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Memoirist of the Month, February 2014: Jo Ann Daniels

“When I found Six Words, it allowed me to express myself in ways I couldn’t otherwise; it was my own little world and I began writing like I never had before. I wrote morning, noon and night. ”

Name: Jo Ann Daniels
Place: Crowley, Texas
SMITH member since: April, 2008

MOTM Jo Ann D

Jo Ann Daniels (a.k.a. JAD)

Jo Ann Daniels has been with SMITH almost since our start and we’ve been with her through many milestones. Penning her nearly 1,700 six-word memoirs and backstories as JAD, some events have been predictable like aging (“Gravity is no friend of mine.”), while others have been deeply poignant and heartrending like her adult son’s passing (“He went peacefully. I’m so satisfied.“). Jo Ann has shared many touching sixes in our Moms/Momoirs category about caring for her elderly mother (“Actually, I’m my mom’s mom today.”) and her mom’s failing health (“Quietly, crawled into bed with her.“). Through it all, she’s maintained her optimism (“Pain consumes you. Hope renews you.”) and that beautiful smile we enjoy via her profile (“Smiling is just in my DNA.”). Join us in congratulating Jo Ann as our Memoirist of the Month for February 2014. Thanks to friends at Spreadshirt, she’ll receive the Six-Word Memoir tee of her choice. Our vote: “Old school dance got their attention.” See why we’re glad to have Jo Ann with us as she answers our six questions: 

How did you first hear about Six-Word Memoirs? And is there someone’s writing on the site that’s especially moved you?
I saw something in my daily newspaper and, immediately, the article caught my eye. I was amazed that stars like Oprah Winfrey (“Seeking the fullest expression of self.”) and Marlo Thomas (“That Girl, enlightened, became That Woman.”) were excited about Six-Word Memoirs.

When I found Six Words, it allowed me to express myself in ways I couldn’t otherwise; it was my own little world and I began writing like I never had before. I wrote morning, noon and night. My husband of over 45 years finally realized I was dead serious—I finally broke him in—and there was nothing he could do about it. They were so supportive when I lost my oldest son, Patrick, this past October, which was devastating.

SMITH Mag was the first social network I have encountered—I wouldn’t trade anything for the community of people that I have come to know and respect. As for my favorite writers from the community, I dare not give out names when so many—especially those regular Sixers whom I’ve come to love and admire—have moved me on more than one occasion. Great talent here from so many.

When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I believe my interest started in junior high school when I had to write a paper on the style of dress all the kids were wearing. I didn’t realize my interest would excel in my later years. I began to write and speak at church functions on different occasions; I wrote my first poem in 1992 and recited it to a group of high school graduates. I don’t really consider myself a bonafide writer, no degrees or courses, just self-taught and still learning where to put my punctuation. My love of words, which started in infancy, grew even more on SMITH and through our beloved ADHDean [Ed. Note: Dean’s the member behind “Random Word of the Day”], who makes me Google quite frequently.

Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, Moment or other backstory of yours on SMITH and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
It would have to be “No dance partner, grabbed the broom.” I love to dance, got it from Mom. As many in the SMITH community already know, my mom is in the early stages of dementia, although she hasn’t forgotten any of her kids completely. I care for her, she’s lived with for almost three years now. Mom is a feisty little woman who loves Michael Jackson and loves to dance; it makes her happy and that makes me happy, too. I hope to be just like Mom when I’m 86.

What authors inspire you or do you admire?
Maya Angelou, she speaks with such conviction, and Stephen King, his imagination is over the top. I must add Margaret Mitchell—there will never be another book or movie like Gone With the Wind.

When you’re not writing,  what do you enjoy doing?
I worked 27 years for a family-owned business, a family I adore to this day. Since my retirement in 2007, I have a direct sales business that enables me to meet lots of people, which I love. I also like to fish, bowl, play cards with my friends of 40 years, and dance with my 86-year-old mom.

Finally, what are your Six Words for today?
I’ll keep writing, more to say.

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