Sandra Baker Baron
Why I Started Writing:
I became addicted to putting words together and sharing my heart at an early age. As a teenager, I wrote in my private diaries daily, and then in my Christian walk, I kept a spiritual epiphany log. As an English teacher, I taught my students the importance of writing daily in their journals. In my class, I used examples of my writing for students to find run-on sentences, repetitive words, and other errors. I noticed most of my examples were paragraphs about my husband and me and our challenges in New Orleans. Later, I joined a local writing group and read the beginnings of my story, “Missed Beads.” After retiring from teaching English for thirty-five years, I decided I would write my heart story that was continuously in my mind. For ten years, I worked on my manuscript with many rewrites until it became the finished product, my creative nonfiction. Near the novel’s end, I recognized the need to include contemporary Black voices to disclose how 1968 prejudices and biases, although not as openly blatant in 2022, continue in our culture today. These voices depict how their plight in 2022 may seem better, but in underlying ways, racism remains, the same racism experienced by my students and co-workers of 1968.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
My father was a sign painter and taught me to love words as a child. He would paint an unfamiliar word in neon paint on a scrap piece of cardboard. He encouraged me to find its meaning, use it correctly three times, and then it would become my word. That simple game as a five year-old brought me joy for every word I learned. Reading brought me further into that love of words. My forty-year collection of diaries, filled with ideas, circumstances, history, emotional ups and downs, and spiritual truths, portrays my love of words. I cannot complete a day without writing my observations or expectations.
I admire C.S. Lewis, Catherine Marshall, and Francine Rivers for their spiritually rich works. I bask in new truths in the writings of Amy Tan, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, and Harper Lee. Lord Byron’s poetry opened to me the melody and meaning in poetry which turned me into a lifelong lover of poetry. My mornings begin with the reading of Psalms because I enjoy the lyrical melodies and better understand God’s loving character. Teaching Huck Finn helped me understand the relationships between Blacks and Whites, and I included Mark Twain’s writing in my novel. Because I previously lived in Key West, Florida, near Earnest Hemingway’s home, I read his works and was attracted to his writing style. Mitch Albom continues to teach me how to be a dynamic storyteller.
Books I Have Written:
This is the first book I have written to be published. I authored “Life Skills” and “How to Mentor” booklets while doing mission work in Kazakhstan. I have written short stories about the strong women in my heritage and the people who have shaped and influenced me. I maintained a “Life Lesson” blog for four years called "Sandi’s Impressions" (sandisimpressions.blogspot.com). Most recently, I began a new blog in Word Press called, “Hold My Hand.” I have been active in storytelling retreats and festivals that perpetuated my love for storytelling
What I'm Working On Now:
I am currently working on pulling together and organizing my many spiritual epiphanies from journals to create a book about hearing God’s voice. I would enjoy putting together my mission trip insights and stories about the amazing people that touched my soul.