Thursday, July 25, 2019


I went on a date! With the hubby! It’s been ages since we had a real date night. Health issues, timing issues, deadline issues, and princess issues have been all up in our way. But I was reminded that adults need to take adult time to appreciate each other, and adults in a relationship need to take time with each other to remember why. 

Big Daddy and I went to UNC-TV for an exclusive, intimate In Studio concert by country music sensation, Rissi Palmer. Think MTV’s Unplugged. The performance was being filmed as a local complement to the next Ken Burns documentary, Country Music

I can’t begin to tell you what a spectacular time we had. I’m a huge Rissi Palmer fan so for me this was a dream come true. It was hard to contain my excitement and not come across as a crazed stalker! But she was a sheer delight with an incredibly welcoming spirit. Y’all know though, that in my crazed fan mindset, she and I are now the best of friends!

Some of you may remember my POST about Rissi’s 2007 hit Country Girl. Country Girl was my theme song and I wrote the first two Stallion Series books to her self-titled debut album. Everything about her music spoke to my esthetic and brought me immense joy. She embodied the heroines that came to life in John and Mark Stallion’s stories. Her music was everything I needed to help me breathe life into that award-winning series. Palmer has a keen sense of humor and is a true storyteller. It was magical to hear the tales behind the songs she performed, and a time or two I had to wipe away a tear. What struck a particular cord for me tonight was the story behind her song Summerville, which was featured on her album The Back Porch Sessions. She spoke about her grandmother and singing on the back porch of the family home as a child. She shared memories of cooking cornbread with her great-grandmother, the freshly washed laundry that hung outside on a line, and many others that centered around the town where her family matriarchs were born and raised. It was those memories that helped her regain her balance when she needed it the most.

For many artists and writers, we often hit a crossroad where we’re not quite sure what will come next. When we have doubts and question our creative journey. I have recently been lost in that space, doubt and frustration holding me hostage. The writing has been stagnant, no ghostly characters haunting my spirit. After 50-plus books I wasn’t sure writing was what I wanted to do anymore. I had decided to quit, changed my mind, and changed my mind again. But tonight, Rissi’s creative energy rekindled my own. I was reminded of those things that ignited my original desire to be a writer. It brought me front and center with why I love to write.

As Rissi shared her own experiences I thought about my grandmother and her admonishments for me to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. In Rissi’s music I heard the hopes of our ancestors. The dreams of mothers who nurtured and raised us. The trials and tribulations of fathers who struggled to be seen so that we might have a place that was ours. I heard her voice and rediscovered my own.

Tonight, I’ll play every one of Rissi Palmer’s albums, each song in constant rotation. I’ll start with Country Girl, and I’ll write.

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