The Ink Penn

Lord Banjo and I had the opportunity to be the guest speakers at the Brooke Farm Women’s Club in November. With my writing journey as the focus for the evening, I considered how to organize my words.

As luck would have it, two things happened while I was pondering what to say. First, up popped a Facebook post announcing my book signing at The Lavender Cottage in North Georgia. The words the owner shared about me sounded vaguely familiar, and I wondered where she’d found them. Who knew I wrote so much, I couldn’t remember where the words appeared?

I scanned my website and my Facebook page and found this description I’d written years ago. I’d titled it LIVE | LOVE | WRITE, and the shop owner had used the last paragraph to describe my writing:

Simply put, I live to write—whether it’s a newspaper column, a blog, or a book. My day is not complete unless I’ve spent at least a little time writing something fresh or editing words from another day.

Said another way, “Writing completes me.” I find that putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—enables me to:

• Reflect more fully on what I’ve read or experienced

• Crystalize my thoughts

• Remember stories or experiences I might otherwise have forgotten

• See the humor, or as I like to say, the magic in life

The way I see it, plenty of folks write, dare I say rant, about the alarming, the frustrating, the mildly irritating happenings in day-to-day life. I’ve chosen to write about the lighter side and to find humor in the frustrations. That wasn’t a conscious decision when I started writing my column, but that’s the way it’s always been, and that choice is reflected in my blogs and my books.

Looking back, I realize how perfectly this description captures my writing and the joy it brings me. I penned these words in 2016 as I was pulling together my book of columns. Now that I write for both the Crier and the Highlands Newspaper and have retired and published a second book, these words ring truer than ever.

How funny I’d forgotten what I’d written and was subsequently struck by a quote from author Curtis Sittenfeld where she said the same thing: “Frequently the way I crystallize what I think—about a course of action or another person—is by writing.”

Flannery O’Connor also said it well: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

The second serendipitous occurrence was lunch with a friend who brought me a Dunwoody Garden Club rock, painted with a girl kneeling in the garden. On the reverse side, she’d written: “Doing what you love is freedom; Loving what you do is happiness.”

With these thoughts running through my brain, I was able to frame my presentation around LIVE | LOVE | WRITE and trace my journey from avid reader to avid reader and author. Mix in a delightful group of women as an audience, and you have the recipe for an entertaining evening.

This experience reminded me that one of the few things I miss about my career at the bank—besides the people I worked with—is making presentations. If you belong to a group looking for a speaker, please contact me at inkpenn119@gmail.com. Meanwhile, many thanks to the Brooke Farm Women’s Club for hosting Lord Banjo and his Royal Mum.

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum and Mansell Crossing, and on Amazon. Contact her at inkpenn119@gmail.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.

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