As I sit in my backyard in Lebanon, Tennessee this is a full circle moment. Everything has changed and then nothing has changed. I am forever etched in some people’s mind as the bootlegger’s daughter. After forty years, I returned home to a place my feet on solitude and birds tweeting when their feeders are almost empty.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I love feeling my feet tingle as I walk on the ground of my childhood. I sense my mother’s smile as I start planting flowers in the yard. I did not realize that I would feel this at home in my mind, body, and Spirit. I do not live in the ‘good’ part of town, but my home is my heaven on earth.
What turns you on creatively?
I love words. Sometimes I pick random words from the dictionary or a book I am reading. I challenge myself to marry these words until they become one and depend on each other for existence. Then there is always nature and my windchimes that I try to mimic in words.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence/What is your pet peeve?
My favorite word is they, but also it is my pet peeve when people use ‘they’ to explain their opinion. I wrote a poem about they. Wanna hear it? Here it goes!
They pinch, pry, and prance ideas On backs of souls they do not know They love and love until it’s a lie.
What defines Martha Annice?
Grandmother Martha’s quietness and the ingrained image of her kneeling in the morning, evening prayer, and homemade apple cobbler. Annie, my mother and Bernice, my aunt decided I could not exist unless I carried their spunk, laughter, and love of life in their conjoined names.
I write stories based on my childhood in Lebanon, Tennessee where I grew up in the African American community as the daughter of the town bootlegger. Growing up in a small southern town was not always easy, but growing up as the child of the bootlegger was even more difficult—and always interesting. What I hope to accomplish in my writing is to preserve this life in small-town Tennessee after the Second World War, especially the lives of the people that I loved in these small towns. This life and these people will be lost if not preserved in stories. I hope to preserve characters, their situations, and their voices in my stories because I do not want them to be lost. I am fairly new to the area of creative writing, but I have studied writing and worked with a mentor at Middle Tennessee State University in the MTSU WRITE program.