Monday, January 7th, 2013
Regulars to SMITH Magazine have surely noticed, and often heard from, Laureatte Loy, that spirited community member who goes by L2L3. Since she joined the community in 2010 she’s been a force of nature—spurring discussions, writing memorable memoirs and penning the much-anticipated Christmas poem each year (not to mention sending over holiday fudge for the SMITH Mag elves). On a personal note, there’s no one quicker to point out an especially poignant memoir or backstory, or cheerlead the cause of someone who could use a little love from our community.
Laureatte first came to SMITH after reading about the site “in a much older person’s copy of AARP Magazine.” At the time, she was working the night shift at a hospital, where she had a lot of down time. “While my co-workers played online Mahjong,” she recalls, “I wrote memoirs and chatted with a companionable group of insomniacs and intercontinental types on SMITH.”
From the tiny, mountainous town in Tennessee which serves as her perch for an active travel, craft and writing life, the incomparable L2L3 answered six questions from SMITH Magazine.
Name: Laureatte Loy
Place: Northeast Tennessee
SMITH member since: February, 2010
When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I’ve been an avid creative writer since grade school; it was a convenient, solitary activity and one that appealed to me as a young only child in rural Michigan. During high school I edited the school paper and co-edited our yearbook. Then came college and afterward, a job as a psychiatric nurse that required volumes of handwritten observational documentation. Except for occasional commercial ad/brochure writing for friends who owned businesses, writing was shelved for years. I did win an NBC writing contest that secured a free trip to Disney World and a spot on our team to represent western Michigan in the annual Goofy Games. I should add that after being selected as a finalist in the writing portion of the contest I also had to run through tires while carrying glasses of Kool-Aid and then face off in an orange juice squeezing contest. Years later, on SMITH, I thought, “Hmmm… Six words seems like a navigable number of words.”
Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir of yours and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
“My masterpiece hangs on monkey bars” will forever be my favorite. After a series of miscarriages I gave birth to my son, on lucky St. Patrick’s Day, when I was 39. I’d always believed that life would be less purposeful, meaningful, etc. without having a child. This isn’t true for everyone but it was, and is, for me. My son is my gravitational center and the majority of my decisions reflect an effort to do the best I can to assure that he becomes an open, thoughtful and productive human being. It ain’t always easy.
You’ve formed many friendships, virtually and in person, with other SMITH members. Can you share a story about these bonds?
I’ve met ten SMITH members in person, eleven if you count the benevolent dictator himself. I guess the stand-out shared Sixer experience happened early on and was made memorable due to both the warm camaraderie and sheer terror involved. Skyrocketjones went for a leisurely drive to the top of Pike’s Peak with my son and I in the summer of 2011. Let me repeat. Summer. Lots of altitude. Far less in the way of guard rails. After reaching the top, my trembling stopped and we spent exactly fifteen minutes in the visitor’s center before the blizzard hit. Really, I’m a Michigan girl. It was a full-blown blizzard. We ran to the car, hoping to beat the icy fate that I imagined looming on every twist and turn on the downhill. Remember, no guard rails? Skyrocketjones is a trooper and she took great care of us during our adventures there. I must say that every Sixer I’ve met has been warm, welcoming and generous with their time and hospitality. I look forward to meeting more of you in the months ahead.
What’s a passion outside of writing?
Saying it out loud sounds so ordinary, but I love to travel and to cook. Often the twain do meet as I like to explore the local grocery stores during my travels and pick up fifteen bottles of hot sauce and 40 pounds of coffee from Costa Rica, 4 pounds of dried morels from Switzerland, or maybe imported French mustard from Canada. Yes, I do get a suspicious eye from the Canadian Border Patrol guys when they ask for the purpose of my visit to Canada and I reply that I need to buy mustard.
I also love to sell things that I believe in. That could be convincing someone to read a book or selling bowls to L.L. Bean—I’ve done both. My nurse alter-ego has a small business that wholesales handmade wooden ware to businesses large and small. No one who knows me would have said that I was meant to be a nurse. It is predictable that of the nursing specialties I could have chosen, psych was the best fit.
What authors inspire you or do you admire?
Although the great, classic writers of the world certainly evoke thought and emotion, they speak to me in whispers. On the other hand, Rick Bragg, Ruth Reichl, James Lee Burke, and Jane and Michael Stern come through like the sound system in the Kennedy Center. They make me belly-laugh, spew drinks and swear, often after too little sleep, that they’ve spied on my life and used it in their own first person. I’ve corresponded with some of them and even talked a couple into contributing to a SMITH book. James Lee Burke is the most stunningly descriptive author that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read and if I were given an opportunity to inherit one author’s ability to write, I would choose his, hands down.
Finally, Laureatte Loy, what’s your Six-Word Memoir for today?
My guardian angel demands PTSD leave.