HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE
HOLIDAY SNOW – ACRYLICS
Born in northern Alabama, father was a Native American (Chickasaw) sharecropper who managed a farm for a businessperson from Decatur, and a mother who worked in the local cotton mill during the Depression to pay for Beautician School. Although her mother lived in the same house, she was emotionally absent since the Author’s birth. The author, raised by her father, Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman all were great storytellers.
Instead of playing like most children, she roamed the countryside alone or with her father and at night she sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. During the summer, she lived with her fathers’ sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was there that she would discover a library, and mingle with her aunt’s circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was the weekend retreat and filled with these people from a different life than her own. This aunt encouraged the imagination of a young Ann with the gift of her first journal, which she filled with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child.
Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to create buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It lay dormant, gaining experience all written in hidden journals. These experiences, the contents of these journals became short stories and poetry reading to share with the world.
Throughout the years along with her father, great-great-grandmother, and her beloved Aunt Francis, other influences were, Faulkner, Capote, Fitzgerald, and Harper Lee. Later in life, I discovered the warm and comic writing of Grace Paley. The Collected Stories, the vivid poetry of William Carlos Williams; the strong poetry of Phyllis McGinley, and the world’s most exciting women, Maya Angelou are some of the poets at the top of her list.
The harshness that shrouded her life would cause her to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of her writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial from her mother. Today, at a stage of life where she enjoys her children, grand and great grandchildren, her four-legged companion Mason, she lives in Southern Wisconsin…far from her southern roots, writes and paints daily.
ONE OF THE MANY REVIEWS ON HER WORK:
Southern living, tragedy, memories, and nostalgia… 2014
By Dr. Karen Moriarty – Karen Moriarty, Author of “Defending A King ~ His Life & Legacy” [about the incomparable Michael Jackson]
“As a former teacher of English and creative writing, I approached the reading of Ann Johnson-Murphree’s “Honeysuckle Memories” with real enthusiasm. Poetry is not a wildly popular genre currently. However, I have always enjoyed it, partly because it can be consumed in bits and pieces and at any time of day or night. This book did not disappoint. I consider poems the poet’s personal journey of heart-soul-and-mind. This collection of poems is about Southern living, tragedy, death, and memories. The poet-author’s background as a child who grew up in northern Alabama, a sharecropper’s daughter who farmed for his living, colors much of her work. I enjoyed the flow of her writing, her style of combining prose and poetry, and her reflecting the imagery from her earlier memories in vivid terms.
I recommend that you buy and read this book. It is priced well — to entice the potential reader to venture into the realm of poetry. Ms. Johnson-Murphree enjoys, above all else, sharing her love of writing with others who will enjoy it, understand her better, and share her personal journey.”
THE POETRY OF ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE AT AMAZON.COM –
“Nothing will change in your life if you don’t do something different from what you have been doing”. E. Perry Good
The posting for today developed from a quote by E. Perry Good, speaker, trainer, corporate coach, and author sent to me by my son in a mass family mailing. My answer back to him was that, “We (I) try to focus on today more than the future as all we (I) have is today”.
In sharing a “little” of myself with my readers today, as a family research, reading books and trying self-help methods have been a part of my family for many years. It does not mean that we use all but we try. Living day to day is a struggle to many and not unique to only me!
Today, I lean toward my spiritual self instead of organized religion. My life scales are at any given moment tipping with uneven weight of happiness or sadness. Most of my life was based on “Church”, raised up in a country church where style meant overalls and outdated dresses, an old upright piano that needed tuning and a banjo could raise the roof with off key voices and hands held toward the ceiling in hopes God would hear our praises. I taught “Sunday School” from eighteen until I was twenty-six years old. Then life gave me reason to look inward to my spiritual self and this is where my beliefs have resided since that long ago day.
With that said I stopped participating in organized religion; however almost three decades of studying the Bible my belief in some of the philosophy it provides by its authors is a part of who I am today. E. Perry Good is right nothing will change if you do not do something different from what you are doing today.
This post is not intended to push any religious values on anyone; I believe it can be applied to all who want to bring change in their lives. I have written down some of these Bible viewpoints to share that melds with the words of E. Perry Good. The insight of Biblical authors can be a template for life by all people.
Even at my age, I look at myself as a “WORK IN PROGRESS”. I break my own rules about life and how I live it, I have to start over many times, rethinking my life, my own behavior and I truly believe that we are only “done” with improvement in our lives when we take our last breath. I will never be perfect, my flaws are many, but the hope to transformation my life never ceases. Hope for a better self should never die. In addition, I do believe that we should live for today, for tomorrow may never come.
IN SEARCH OF WORDS
Ann Johnson-Murphree Poetry Books – A Collection of Poetry
The 8×11 coffee table books that will display well . The matte cover is classy and inviting. Within each book the reader will find approximately fifty poems. A length pleasing to browse, read one or more; they will find a connection, a meaning and a purpose in each poem.
A worthy piece to share from Ernest Slyman’s Facebook Page…Please share
“When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.”
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? ……What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, … …not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .… … . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice …the things that you do.
And forever is losing … …… A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not … … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding … .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am … . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .… . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .… .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen … .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now …… a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty … ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now … . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide … And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .… . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other …. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children … . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me … . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … … . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .… young of their own.
And I think of the years … And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man … … .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age … … . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone … where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again … . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys … . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living … … . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few …. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact … that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .… . .… open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer … . see .. .…. …. . ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!
Currently working on “Cotton”, the book will be based on a true story in the 1930’s south, the real Alabama, the poor, the rich, the hard times, a patchwork life. Below a collection of poetry based on life experiences on sale’s at Amazon.com.
Ann Johnson-Murphree Poetry Books – A Collection of Poetry
The 8×11 coffee table books that will display well. The matte cover is classy and inviting. Within each book the reader will find approximately fifty poems. A length pleasing to browse, read one or more; they will find a connection, a meaning and a purpose in each poem.
Thank you for your support. ajm
After five poetry books and one of my personal artwork I have begun a new chapter, a new journey into fiction. With many stacks of drafts it is time to move into another direction of writing. I hope you all will follow Libretto and thank you for following and for the success of Ann Johnson-Murphree Confessional Writing. For those of you that have not clicked onto Libretto below you will find an excerpt of one of my stories.
Please visit and follow my new blog Libretto
The following is an excerpt from a short story about a young man from Atlanta. His first job after graduation from high school was with the Greater Atlantic Life Insurance Company. It was 1940 and jobs were scarce the pay poor; he would get to keep one-dollar for every policy he sold. His territory…the Appalachian Mountains. He did not know that the daughter of a potential buyer would be the wildest thing he would ever encounter in his life. It is a work of fiction based on real people and circumstances.
Andrew Pritchett walked two miles to reach the run-down shacks in the Tennessee foothills that edged the Georgia state line; he sold burial insurance. He knocked hard on the rough pine boards of the door, scrapped his knuckles, wiped the blood on his pants leg, stepped back and looked at the rotting porch, barrels for sitting, a can for tobacco spitting and a mangy dog swarmed by tiny black flies. Suddenly a gigantic body filled the opening of the doorway. Moody Cahill wiped his mouth; relocated tobacco scum to the front of his patched overalls and returned his hand to the barrel of a shotgun.
“Mr. Cahill,” Andrew stuck out a trembling hand as he choked back the smell and disgust at the sight of the man he desperately wanted to sell something.
“Your neighbor down the hill, a Mr. Ragsdale said that you might be interested in some burial insurance.”
Andrew’s eye twitched, the lazy one when he was nervous, he sat the worn leather valise down on the porch; it held his entire life, insurance applications, rate book and envelopes to mail the company their money. Underneath all that was an extra pair of socks, underwear, a straight edge razor and a worn out towel; all he possessed beside his old truck.
“Folks in these parts have been buying up these burial policies pretty good, they come in handy if needed”.
Uneasy he took out a handkerchief wiping sweat off his neck. When he looked back at Mr. Moody a young girl with thread bear clothes and a sweet gum twig hanging through a gap in her teeth was leaning on the doorframe. She smiled at Andrew just before the elder man pushed her back into the rundown shack they called home.
“You married young man”.
“Cotton get on back out here and introduce yourself properly to this young man, he aren’t married.”
Working draft: ©2014annjohnsonmurphree
Thank you for following Ann Johnson-Murphree Confessional Writing…I have moved…
Please visit and follow my new blog Libretto
Also at Amazon.com
Reflection of Poetry and Beyond the Voices