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Some words from the author of "Simon and the Actress"

It’s here. THE BOOM PROJECT: VOICES OF A GENERATION. I am thrilled to have a story in the anthology. When I heard that Bonnie Omer Johnson and Kimberly Crum wanted to produce an anthology, I had to know more because they are wonderful writers, teachers, and editors. They have a love for the written word and they are kind.

Submission had to be from writers, poets, memoirists who live or have lived in the Ohio River Valley,born between 1946 and 1964. The editors asked for stories that gave “a peek into the lives of our generation through story and poetry.” I submitted a short story, Simon and the Actress,and they picked it for their anthology. Yay! And, Double Yay!

It tells the story of a woman as her career fades and the care of her elderly father escalates. Sounds sad, right? Nope! In his later years, my father told stories about growing up in Louisville on Floyd Street, how he met my mother at the old Jewish Hospital, rowing a rescue boat during the 1937 Great Flood, and more. His stories always held fact, humor, and joy (sometimes a pinch of sadness). The true part of my story was the opening scene where the elderly father wanders from home on a snowy day. Yes, an LG&E man brought my Dad home. True, too, was the high-end men’s store. You’ll have to buy the book and read the story to find out about that adventure. As I wrote, I realized how important place was going to be in defining the two characters. I chose to write fiction not memoir, to show how place—the Ohio River, Beargrass Creek, Cherokee Park, and a nursing home—informed the lives of Simon and his daughter.

I believe my father would chuckle at parts of my story. I know he’d argue that ‘that’s not how it happened.’ And, I’d remind him I write fiction. My father told stories and wrote letters to us our whole lives. His words taught me the real joy of writing comes when your reader laughs, cries, or sees a little bit of herself in one of your characters. I thank him for my storyteller’s life.

To honor the vision of Kim and Bonnie, I offer this quote from BOOM’s Facebook page—“We leave you a tradition with a future. The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete. People even more than things have to be restore, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed. Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.”

Mary Lou Northern . . . Louisville, Kentucky

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