie or maybe a piece of fruit?
Ann: Tea with sugar is fine, and I’d like a cookie to dunk in my tea, please.
Me: Here you go. And where would you feel most comfortable: here at my kitchen table?
Or would you like a comfy chair in the livingroom?
Ann: Oh, the kitchen table is fine.
Me: Mmmm…okay, I’ve got my lemon ginger tea as well…now that we’re settled, tell me a little about yourself. I know you love writing, what else brings you joy?
Ann: Well, I also love spending time with my family, listening to music and podcasts, reading, and crocheting. I am a Christian, so singing in my church choir is very enjoyable and I am blessed to have a musical talent.
Me: Oh, how nice. And what part of the country do you live in?
Ann: I live in the SouthEast. This is the home where I grew up, so I returned here when my endeavors didn’t quite work out. It’s a tiny house, enough for myself and my daughter, near my parents’ house, so I will be here permenantly.
Me: What do you like best and least about living there?
Ann: I love sitting on the porch on warm days, so I can listen to my mother’s windchimes. I love the quiet of the country, versus the noise pollution of the city. Although city living is recommended for blind people I still prefer my rural home to it. The only thing that I don’t like about it is the lack of transportation to long distances for events. Taking a walk can sometimes be a mobility nightmare, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Me: Is your writing influenced in any way by where you live?
Ann: Oh yes! I get inspiration from sitting out on the front porch. I love living in a place where I don’t have to stay cooped up inside while trying to get inspiration.
Me:So what’s your writing process like? Do you have a certain time of day you find most productive? Or a special place where you find inspiration?
Ann: I find inspiration in lots of places, aspects of life and sometimes the oddest thing can inspire me. I don’t have a specific time of day that’s most productive, although I have been known to write at night. Often times I do most of my brainstorming while sitting in the front porch swing.
Me: What got you started writing?
Ann: Oh, haha, do you want the most recent answer, or do you want me to go back to middle school where I won a creative writing contest? No, the one thing I remember that most inspired me is the introduction to New Stories from the South 2001. Lee Smith, who was the editor of this wonderful anthology, talked about how one of her students thought she couldn’t write a story. As she described how she got her student’s creative juices flowing, I was inspired to start writing my own story.
Me:How interesting. And what keeps you writing?
Ann: Well, I can give you three reasons. It’s fun, I learn a lot when I do research for professional clients , blog posts and books, and I have found it to be therapeutic.
Me: And now a few more “creative” questions, if you don’t mind, so I can get a better glimpse of you as a person. If you could be any other living thing, what would you be?
Ann: Ooh! I haven’t really thought about that. I guess I’d be an angel, because I could fly to different places and help those in need. And, haha, I could especially fly to my events, instead of having to depend on others for transportation.
Me: Yes,haha, that would be handy-What do you like to do on a rainy day?
I love to read, crochet and/or listen to a podcast or soothing music. If it’s raining at night, I’ll fall asleep to the sound of rain drumming on my tin roof.
Me: Do you have a favorite children’s story?
Ann: when I was little, I loved to read a book called King Emig’s Pig. He had glass pigs, paper pigs, and pigs of all shapes and sizes, but the one thing he wanted in all the world was a real live pig.
Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you? And where I might read your work?
Ann: I have published four books, and I’m working on getting two books published in the next couple of months. You can find out more about my books and connect with me at my Website:
Or at Electric Eclectic books website:
My Amazon author page is:
Me: Well, Ann, thank you so much for visiting with me today. I hope you’ll come visit me again very soon.
And as I hug my guest good-by and close the door with a click, the candlelighter finds its way into my anticipating hand. The candle sticks are quickly straightened, and a flame flicks into being. One candle takes the flame, then its twin, and the lighter rests once more. I close my eyes, breathe deeply, once twice, circle the glow toward, around and away from myself, intentionally embracing beloved family, friends, the world’s inhabitants
And I whisper: Blessed are You, Beloved One, Who renews the Earth in its seasons, Who renews the flame of Life in its season, Who renews me each and every Shabbot that I may better partner with You in the work of Shalom.
And let us say: Amen.