Posted in Debut Novel, Growing Up, Historical Fiction, Hometown Travel

You Can Go Home Again! (A visit to my hometown, Piggott, Arkansas)

Hometown of Piggott, Arkansas 

Thomas Wolfe claimed a truism that is the title of the book which many of us might agree with, “You can’t go home again.” I agree I could not go home to live there again, but I can go back for a visit. I’m always thrilled and happy to see my mom, Gaye Wiley in Piggott, Arkansas. It’s fall and it was a colorful time to travel through the Ozarks and then follow the road home to the delta cotton fields of my hometown. I grew up in Piggott, Arkansas, just like Pauline Pfeiffer, second wife of Ernest Hemingway.

Hometown Newspaper Announces my Debut Novel 

I was honored when my hometown newspaper announced my debut novel publication and therefore supported my artistic work by letting locals know of my new book.

The Clay County Times-Democrat announced my debut novel, Song of Herself (see the article by clicking here), and reminded viewers of my previously published coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away (found on Amazon by clicking here).

Thanks Clay County Times-Democrat!!!

Hemingway Made Piggott Famous

Turns out my small rural hometown because famous after I left when some people in high places determined to celebrate Hemingway having spent time writing in Piggott, Arkansas, at his in-laws’ house.

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center, also known as the Pfeiffer House and Carriage House, is the historic home of Pauline Pfeiffer, wife to novelist Ernest Hemingway.

Carriage House where Hemingway wrote part of Farewell to Arms.

The house itself is well maintained and contains some of the original furniture and artifacts. The barn at the back of the house that was used as the Hemingway’s writing studio also has a lot of historic value.

The guided tours are informative and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. A sister to a classmate of mine gave me a tour this trip to Piggott. I recommend making a trip to Piggott when you can to tour the house and carriage house where Hemingway wrote part of Farewell to Arms.

Covid-delayed Class Reunion

During my Covid-delayed class reunion, classmates and I had a good time reminiscing and telling stories on each other. But it was a joyous night together again with those who knew us in our raw (young, unedited) forms, before we became who we would be.


We were saddened to learn about classmates who had died since the last time we were together and that some could not join us due to health problems.

If you haven’t already ordered my book, Song of Herself, see below



Recently my friend Marge wrote me,

“I just finished your book and loved it. It was a page turner! I loved the character development and learned so much. All your hard work paid off! Thank you for the adventure. I loved the ending!!”

If you read the book, please leave a short review of two or three sentences on Amazon. Tell potential readers what you liked, found intriguing, learned about another culture, or what you discovered about yourself in reading the book.

Thanks, so much!!!

Posted in Hometown Travel, Travel

Time Travel: Back in time


I often suggest “hometown travel”–the kind that does not require you to leave home to travel. Tonight I travel back in time to when I was a girl.

Depending on your age you may remember June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, who wore a dress with an apron tied around her tiny waist and cooked dinner leisurely every night.

You may recall your mother who did the same, but she actually would sweat when the kitchen got hot, unlike June Cleaver, who looked like she just came from the bathroom all freshened up.

Many of you may recollect the iron skillet or skillets our mothers cooked in. Mom fried chicken and then potatoes in a hot greased skillet, and finally made gravy from the leftover grease.  Hmmm, yum!


So tonight I put on an apron to keep the hot oil from splattering my clothes to fry eggplant. I dip peeled-and-sliced eggplant in egg, then coat it in a flour/cornmeal mixture, and fry it until crisp.

iron-skillet-cooking iron-skillet-cooking-2 iron-skillet-cooking

A moment back in time. See there, we can travel to another time and culture for supper. I recommend it. Only occasionally, though, for the sake of our arteries and overall health.

Posted in Hometown Travel, Travel, Travel Writing

A private tour of the LD Brinkman Western Art Collection

Guest blogger Marty Garcia

Let me introduce you to my guest blogger, Maricella “Marty” Garcia. She attended a Travel Journal Writing I conducted on campus last fall and won a copy of my memoir in a drawing of participants. I discovered her travel writing skills by reading the student newspaper, The Reveille, at Schreiner University, here in Kerrville, Texas. She will be the paper’s editor-in-chief this fall 2016.

BOOK 2015-11-17 17.29.35

This summer Marty worked as an intern with Western Art Academy, supervising high school students in a four-week painting and sculpting college credit course on Schreiner‘s campus. As a part of the Academy, she visited the L.D. Brinkman Collection of western fine art, located on the South side of Kerrville, TX.

I asked her to write about a local attraction to illustrate how we can search out and experience local tourist attractions or what I call, “hometown travel.” We don’t have to leave home to expand our world.  Read how viewing western fine art, as a graphic design student, broadened Marty’s idea of “art.”

Touring the Brinkman Mansion 

Driving up a shady incline, the pavers create visual suspense until the Brinkman Mansion in Kerrville, Texas, appears over the hill. The white facade contrasts with the Texas blue skies and the fountain trickles happiness over its edges, which reflects the hot summer sunlight–almost like a wink at me. The Brinkman Mansion, a private home and collection, open to the public only by appointment, is art all on its own.

Walking inside the grand foyer, beautiful wooden and marble floors, which were the industries of choice and fortune for Mr. Brinkman, were artfully laid by craftsmen under his direction.  Western art filled almost every square inch of the hallways, living areas, sitting rooms, and offices. We were instructed not to touch the walls, for they were considered art as well. Even the board room hosted over a dozen paintings and several bronze sculptures of longhorns and cowboys.

Our guide told us about the progression of technique and style of one of the artists G. Harvey, referencing six priceless paintings on the long wall in front of the students. His movement from landscapes to town scenes capture the change of the country as industrial development created pockets of civilization throughout the West. I most admired his use of light and dark in the paintings.

I was taken aback, seeing more art in this house than in a museum.  It was all so casually placed, with little to no attention to sunlight hitting the paintings directly. This made a few us wince.

Works by George Phippin, Harold Von Schmidt, Oreland Joe, and other artists from the 20th and 21st  centuries show the appreciation Brinkman had for western Art.

On the second floor, we found oil paint studies of about 20 different horse breeds on the landing. Each bedroom had at least 3-6 paintings of assorted artists and content.  

See the Academy students busily sketched compositions and took notes in their books.

When we descended to the basement, we saw lots of real Native American artifacts, some preserved behind glass, others laid on tables as if they had just been used. I remember best the beaded vests with tribal paint and tattered fringe. No notes were posted to say how old these artifacts were.

Featured in the expansive collection of Mr. Brinkman, you will find everything in terms of content from the landscapes of Texas to the way of life of the Comanche, the Apache, and other Texas Native American tribes.

Read a bit of local history, Brinkman’s involvement with founding the Museum of Western Art, in Kerrville, Texas.

What this tour meant to me?

As a design student, to see the collection was eye-opening for me, especially since I haven’t really dug into western art. I have visited some key galleries in Fredericksburg, and met some great artists in person, but I recognized the true diversity of the genre in this visit.

Marty's Photo hi-res

Western art was not just horses and cowboys on the ridge of a hill; it was a view into a Native American teepee, ranch hands heading into town to auction livestock, and the pie cooling on the window sill.

Every artist had a unique style in their paintings and bronzes, and this was more obvious in the Brinkman house setting, where multiples from each artist were placed close together.

I was grateful for the opportunity to witness this collection first-hand, and to help the Academy students be aware of the importance of promoting art like this now and in the future.

Why no pictures of the collection?

I could not take images of the estate, because cameras were prohibited. You however can have an aerial look at the mansion.  There is little about the Mansion or its contents online, and its future is wavering more each day.

The chance of anyone visiting the Brinkman Mansion is little to null. I was one of the lucky ones. The passing of Mr. Lloyd Brinkman last year led to fewer public tours of the home. In addition, some of the pieces in the collection are being sold. The actual division of estate among his children from a total of seven wives has been anything but pretty.

If you have a chance to visit with an organization who might be invited, as we were, do not take a rain check! GO! There is something for everyone in the home.

Where else to see fine western art in the area?

A great place to view western art is the Museum of Western Art, located in Kerrville, Texas, and aptly named. Wonderful bronzes of all sizes and content, paintings in many mediums, and even leather saddle art are on display here for the public.

Another great collection can be found at the Cowboy Bronze Fine Art Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas, which features work by Bob Vickers, Paul Kethley, Roger Archibald, and others. It is both art gallery and art store.

What does “hometown travel” mean to you?