This post is part of an interview series featuring the authors of Family Stories from the Attic, an anthology of essays, creative nonfiction, and poetry inspired by family letters, objects, and archives. Monday posts are featured on the Hidden Timber Books website, and Wednesday posts are featured here. Learn more about Family Stories from the Attic at the bottom of this post. Without further ado, let’s meet Ramona Payne, author of “Without Words.”
Ramona M. Payne
Q: Did you write “Without Words” with a particular person/reader in mind?
Ramona: I did not start “Without Words” with a specific person or audience in mind; I wrote it because by writing and researching the silver service that she left behind, I was able to understand more about my mother-in-law and consequently, about what it means to communicate when a conversation is not possible. It helped me to understand a part of her life with her husband and sons that we had not discussed. So many of us can relate to the need to learn more about those who are no longer with us to answer our questions.
Q: How has the publication of your piece influenced the work you are writing today or your writing in general?
Ramona: Since the publication of my essay “Without Words,” I continue to work on other essays, my favorite form of creative nonfiction. Some are intended for other anthologies and journals; many will part of a collection of personal essays that I am writing.
Being part of Family Stories from the Attic has introduced me to a new group of fellow writers, all of whom seek to tell stories that reveal, inform, and enlighten. The anthology affirms that there will always be an audience of readers for these type of stories and I hope it will encourage other writers to continue writing and submitting their work.
Q: What is a fun, interesting, or unusual fact to share with your readers?
Ramona: For several years I was a fundraiser at a major university where I worked with generous benefactors to raise millions of dollars; many of these gifts went to support the visual and performing arts. I met many artists—writers, sculptors, actors, playwrights, producers, singers, and dancers—and I enjoyed talking to them about their work. I learned that an artist needs time and a place to create, and that consistent effort is critical. I decided to leave that job to focus on my own writing, to give it the attention it required to produce work I wanted to share. I have no regrets about this decision; I am finally doing the work I have wanted to do for years.
Connect with Ramona
ABOUT THE BOOK
Family Stories from the Attic features nearly two dozen works of prose and poetry inspired by letters, diaries, photographs, and other family papers and artifacts. Editors Christi Craig and Lisa Rivero bring together both experienced and new writers who share their stories in ways that reflect universal themes of time, history, family, love, and change.