I’m Melissa, mama to three littles, military spouse, writer, and bookworm. I love afternoon lattes, bookstores, and spontaneous dance parties.
It’s hard to know what else to share in this little “About Me” space, so instead—
Can I tell you a story?
Mrs. M was my second grade teacher, and she made magic. Every Friday afternoon, Mrs. M proved she could see through walls. She waited the coatroom while a student stood at the front of the classroom and held up 1-10 fingers for all of us to see. After the student returned to his or her seat, we called for Mrs. M to return to the classroom. Without fail, she guessed the secret number every time. All the second graders would laugh and stare at her wide-mouthed, incredulous. All the second graders but me—I got to help with the magic.
My teacher had made an arrangement with me early on: if I was willing, I could place my hands flat on my desk and show her the secret number with my fingers. When she came out of the coatroom, I’d keep my hands quiet even as they betrayed the answer to her. I loved being a part of Mrs. M’s team, and I kept this secret from my classmates for the entire school year.
Mrs. M made a classroom of eight-year-olds believe in magic, and she was the first person to make me believe I could be a writer. Inside the cover of my school journal, a simple spiral-bound notebook filled with second-grade scribbles, she wrote me this note at the end of the school year: Melissa, I won’t be surprised if someday I am browsing in a bookstore and come across a book with your name on it. I ripped this cover off of the notebook and kept it for more than twenty years. I eventually lost track of that notebook cover, but I continue to hold my teacher’s words, and her confidence in me, close to my heart.
The stories I used to weave with a purple pen in my Lisa Frank notebooks (adorned with neon unicorns) eventually became academic papers, song parodies on my guitar, a Master’s thesis, letters of recommendation, journal entries, and songs for my kids to learn their names and potty train. I stopped writing stories, but I never stopped playing with words or believing in their power.
Five years ago, a challenging stage of motherhood showed me I have a story to share and a calling to share it, and I started writing again. I wanted to use storytelling to bear witness to this life, build connections with others through my words, and create something beautiful.
I still think about Mrs. M’s words now and then. Not only did my teacher make me believe I could be a writer–she made me believe I could make magic. Like my teacher, I want to bring you in on the secret. Through the magic of stories, I want to remind you that you aren’t alone, that there’s beauty in sacred/ordinary things, and maybe even make you laugh.
I’m so glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll stay awhile.