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Jada and the Kittens

My Sweet Jada (April 2009 – June 2023) was my companion for almost fourteen year

This could be a post about mourning, but it is not. I do not have words to describe how losing Jada hurts. If you have ever lost a dog, you know. If not, you probably would not understand even if I found words. Instead this is a post about opening my heart to three kittens in the weeks before I lost Jada.

Cleo, the stray cat that I helped make it through the winter brought her no more than four-weeks-old kittens to me. One morning to my surprise, there they were on my deck. I intended to find homes for them. In the end, I found one home for them, mine and Jada’s.

I knew I had only weeks left with Jada. I knew I would not have the heart for any other dog when I lost Jada. I also knew an empty house with nothing except me breathing would be so hard. I brought the kittens in to see what Jada thought about them. She rubbed noses with them, and I took that as her approval. Even then I did not think I had the heart to bond with them, I reasoned that was okay since they were cats, not dogs.

Almost three months later, you see how that worked out. The three of them have not replaced the one of Jada. At first they were a welcome distraction. Now I admit I have bonded with them. I thank mama cat Cleo for bringing them to me because they have helped me keep an open heart.

If you follow me on social media, you may wonder why I waited so long to share this. My heart wasn’t that open yet.




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A long and Winding Path


I was forty, a little over halfway to now. My life was on track with my childhood dreams. I was a wife, a mother, and a secondary school English teacher. Those three fit together.

By the time I was forty-one, my life had changed drastically. I was still a wife and a mother but a songwriter instead of a teacher. I do not mean I started writing songs part-time. I mean I quit teaching and moved from my hometown (and family) to Nashville to be a songwriter. No longer was my life on track.

I was not following a dream; I was answering a voice inside. Some call it destiny or fate. I call it my path. Moving to Nashville was the first step on what has been a long and winding path with many stops along the way.

After eleven years of fairy dust turning to something between a rock and a hard place, I moved back home and closed my heart to songwriting. I got a job teaching English at a university. Teaching was no longer my dream or my passion. It was my survival.

At sixty-six, I retired from teaching. To my surprise, my path led me back to the music world, this time in Muscle Shoals. What I now realize is that was just a chapter.


I am seventy-seven, well over halfway to the end of my life. There’s nothing for which my life should be on track. I am still a mother; I am still a writer. Now I know those two are not enough.

By the time I am eighty, what then? In the time between now and then, I will be on my long and winding path traveling through this new chapter. (What a mixed metaphor!) Now instead of writing songs, I write books. Once again, I am following a call. Unlike when following a dream, the destination is unknown.

For now, my days are routine. I begin my day writing morning pages following Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. That bleeds over into Women’s Fiction Writers ninety minutes write-ins. I focus on writing

There’s no fairy dust or magic, just focus and persistence. Not knowing where the path is leading is part of my path. With age has come a slower pace. That and being in a good place lead to less anxiety. I do not know where I am going, but I am good to go.

I like beginnings of chapters in well-written books. I am in no hurry for this chapter to be over. I am content to savor every word. So here’s to a day of writing.

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On Being a Writer

In the first grade, I wrote a short (short) story about a cigarette-smoking goat driving a car. In the 6th grade, I sent a national magazine a handwritten short story manuscript about a young girl whose family moved too often for her to make and keep friends. I have the notebook with the goat story. I wish I had a copy of the story or at least the rejection letter. Both were early signs I was destined to be a writer.

Fast forward over seventy years, and still I write. Much of my writing compulsion has been channeled into songs. Thanks to Garth Brooks (see the About Me section of this blog) and the fact he and I cowrote “Burning Bridges”, a song on his Ropin’ the Wind album, I am recognized as a songwriter. However, considering the multitude of words and the years of songwriting, that is a small measure of success. At least, that is how it seems to me this morning. When asked about my bookwriting, I have nothing concrete to share. (Should you want to hear any of my cowritten songs, go to the Stephanie C Brown Song page.)

For the last two years, I have focused on writing books. For the last year, I have Zoomed for from two to four hours a day with a group of Women’s Fiction Writers Association writers. My friends know this. I am beginning to be questioned. Surely after so long, I have books for them to read, in fact, for them to order. Sadly, no. By way of explanation for my lack of anything to share, I liken my current book writing to my early days of songwriting, I wrote hundreds of songs before Garth recorded one he and I wrote, thus, validating me as a songwriter.

In the last year, I have written four complete or partial rough drafts. Maybe, but a big maybe, the one I am currently working on is good enough to carry through revising, editing, and querying. If I write a thousand words a day, which is not easy, this first draft might be finished by the first of March. If you are my friend and waiting, be prepared for an even longer wait before the book is available. I am totally overwhelmed knowing what I know that my friends probably do not know. The first draft is but one step and not even the most daunting or even the most time-consuming. Even with magical intervention, 2024 would be a remarkably soon date of publication.

An eighty-five-thousand word book is much more complex than a song. I will revise by rearranging, adding, and taking away words to the best of my ability, and then aided by peers and beta readers, I will revise likely many more multiple times. Then the editing will begin. Unless I am incredible lucky (Have I mentioned luck or magic?), I will have to hire an editor. In a perfect world by some magical coincidence, an agent or a publisher would have read my revised and self-edited book and loved my writing so much that they would hold my hand the rest of the way, and together we would deliver the perfect, soon to be a blockbuster, book to the bookstores, perhaps as early as 2024.

Once the whatever current version has been critiqued by beta readers and my peers and edited to the best of my and the editor I will have hired abilities, the querying to agents or small publishing companies begins. There is no time frame for that. To be honest, I am not sure of the rest of the process. In fact, I am not sure of up to this point. Once the book is out of my hands, I am counting on if not magical intervention, at least a helping hand from destiny or fate for it to find its way. Should that not be the case, I will not feel my time has been wasted. Perhaps, only another writer understands that. In the meantime, I will continue writing new and revising old rough drafts. A writer’s writing never stops.

If my friends wonder why I spend at least twenty hours a week writing, neither I nor that six-year-old girl writing about a cigarette-smoking goat has an answer. Just don’t expect signed copies of my book any time soon.

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Depression – Dark and Deep

Depression -

dark and deep

     slowly steadily 

     pulling me under

     like a stone 

     to the bottom

     of a deep river

Depression –

my old friend

I know you well

so I rest heavy 

curled inside myself


I will myself to dream

I am the butterfly

Lyrically yours,

Stephanie C Brown –

Posted in Uncategorized

Today’s Thoughts

Wow! Only two months of 2022 left. Two busy months for me. November 6th is the reboot of my Song Circle. November is National Novel Writing Month which. means I will write 1,667 words a day. November 8th, 10th, 15th, and 17th I will facilitate a Write a Memoir One Memory at a Time in-person class for The Tennessee Valley School of the Arts at the Ritz in Sheffield, Alabama – if at least ten people register.

Then in December, my niece from DC is staying with me for several weeks. Then – Christmas!

Usually I am a New-Year-resolution-maker. I spend New Year’s Eve alone journaling. I know – very reflective and not very social or exciting. This year I may party because I have already done so much reflecting and planning. For the first time in years, I feel like I am on a new path.

January – March I will facilitate a The Artist’s Way cluster for The Tennessee Valley of the Arts.

I am ready!

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Have I told you I am seventy-seven? I mention it because contrary to popular opinion, age is so much more than just a number. I am not into numerology, but like most of us, I like anything that corresponds with what I want to believe, and I want to believe in the power of 77 in my life this year.

If you know me personally or have been following me online, you know the last two years I have written a lot about the strong intuition that I was transitioning from one stage of my life to another. Since 2015, most of my energy had gone into songwriting and being an active part of the Muscle Shoals Music community. That is what I did, and I loved it – until I didn’t. My energy shifted physically, emotionally and mentally. Focusing on my music life did not give me the same joy. At my core, I am a writer, so I shifted to writing books.

I no longer feel in transition, but I am floundering. Writing books is harder than writing songs, at least for me it is. I say books instead of book because I have not settled on THE book. I have rough drafts of different books. Perhaps being seventy-seven and in the harvesting time of life, I have a different feeling about that than I possibly would have had seven years ago. Of course, I have goals, hopes, and aspirations, but they are not what is important. What is important most days I follow my energy. I do what I enjoy. I write. That is the luck of seventy-seven.

In April I entered into my twelfth seven-year life cycle. I do not expect another major energy shift, though one never knows. The following resonates with me.

77-84 Years (and beyond)“Taking the lessons that they have learned throughout the course of their life, the individual will take steps to remove all negativity from their lives, focusing their eyes solely on the thing that bring them joy and happiness. 

They will find that life’s mysteries, which have plagued them throughout the course of their lives, are suddenly made clear. Desiring to leave a legacy behind for generations to come, they will begin to dedicate the time and energy required to make this a reality”

What about you? Does the theory of life in seven-year cycles apply to your life? Please, leave me a comment.

Seven Come Eleven

From basic numerology, number 7 is a number that signifies completion or wholeness. Since 7 is doubled, the effect is also multiplied and the expectations become limitless. What does the number 77 symbolize? Number 77 is a symbolic representation of luck. (

Age 70-77: if the previous cycles have run according to course, this is the time when we become more intuitive and accepting. If we have been true to ourselves, exploring and connecting to our inner lives, we should now be able to harvest that experience and use the knowledge to improve our lives as well as our relationships. We can also help others with their search.”

Posted in Uncategorized


Redbird – written by Coco O’Connor, Mark Narmore, Stephanie C Brown

How loud does the Universe have to shout before I listen? Redbird is the final song on the project I am so proud of, CoCo O’Connor’s Big Reveal album. For weeks I have been posting on Facebook and Instagram about Buddy, my redbird friend, hopping and flying so close to me even follows me at times. So obvious, yet I missed it.

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it

Interviewing a person with Bipolar Disorder

Interviewing a person with bipolar disorder presents a challenge. Will her mental health diagnosis influence whether you hire her or not. I hope this post is interactive, and that you will answer the questions as you read. The links at the bottom are good self-checks.

What if the one being interviewed has bipolar disorder?

Imagine that you are interviewing someone for a position that involves interaction with the public. The person has all the qualities needed to do the job well. She has the communication skills needed. She is knowledgable. She personable. Her references are good. You are pretty sure you will hire her, but a second interview is company policy. At the board meeting that day, someone comments, “You do know she is bipolar?” Would that knowledge, change your decision? (Legal ramifications are outside the scope of this post.)

I have bipolar disorder and have been interviewed and hired or not hired several times, both with the interviewer being aware I have bipolar disorder and not being aware. I neither have a definitive answer nor do I think anyone does. Somedays I would not hire myself, but my past employment history shows those who did hire me are not sorry.

If you are interviewing a person with bipolar disorder, understanding a few key points should help. First, no two people who have bipolar disorder are alike. Even if you have past experience with people who have bipolar disorder, you will be doing this sperson with bipolar disorder a huge injustice if you judge her by your past experience. The same is true if you judge her from your exposure to characters with bipolar disorder in books, television series, or movies. Those are is seldom accurately portrayed.

To do the person and your company justice, educate yourself. The following links are a good start.

The myths:

Bipolar Disorders information from

Bipolar Disorders information from

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For several years, I have posted about feeling I was in between the present and something new. Well, that new is my new normal. I am no longer an educator; I am coasting out of songwriting; I am still a creative catalyst for others because I believe that is a gift I have been given with the responsibility of using it.

I have also posted a lot about age. That will continue, the postings and age itself. I was born in 1945 which some classified as the first year of the Baby Boomer Generation. I more identify as The Silent Generation. I missed being a hippie, certainly no drugs, and free love. At nineteen, I was a mother and a wife. There’s a Doctor Who quote that I love. He says, “I came the long way around.”

Songwriting? There’s another saying. Don’t stay too long at the party. Leave on a high note. I began writing songs in the seventies. It’s time. I cowrote all ten songs on CoCo O’Connor’s new album, The Big Reveal, which is getting rave reviews within the industry and other listeners. That’s a high note for me and a big reveal in my life. More about that later.

I am embracing being a novelist. Technically, I do not think I truly am until I am published, but I never have cared much about technicalities. I write every day. Most days I show up at 9:00 to write with a group of women from Women’s Fiction Writers Association on Zoom for ninety minutes. Many days I write with them at 12:00 for another ninety minutes. I am perfecting the craft. Yes, I have been writing for years, but writing books is new to me. I use the analogy that building a basic box is easy, but carving a beautiful, intricate box with secret compartments is not. Some days I am discouraged because I know the odds. Other days I am content with the journey. I believe our days are a testament to others. I hope I am leaving a legacy of staying passionate and true to wherever energy calls. That keeps me positive. I go to bed looking forward to writing in the morning.

I am revamping this blog to more easily share my life – now. Some things are in my life to stay, like family, flowers, birds, lyrical lines, and quilting.

Comments are so welcome. Later there will be ways for you to subscribe to this blog and a newsletter. For now, you will just have to check back.

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