Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How

The journalist buried deep within me insists that I make the story matter to my readers by covering all of the important aspects of it. This is accomplished by answering: Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why? and How?

Who? My name is Jessica. I am the oldest of three girls. I am a preacher's kid. I am a native Alabamian, transplanted in Indiana just shy of 12 months ago. I am married to a wonderful Indiana native, Mr. Love, a gift to me directly from God. I will not say I deserved him; but after a terribly rough first marriage, many have said those words for me. I am extremely grateful that Mr. Love is the wonderful man he is and loves me the way he does.

What? This blog has no defined intention, except to serve as an outlet for me to write and share my life. In its infancy, it is mostly not a specific type of blog. I realize it may grow into something more or different; but for now, it cannot be typecast by subject matter. So, while I do watch sales and coupon, this is not a couponing blog. I work full-time and depend on couponing bloggers to supply me with such information. And while I cook most nights of the week, this is not a cooking blog. I take many recipes from online sources, but do not aim to be one. I mostly aim to be the same person and do the same things and earn my income the same way that I would without a blog. The only difference is, I will begin sharing some of these experiences and important memories in this venue for posterity sake.

When? I've been thinking about doing this for a while. And then, two days ago, I stopped thinking and started doing. The stories I share mostly will be about my life in Indiana, but also about my friends and family back in Alabama and my experiences along the way to this place. I envision that, at times, I will write about current day experiences; other times, I may go nostalgic or share a deeper part of my story.

Where? I have lived in a number of places, but only in two states: Alabama and Indiana. I grew up in Selma and Butler, Alabama. Went to boarding school in Mobile, attended college in Upland, IN and worked in Selma and Montgomery before landing a husband and job that relocated me to Indianapolis. My stories will mostly take place in or near one of these locales.

Why? Because I have a story and a need to share it. At one point in my life, I had a story that people said should be written. A story that Oprah would love. But alas, I chose to start writing about my life in a post-Oprah show world. But the story is still mine. And if I choose to tell it in this venue, or if this process leads to me telling it in hardback, then so be it. If I choose to only ever tell stories of current day bliss and heartaches, then so be that as well. That's part of telling my own story - I can share as much or little as I like.
How? Awkwardly at first. And then, hopefully, with ease.

Heart & Soul Defined

So, one may wonder what exactly is meant by this suggestion that I have an Alabama heart and Indiana soul. When I shared this concept with my mother, she certainly requested an explanation. And by the time I was done explaining, there were likely more questions than answers in her mind. As such, I'll attempt to be clearer in my written description of this elusive concept. Hopefully even mama will get me once my definition is completed herein.

The heart is a physical part of the body. When working correctly, it pumps lifegiving blood through veins and arteries. Without one, you cannot live. It is essential to your existence. But while this description of the heart impacts my overall definition, it is only part of the platform from which I dive into the characterization of my Alabama heart. From a less literal perspective, the heart is often linked to the concept of love. While from a Christian perspective I certainly believe it is the soul that guides our feelings and expressions of love, to define my split heart and soul accurately, I must somewhat suspend that truth from this definition. Thus, heart = love.

I love Alabama. I love the people there. And as I grew up, the people of this place were essential to my existence. They made me who I am today. I have Alabama blood. I bleed Crimson. Alabama is at my core.  I think like a Southerner. I act like a Southerner. I have an accent that reveals my heritage as a Southerner. I will always be a Southerner at heart. Thus, my Alabama heart is a very real, and almost physical, part of who I am. As long as I live, Alabama will be part of my makeup.

And then, there's my soul.

The soul is not as simple to explain. It cannot actually be found. You could look all throughout the body and never find the soul. Brains, heart, lymph nodes. But no soul. And yet, it is there. It gives us desires. Dreams. Yearnings. A connection to the people and places around us. It gives us goals. It tells us who we want and need to be. It makes us feel good or bad when we are doing things right or wrong. It takes us places. And mine keeps drawing me to Indiana.

As much as I love Alabama, having been born and reared there, my soul was born in northern Indiana. And for that reason, although displaced from my home and family, I feel at peace in Indiana. Although a transplant, an alien here, Indiana and I make sense together. We have an undeniable connection that cannot totally be explained. We get each other. In a way, we're soul mates. And so, it is from this place that I write today.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Made in Indiana

I am a writer. A story teller. But as time has passed, as life has become hurried, as my career has changed, my writing has become very purposeful. Proposals, assessments, reports and recommendations. As a result, I find myself yearning to write for no purpose at all. To have no end goal in mind. To simply share my story and create lasting memories in the process. But as a writer, I find it necessary to establish the back story. And believing that life begins at conception, this southern girl's story starts in the Midwest.

I was made in Indiana. My parents, for some reason, have always been overly open about sharing this bit of intimate information about me, or technically, about them. In fact, I honestly have no idea where my sisters were made. It was most likely in the small Alabama town where we grew up. But that information has never been shared. And yet, where I was made has been told many times over the years, to various individuals and even to crowds, no matter the relevance or appropriateness. For some reason, my conception location has always mattered. And as my life's path has repeatedly led me to Indiana, I have come to realize why. I have an Alabama heart and an Indiana soul.