Ronda Rich's blog

The most honest bio

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A major New York publisher sent a review copy of a much touted novel called “If Jack’s In Love.” Because I write about the South and because this book had won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the book’s publicist followed up with an email.

Since this column runs in Yazoo City, Miss., hometown and burial site of Morris, I decided to give the book a look in deference to the Southern literary legend. Surprisingly, it was the author’s biography that caught my attention rather than the sprawling words between the pages. I must share it with you: Read More»

The ‘Rocky’ method

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It has long been my belief that the dreams tucked into our hearts are the compass we’re given to find our direction in life. Children know at an early age what they’re called to do. Sadly, too few grow up to follow that calling because life’s demands and sensibilities get in the way.

The key, I have decided, is to grow up brave enough and bold enough to follow our dreams, regardless of how crazy they may seem to others. Strong perseverance and determination will lead to the fulfillment of our passions. Read More»

The truth about my words

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Before I say this, just know that I am not bragging. I am sure that this is not anything to brag about. But you and I are friends and I always endeavor to be honest with you so you should know the truth.

When it comes to my books — there are six now — I have a hard time remembering precisely — even generally in some cases — what I have written in each. My best defense is to say: I write what I write then I move on, with hardly a backward glance. I head into the next book, next column or next speech to be written. Read More»

Who’s kin to whom

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It is of paramount importance that I teach my husband how to be a Southerner, at least a half-decent one if not one of regal bearing.

For instance, I tell this dear man, who descended from those who traveled on the Mayflower, and therefore is generations deep in New England, that to be a true Southerner, you have to get into everyone else’s business. Not in a mean way but in a caring-I-can-help kind of way.

His family has boundaries. No one over shares or over asks. No one intrudes or inquires with personal questions. Everyone minds their own business. Drives me crazy. Read More»

When Mama made up her mind

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Mama was stubborn. “Set in her ways,” is what country folks call it, and boy, was she. When she made up her mind, nothing stopped her. Especially when she set her jaw and punctuated her declaration with a firm nod of her head. If she also threw that crooked forefinger in your direction, you knew that it was set in stone. Destined to be. Read More»

The rusty truck

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Back in the summer, unwillingly, I would rise early and take a run to beat some of the oppressive heat and humidity that smothers the South when the sun inches higher in the sky. Many mornings, I encountered something that would stick with me for the rest of the run.

Few cars were out so early on non-school mornings, but I often saw a rusty pickup, perhaps 25 years old, ancient according to today’s need for new vehicles. A man, whose face was covered in gray whiskers, hunched over the steering wheel while a lanky, teenage boy slumped in the passenger’s seat. Read More»

Being Danny McGuire

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Little Danny McGuire was the scrawniest kid in class. He was so frail, so downright skinny that his dungarees clung to his bony hips only thanks to a well-worn brown belt that was pulled tight to the last notch, causing the fabric to gather in folds. What a sight he made with blue jeans cinched to the waist and little ol’ legs hidden somewhere in the yards of material. Read More»

Paying for my raising

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Mama’s favorite phrase when I was growing up — particularly during the defiant teenage years, especially when I sassed her — was “you’re gonna pay for your raising one day, little lady. Let me assure you of that. You just wait until you have children and see how they behave.” Read More»

The scolding

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Boy, can people be mean. I’m thinking particularly of a reader named Samantha, whose scolding of me turned into a scalding.

By the time she was finished with her vicious tirade, I was skinned, boiled and over-cooked. It didn’t make me mad, though. It didn’t even hurt my feelings. It made me sad. Real sad.

She wrote to point out a factual error I had made in a column about the King James Bible when I said it was the first English translation. I was wrong and I apologize for my mis-information. It was not the first English translation. Read More»

Uncle Jesse’s truth

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Occasionally, someone truly interested in the art of writing will ask me, “What does it take to be a writer?”

The answer is one that often surprises them for they expect me to say something about talent, a love of language, or even a passion. But it’s a bit more complex than that.

It takes an ability to observe life in general and people in particular in order to pick out universal truths that can be understood by others — those pieces of wisdom that enlighten and even entertain. Read More»

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