I grew up in the middle of Florida. Not the touristy Central Florida that usually comes to mind but a quieter Florida where there were still cattle ranches and citrus groves until the late 1990s. A place where rural takes on a new meaning and quiet is punctuated with the sound of cicadas and breezes over the swamp.
As a child I loved my home and playing outdoors until the mosquitos came out and chased us inside. Back them my mother who rarely allowed us to watch TV would turn on the big ceiling fan in the living room and my sisters and I would lie on the floor underneath it and make up stories to tell each other. In the seeds of this upbringing are why I am a writer today.
As a teenager I hated our house with no A/C because my hair was always frizzy and when I stepped outside the heels of my sexy new shoes would get dirty from the unpaved driveway. But I did enjoy baking under the Florida sun wearing sunglasses and not having a single person around to disturb me.
But now as an adult I love going back. All the things about my small town and that rural house my dad built that used to bother me now charm me. I love the fact that there are no neighbors and that my parents have their chickens and their garden. I love the fact that my kids have grown up playing on the same land I did and that they feel as passionately as I do that we should always have that land and always return there.