I have dreamt of the day when, finally, I can take my book, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” to media which is apt to open up other media slots, so here we go this month of May — May 21, Radio at Fox Network, Cincinnati, WXIX Studios, when Kathryn Raaker who is among the more complex interesting people with whom I have ever talked will have me on her program this Saturday the 18th, and then I will be back at these same studios to film her show which will take place, as we go in studio — Make-up on and we should be filming for the 7PM show, just as my son and his family from Santa Monica are landing in Cincinnati from Los Angeles — so I must remember to breath, “Breathe,” they would say when the blood clots were killing off portions of my lungs; “Breathe,” when they thought that I was dying, and, “Breathe,” I still say to myself, for I learned Yoga breathing a long time ago; For I am finally going to spread the message of my book all the way to Washington, D.C..
I think no less of being with Lee Hay on WVXU here in Cincinnati, her cool jazz programs calm the tri-state, and her wonderful speaking voice will ask me to speak even more about how, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” came about. I must thank the many friends who supported me on Xanga as I wrote the book — blogging to all of you, and some began to know it was a book, and some would wonder why I would then go back and erase chapter after chapter, for by late 2011, it was published — But one October night the daggers of pain would drive in to my shoulders, and the voice from within me would tell my husband to call the 911 number, and I would go in to the birth mode after giving birth 5 times, and especially to bring my Mary in to this world, I would be knocked out the voice inside, my consummate angel requesting, “Breathe,” “Save your baby and to do this you must, “Breathe.”
I have this mission of unfinished business, a job to do, and months of healing from the lung infarction and the clots, plus that I must live on anticoagulants for the rest of my life seems incredibly unfair. I was never a smoker, and I know that homes with smoke are not good for me. My main home is in California, San Francisco, and either San Francisco or New York City is apt to become the first smoke free city in the world! I did not know why I would become as powerless as a smoker makes themselves willingly just because I had a genetic mutation, and then I had to, “Thank God,” for I did not have the Beta Anti Alpha Trypsin horror where one’s lungs just decide to harden, for their gene pool is even unluckier than mine, but I would see every patient who had this disorder when I was at Hospice, and my heart would ache for them, for many of them were non smokers like me. Until one cannot breath, then one does not feel the panic that crushes your lungs, and then in a moment — One does not know if they will ever have even the breathe to say, “Farewell.” I saw my husband that night, not wanting to call, for wasn’t this just going to go away – and the answer would be, “No.” I was going to need ICU care for days, oxygen and rehabilitation for months, and I still get so tired that I am useless around the house, but I am tired from other things as well — such as pain in my back or pain in my knees. “We get so tired,” The angels say, “But you said you wanted this,” and now you are on girl — After all of this time, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” is about to be born to a nation.
It has been compared to, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and my writing has a distinct flavor of Faulkner, not something which I set out to do, but it is the way which I write, for I want you to feel, to taste, to touch, and even to smell the moments. I cannot claim the moments, for they were lived by so many farm families among The southern Appalachian poor, that I am severed in to all of them, and I do not know how to say where my life begins and ends — Maybe it is the time when I begin awakening, and I know that I am a new person, but I am scratching my skin, and, “Do not tell me this is imagination,” for it is so clearly all of the fibers woven in that are me, for the past cannot be buried. I dealt with it as of late when The Franklin County library of Winchester, Tennessee, which never told any of us who lived in Huntland, Tennesse and in the same county back in the 1960s that the library was for us, and my brother told me the librarian had opted to take my book down — A book, from a home girl: First in Hollywood’s 2012 Book Festival for mixed genre’ called, “Wildcard,” then Honorable Mention in San Francisco, California for Biographical and Autographical material, not to mention all of the media coming up and the signing at Joseph Beth; If you go to The Franklin County, Tennessee Library, you will probably not be able to get this book.
I even made this known to their, “Friends of The Winchester Library,” and I got a note of about three words which said that they had no control over their library directress, to which I asked what their role is, since every, “Friends of anything,” board that I have been on, and I have been on several — We get to vote on anything and everything, for we do the fund raising. I wish that I could tell you that it is because the book has some sexual content — as it does, or that it is language related. Here and there, where people spoke naughty words, I wrote those naughty words down, but I think it has a lot more to do with Huntland Tennessee poor girls were supposed to stop breathing and living if we moved away, because in Franklin County, there has always been a small realm which does not want the outside world to come in or to know of the yesterdays when children could go hungry if they did not belong to the right church. “Who determines the right church?” I do not know, but perhaps it could be the, “Library Directress.” God, I would learn, asked of us to come unto him in many ways, and he did not like gossips very much, and even when I was a young girl — I was not great at gossip or casting stones, for it was hard enough just to get through each passing day.
It does talk about how close kin actually hurt and shamed me as a young girl, and that hurt so much, but I would go out in to this world, and I would learn that the greater percentage of incest and molestation happens among family members. My book would have warned young girls to tell someone, to speak the truth to someone they trusted, for now — They can no longer call you a liar and stick you in a girl’s home for the mentally ill or for girls who were going to have babies, even with girls who had criminal offenses. I would like to go and talk to those girls at some of those homes in, “Tennessee,” tell them my story of, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” and help them to know they can get help now, and if someone threatens to break a stick over their back or whip them with a wire switch — Then, they do not even have to go back in to that place where they are so afraid. You have no idea how hard it has been to get my book out, to tell how homes and families were separated, because the call for work north to build cars and make steel, work in brickyards, and pack boxes for shipment was seen as a greater need than for farmers and share croppers to make it on their own.
Truth has always been the most difficult pill to swallow, and we are learning that lying at the highest levels of government are routine, especially around campaign promise time. I really think it would be great fun for a party to establish itself for the ordinary people who live in my picturesque thoughts of little white houses which dot our land on the theme of, “A dollar in every hand, and a chicken in every pot,” for it would be a lot more sane than lying about war and going off on whether communities should remove The Lord’s Prayer etchedin to a court house wall in the 1800s. We deface our monuments to separate church and state at times, and this is just not normal. One thousand years from now when they look back at how weird looking we were before we grew cameras for eyes, and had inward plumbing which turns all of our human waste into a little ash which the robotic people roaming the earth then might have — Then how will they know what we treasured, or will we all be buried in an atomic burst. I do not know, and I cannot imagine, but truth is something which you can scratch over millions of times, but it will come forth in the light of day.
So, I am waving a banner of Thanksgiving, and I hope you will all check with The Franklin County Library in Winchester, Tennessee to see if my book, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” is part of their collection — They are on the internet; Look them up and call, but my brother said they took it down some days ago. The sad part is that I love old friends there. I love my few living relatives that I know, and my folks are buried just a ways down the road, but this is just how time passes, and sometimes, things do not change for the better, and my friends back there know that a lot of the book is fact. To add some color and to not tell some stories as vividly as I might should have; I made them a little softer — Some of when I first learned about men, which I did not know most girls I knew about knew about men before they got out of highschool, but my friend, Betty Ruth Larkin, and I were the youngest in our class, and I tried to learn from college books, and medical books, but sometimes — You just have to see or feel to believe, and sometimes nature is more powerful than that which keeps us pure, but is this not something young women should know?
Oh my God, I wish you could drive out of Winchester on highway 64 and watch the Appalachians begin their ascent from the south, and see the beautiful flowers on summer yards, the roses– even where houses might be so damaged as to fall apart, you will find roses, dahlias, and four o’clocks, and the little church spires, each which shares weddings, farewells, homecomings, and welcome anyone come Sunday morning. It is all so beautiful, and young people are staying. The towns are growing, and a farmer’s market is now open to bring the young in to have a little extra farm money. There is so much which is beautiful, and there are places which are ugly, places where young people flew out of their cars drunk on graduation night from some years past, and that hurts a lot. Yes, you should go there, and when I get back that way again, I think I will bring the Directress of The Library a dozen roses, because to decide a book which now has a national audience is not available must be a woman or a man who is extremely powerful, and I want to know her better.
I need to stop writing this blog, for I am forgetting, “Breathe, you want to save the baby.” “Breathe,” for you can get well again, and I do not have to be afraid anymore, because this is something which can heal. Some of the wounds of, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” are salt laden, and I cannot bear the pain from the tears of so long ago.
Barbara Everett Heintz, Author of, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” Amazon, Kindle, Create Space — Signing — First week of June, Rookwood Commons, Cincinnati, Ohio — or also noted as, Norwood, Ohio, Bookstore, Joseph Beth