You Can’t Go Home Again. Or Can You?

Have you ever noticed that when you leave home, you leave pieces of yourself there? Like your friends and family. You leave footprints in the sands of time, and you leave memories in the hearts of people you love. You also take pieces of home with you when you go.

You take your own memories, your accent, your distinctive way of looking at the world because you walked on that particular piece of earth. You take a few scars—some emotional, some physical—that you earned doing some things you maybe shouldn’t have done. You take the lessons you learned, like who you are, and the moral compass that will guide you for the rest of your life. All of it, the memories, the lessons, the people and even the accent are unique because you lived in that certain place and were surrounded by those certain people.

And those people in Gadsden, Alabama, my home town, are open, friendly and welcoming. They are easy to get to know and hard to leave; they’re the kind of people who hug you the first time they meet you. The kind of people who don’t put up fronts, but invite you to know who they really are.

I drove past the house in Alabama City where I lived most of my younger years. Darn, it’s so small! I saw some of the trees I used to climb. Trees were I used sit under in the shade and make necklaces of wild flowers. I crossed over railroad tracks, the same tracks where, when I was young, I pretended were balancing beams. I’m pretty sure that accounts for a couple of those scars. I walked past the house where I got my first kiss. While Texas is also my home, I will forever be an Alabamian. I’m a Dixie girl.

And this last week, I went home to Dixie. I spent time with my dad, my niece, my nephew (waving at Austin) and my dad’s girlfriend, AKA, my favorite shopping buddy, plus some old friends and my cousin. We bought shoes and purses, watched old western movies, talked about our favorite authors, watched Austin play video games, and drank coffee at my dad’s favorite restaurant–the Waffle House.

I did a lot of things I do when I go home, but this visit I did even more. The Gadsden Public Library asked me to help kick off their summer reading program for teens. Carol York and Nicole, GPL employees, escorted me to three different local high schools (I swear she wasn’t speeding) where I got to talk to the students about my book Born at Midnight and about being a writer. I visited Gadsden High, Gaston High, and Glencoe High. (Yeah, they love the letter “G” back home.)

I got to meet and greet the teens who are high on life–teens, who, like the characters in my Shadow Falls series, are trying to discover who they are, and how they will fit into this world. I loved every moment of it. All the schools were wonderful, but one offered a slightly more poignant punch for me. Glencoe High is where I went to school. While most of the school has been rebuilt, I still took a trip down memory lane. I realized that while I didn’t know I would end up writing when I walked the halls of that school when I was a teen, so many of my characters were born there. Because when I went to recall what it was it like to be a teen, you can bet I went back to those halls. I recalled the not so tasteful school lunches, and the feelings of excitement, anxiety, and insecurities that I carried inside me. I remembered with clarity the need to fit in, the crushes I had on certain boys, and the dreams of where my life would take me.

Then there was the big teen event at the Library. I got to meet old friends I hadn’t seen in years. (Sorry Debbie for getting you confused with someone else!) I got to meet fans who drove over an hour to come see me, and mother/daughter groups who both have read my book. I got to see old fans who came to see my Christie Craig events in the past. We laughed, we got silly, and I made more memories and put a few more footprints in the sands of time in my hometown.

If you haven’t gone home in a while, I don’t care where you are from, I recommend you give it a try. And thank you, Gadsden, and a huge thank you to Carol and Nicole and all the schools who invited me in for making my trip home such a wonderful experience.


Gaston High School





Glencoe High School






Gadsden High School













Gadsden Public Library Teen Event














4 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Again. Or Can You?

  1. Love,love,loved reading your book and your short story!! I read it last weekend, while in Troy for Special Olympics.
    Thanks again for writing a series, where both teens and old fogies like myself can get some enjoyment out of.
    It was wonderful meeting you at GPL. My daughter enjoyed your talk at Gadsden City High. You can tell you are from around here, and proud of it too.
    Your openness,like a warm hug is so refreshing in a time when there is so much darkness and ugliness. I feel fortunate to have met you, and hope to see you again in the not so distant future. Hugs…

    p.s. Can I have a copy of the pic of you and I? Mine turned out blurry..should have asked her to take another.. 🙂

  2. I think its awsome that you went and talked about your books with your fans its cool that you re-visited your old School…If your ever in Oregon Id drive all night to hear you talk about your books. keep up the awsome work!

    P.s. I have a silly question…I’m writing on four different books at the time and i was wondering if that is a bad idea, i’m not having trouble balancing them but should i not be working on so many at the same time? Do you write more than one book at the same time?

    • Emily,

      I only work on one at time, but then sometimes I’m doing edits on another book. But if you aren’t having problems, I don’t see an issue. However, I would afraid things like character’s voice and little things might slip in if I was working on that many. But everyone is so different when it comes to what works for them in writing.

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