Archive for July, 2017


Down The Rabbit Hole

Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Remember Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll? Alice was having a perfectly pleasant afternoon when suddenly a rabbit with a pocket-watch went scurrying by. And Alice was struck with the notion of following him, jumping straight down into a rabbit hole. And falling, and falling, and falling. Breathless, and wide-eyed though. The adventure of her life!

“It’s no use going back to yesterday,” Alice said at the end of it. “I was a different person then.”

So Miss Alice, I know just what you mean. I’ve been perfectly happy writing non-fiction for more than fifty years. A pleasant occupation, taking me all over the world and meeting all kinds of wonderful people. Like all the great people in all 50 of our great capital cities. History. Scenery. Adventure. I have loved every minute of the research, the documentation, the “telling what I saw, and experienced.”

I’ve been a great reader too, starting back at the age of eight when I first read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. That’s when I realized that someone actually wrote books – they didn’t just bloom like daisies on a library shelf. I knew my calling then. I wanted to be a Jo! But practical considerations guided my choices – after all, my father was an accountant, so right there you can see what turned me toward learning shorthand, and typing, and various secretarial skills. “Job security.”

Eventually though, even in the middle of raising a family, I managed to get a publications business going, doing newsletters for large corporations, and writing marketing materials for them as well. I taught college freshmen basic composition skills, I taught engineers how to write reports, and I taught businessmen how to write a good business letter. “Pursuant to” is SO not cool. That was cool.

I went on to write travel guidebooks – Chattanooga Great Places was the first. It took a year to do all the research, and pull it together. Yes, I ate in all 150 restaurants I reviewed. Yes, I went to every museum, and tourist attraction, and shopping mall. It was Chattanooga’s very first honest-to-goodness guidebook! I wrote a weekly column for The Chattanooga Times as well, focusing on travel. And since 2012, I have written at least half a million words for Capital Cities USA, living in 50 different states, sleeping in all those different beds.

But I have never written fiction. Until NOW. Until I jumped down the rabbit hole and wrote Patchwork Love.

And I feel a little bit like Alice. There is no going back to yesterday. I am hooked. The process of creating something from pure thin air makes a person reach SO DEEP, and SO HIGH, that nothing will ever be the same again. I had no idea what Louisa, and all my revered author-friends, were really all about, before this. Mark Twain was more than a very funny, and very crotchety, man. He saw something nobody else could see, and took the time to write it down, so maybe we could see it too. » read more