If you stand in the center of DC and then travel vaguely southeast until you find tone-deaf roosters and lazy-eyed cows, you’ll discover the rural landscape that made a chorus of crickets, frogs, and occasional coyotes the sweetest lullaby I know. Roaming the woods and later hiking the mountains of Northern Virginia engendered in me a thirst for beauty. Meanwhile, frequent trips to the surrounding battlefields, plantations, our tiny library, and the Smithsonian fostered a life-long passion for learning.
I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and I certainly can’t recall any day when I wasn’t demanding story time (again and again) as a child. Even before I knew how to form letters for myself, my mind cranked out stories and made-up songs by the dozens. (My three dear sisters made sure to memorize the worst of them and still perform them obligingly when my ego needs to be knocked down a few notches.) When I finally learned the rudimentary skills of story-writing, a collection of 30 or more construction paper bound short stories spread across the dining room table in a few weeks. The books were mostly stapled backwards and showed my love for rhyme (of the “fat cat sat on a mat” variety).
Thanks to my mother’s patience and several generous teachers, I finally started applying grammar and sense to my prolific outpourings, and I developed a passion not only for the excitement of self-expression, but also for the craft of rhetoric. Through a BA at Christendom College in English Literature and Language, travels abroad, several years as a missionary and youth minister, and several more years as a college-preparatory English literature and writing teacher, my writing skills served me well as an outlet, a method of understanding my experiences, and an art that I’ve cultivated in myself and others.
Now, I am blessed to stay home to serve my husband and my four darling children. They are my joy and constant source of inspiration (and occasionally desperation–both are good for creativity!) Somewhere between dinosaur migrations across the kitchen floor, paint-encrusted fingernails, spider observations, and baking projects, those busy little people put on their angel faces and snooze, and Mommy takes the time to fill more blank pages with scribbles and teach others to do the same.
Side Note: To protect the privacy of my kids a bit, I won’t use facial pictures of them or their real names. Here are their “blog names”: Little Man (our oldest who captures my heart with his love of exploration and discovery), Maggie (b/c she collects shiny things like the proverbial magpie), Sunny (the one who waves like Miss America from the shopping carts), and Pearl (because the world will never understand why I wanted to have a forth kid, yet she’s my treasure).
Kelly J. Henson