Pastor David Jett has been at Crossgates Baptist Church (www.crossgates.org) for over ten years now. He has prayed over me for my diagnosis of bipolar disorder since the beginning of its manifested symptoms when I was thirty-five. He has always believed I will be healed of it. He is a man of God who lets God use him in exceptional ways in people’s lives, including my own. I want to attend his retirement dinner and speak on what an encouragement he has been to me throughout his time at Crossgates. I can’t do that if I’m dead.
My husband’s cousin Leslie has seven children—four girls and three boys. They were homeschooled by two brilliant parents. The oldest is a writer just like me; she writes poems to God. I want to watch each and every one of them grow up and make their mark on the world.
His brother Sam Clark is also an artistic genius, but in clay sculpture. His website is www.samclarkart.com. One day he decided to create a dragon. He did but wasn’t satisfied with it, so he made another one. As he put it, “You keep that up and pretty soon you’re surrounded by dragons.” He put them up for sale and started pulling in money. He’s branched out into trolls, frogs, and robots, but we still have one of the original dragons. He’s going to be another Van Gogh I hope in his own lifetime, and I want to hang around for that, too.
I know a kid named Matthew Clark. His website is http://www.matthewclark.net. He is a singer-songwriter with six self-made albums under his belt. He gives house concerts all around the country as well as in coffeehouses and churches. His music captures so many feelings I didn’t even know I had until I listened to him. I have his first few albums in my collection; the first one he even drew the cover art himself—a picture of the universe with the sun at the center. He’s young but is going to be a superstar someday–and I want to be around to see that happen. You will too.
In October 2015, I was admitted in a class of ten students to the brand new Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at the Mississippi University for Women. My classmates were Allison Chestnut, Exodus Brownlow, Toby Brown, Thomas Richardson, Tammie Rice, Beth Kander Dauphin, Jeanna Graves, C.T. Salazar, and Katrina Byrd. Allison is a poet who writes about her world travels and about places not-here. Exodus is our new media fiction expert. Toby was our video master. Thomas tweets Twaiku at @spoutingthomas. Tammie writes unflinching nonfiction about her life since the death of her son, Zac. Beth is our overachieving polymath, master of every genre. Jeanna tells rollicking stories about growing up broke in Mississippi, living on her own since she was sixteen. C.T. is our most famous poet with acceptances just pouring off of him. And Katrina is our playwright with a gift for telling it like it is. Most of us are ready to graduate soon, and I want to see them on the best-seller lists and watch their careers grow thought the years.
My sister’s daughter, my niece, is just seven years old and already she’s a pistol of a girl. She’s just like Summer was as a kid—stubborn, headstrong, and softhearted. She idolizes my youngest daughter since they are closest in age and wants to be around her all the time. I want to see her molded as she grows up and uses those qualities to her advantage.
My sister is going to rule the art world someday—she already designs t-shirts for one of the most successful clothing companies in Mississippi, Southern Belle Originals. You can see her work on the backs of some of the most stylish ladies in the state and beyond through their website, www.southernbellestore.com. I want to be around for when she really gets going on her own someday.