Editors’ Blog

June’s Memoirist of the Month: Beverly Head

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By Larry Smith

“When a memoir or story on SMITH has made me laugh or cry or wish that I had written it, I have communicated with the writer and/or marked the writing as a favorite. My list of favorites is very long.”

Name: Beverly Head
Place: near Atlanta, Georgia
SMITH member since: November 2010

Beverly Head made her debut on the Six-Word Memoir project with a story about endings: “Thirty eight years. Keys returned. Retired.” Yet those six words were the start of something new for Beverly, who taught English for 35 years at a two-year college in the University System of Georgia, serving as chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Division for eight of those years. Beverly has amassed more than 1,700 memoirs since joining SMITH as Bevvie in 2010. Her writing reflects milestones both personal (“PMS. Periods. Flashes. Finis. Finis. Finis”) and familial (“Parenting: the cake. Grandparenting: the icing). Beverly has a sharp sense of humor about herself (“So old school, I’m one room”) and life in general (“Kindle. Nook. eBook. iPad. iPhone. iConfused.”), at times with tinges of rebellion (“Six word revolt! I’m using seven words!”). She is a “Poet by nature. Poet my nurture,” and her aptitude for creative writing shines through, as captured in the poignant “Memoir washed away by 6,000 word tsunami.”

In our “Six Questions for…” feature, June’s Memoirist of the Month, Beverly Head, shares her passion for writing and the retired life. We know Beverly, who lives in a small suburb just outside of Atlanta, will have fun choosing her own Six-Word Memoir T-shirt, courtesy of our partners at Spreadshirt.

When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I started writing in high school. I still have pages and pages of those stories and poems illustrated with my doodles. An early turning point in my creative life came in college when one of my creative writing professors submitted one of my poems (I was reluctant to submit my work) to a national creative writing contest. I won second place. That prize gave me the boost I needed to continue writing.

Another turning point came when I won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. The award included publication of my book, Walking North, as part of the Michigan State University Press Lotus Poetry Series.

And, of course, I consider finding SMITH as a turning point in my creative life. I first read about SMITH in an issue of Mind Body Sole magazine, published by Famous Footwear. I had just retired and bought a new pair of walking shoes. The magazine came with the shoes. SMITH was mentioned as one way “to boost your brain power and get those smart juices flowing.” I joined immediately but did not write a memoir for a few months. I didn’t think that I could tell a story in just six words.

Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, Moment or other story in SMITH of yours and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
“Not Lot’s Wife. Never looking back” is a favorite. When I wrote the memoir in May 2011, I was thinking about moving ahead from teaching and focusing on writing. Then came several health challenges during the last months of 2011. Now I consider that memoir as an inspiration and a daily affirmation!

What authors inspire you or do you admire?
I love poetry and science fiction. Therefore, I admire many writers; however, I most admire Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Zora Neale Hurston, Sylvia Plath, Octavia Butler, and Lucille Clifton. I have been inspired by their themes, imagery, and language. I have written six-word memoirs that were inspired by their works and their lives. [Editor’s Note: one of our favorites is “Zora, my eyes are watching God.”]

Is there someone’s writing on SMITH that’s especially moved you?
Several writers have moved me on SMITH. I could list names, but I would be mortified if I left out someone’s name. The writers should know who they are based on my comments on their memoirs. And I have exchanged email messages with them as well. When a memoir or story has made me laugh or cry or wish that I had written it, I have communicated with the writer and/or marked the writing as a favorite. My list of favorites is very long.

There were two stories that resonated with me, and I cried while reading them: the backstory that was included with notjustagirlintheworld’s memoir “My dad would have loved this” and Dean6805’s story “Making a Promise, Keeping a Promise.” Both were intensely personal stories that drew me in emotionally.

SMITH has brought many things into my life: an opportunity to write creatively, a chance to be a part of a writing community, the opportunity to meet new people. L2L3 has visited me twice (sending fudge and bringing apple pie), and I have corresponded with Believe (sending my Believe hat).

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Reading, gardening, going to movies, museums, plays, craft shows, and home tours, and talking on the telephone.

Finally, Beverly Head, what’s your Six-Word Memoir for today?
Caution! 65 ahead! Not slowing down!

51 responses

  1. Jl333 says:

    It’s so nice to put a face to your name. I’ve always been a fan of your memoirs. I look forward to reading many more of our memoirs.

  2. oopsalittle says:

    Oh Congratulations Bevvie - How wonderful to learn more about you - You really rock!

  3. Believe says:

    Love this! Congrats! You are as charming as your sixes.

  4. notjustagirl says:

    Love the photo but can’t tell if you are wearing pants :D Nice to finally see (some of) you. Thanks for the nod, love being in your company in not physically metaphorically.

  5. canadafreeze says:

    I love your memoirs - they always speak my language:-) and congratulations. It’s nice to formally meet you, Bevvie.

  6. JAD says:

    Congrats! Bevvie, a well deserved honor.

  7. kathi wright says:

    so nice to read more about you! congrats on this feature, bevvie!

  8. L2L3 says:

    Congrats on well-deserved recognition, regardless of the current state of your pants :-) I think that both you and your writing are charming. The fact that my child is smitten by you cements the conclusion.

  9. Jl333 says:

    I look forward to reading more of *your* memoirs…not ‘our’ memoirs. There’s goes stupid autocorrect, correcting me again.

  10. DynamicDbytheC says:

    Bevvie, so nice to know more about you. You will always hold a very special place in my heart and soul. I titled the photos at James’ Celebration of Life, “Tour de Heaven, the Eternal Race.” by Bevvie. This will forever be my favorite memoir.

  11. catsmeow says:

    All those grandma memoirs had me picturing you as old! Must now banish that image as you are clearly just a young thing.

  12. SkinnyDomicile says:

    Bevvie, I’m still reading your writing on SMITH. Congratulations on being June’s Memoirist of the Month!

  13. Morningdove says:

    Yea Bevvie! Congrats, I love your work!

  14. Grenadine says:

    Bravo Bevvie!!! I enjoyed the interview… and your memoirs… from a long time fan … you continue to inspire…

  15. bevvie says:

    Thanks for the nicest comments, Smith Sixers!

  16. Loon says:

    please include me in the long list of your admirers, Bevvie

  17. Coleen says:

    Wonderful to meet “Bevvie” this way - as lovely and as charming as I imagined! I’m a forever fan.

  18. Wolfie says:

    Glad to meet you! You are both charming and funny, brilliantly creative, hoorah.

  19. BanjoDan says:

    Bevvie, it was great to learn more about you and I admire your passion for writing!

  20. bevvie says:

    Thanks! I’m dropping in periodically to give thanks. So thanks to all who come after this thanks.

  21. Bonnie Crawford says:

    Congratulations! This is really a wonderful tribute to your talent and teaching others to write.

  22. Believe says:

    I do love your tiny clown hat by the way. It’s nice to know you are a fan of hats. I happen to like that in a person.

  23. marymc says:

    Long-time fan. Always will be, dear Bevvie!!!

  24. KharisJo says:

    steller career, great memoirs and a beautiful gal as well. congrats on well-deserved feature.

  25. KharisJo says:

    oops, stellar.

  26. lillybrook says:

    Bevvie - I have admired and adored you for years. So nice to know more about you!

  27. NumbrOneAunt says:

    bevvie, i hope you know you’re one of my favorite memoirists! you provide laughter AND material for reflection. wishing you the best always!

  28. Redx3 says:

    Bevvie, so nice to meet you, formally that is. Keep up the great writing.

  29. Lovely Lizard says:

    Congrats on this wonderful honor, Bevvie! Your work inspires me to be grammatically correct ALWAYS. I love that you make sixxing seem effortless and fun. It’s so nice to get to know some of your story. Looking forward to reading your future musings.

  30. ba_Miracle says:

    Your writing has taught me a lot and you have many placements in my favorites list.

    So nice to “met” you.

  31. TawnyPort says:

    I have always enjoyed your clever and insightful Six’er postings, and your words of support to me over my years here. Hearty congratulations to you on this well deserved honor!

  32. Dean6805 says:

    Bevvie, you’re the best. Your Sixes have been an inspiration to Jen and me. It’s about time you were featured! It feels like I know you just a little better now. Keep rockin’!

  33. bevvie says:

    I appreciate all of your kind words.

  34. favepeep says:

    Congrats, Bevvie! You’ve got style and then some!

  35. Other Grandma says:

    Congratulations! From your grandson’s “other grandmother!”

  36. bevvie says:

    Other Grandma, what a pleasant surprise! {{hug}} our boys for me.

  37. Level1 says:

    Oh Bevvie! I’m late to the party (as usual) but it’s so nice to meet you none the less! I do enjoy your sixes and the opportunity to read more about you :-)

  38. bevvie says:

    That’s okay, Level1. We saved you some dessert.

    Wish that I could thank each of you in person. I <3 you all!

  39. ton says:

    Had no idea!!! I truly admire your writing style and I enjoy your memoirs immensely! And we live in the same region!!!! As a writer, you are one of my crushes. Congrats! Keep on sixing!

  40. Lucie says:

    Such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing such joy.

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