Mandy Haynes cut her teeth as a storyteller with her seventeen imaginary friends. Uncle Wilkensack, his wife, their thirteen kids, and their two pet alligators kept Mandy in material for years. Throwing gasoline on the fire, she married a musician and spent many hours on barstools, various backstage venues, and riding in a van listening to outrageous tales from some of the best songwriters and storytellers in Nashville, Tennessee. She now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida with her three dogs, one turtle, and a grateful liver. Walking the Wrong Way Home was a finalist for the Tartt Fiction Award and several stories have been awarded first place for fiction in small literary publications and anthologies.
Another definition of rube is an uneducated hick. I used that definition on my original business card, but a few of my friends hated it. They thought it gave the wrong impression.
I thought it was perfect.
See, I’m not ashamed of who I am – a former teenage mother who dropped out of school to raise my son. I’m very proud of it actually. I’ve lived a pretty good life despite the odds and the stigma attached to my earlier “predicament”. Despite starting out way too early and fighting tooth and nail to make it, I raised an intelligent son, put him through college and worked the last of my sixteen years in the medical field as a pediatric cardiac sonographer. I’ve had stories published over twenty times in small literary magazines and anthologies, winning a few awards to boot.
If I could go back in time and change things, maybe I would’ve gone to college. I do admire people who do, especially while they’re raising a family and working. But then again, I don’t think I would. I wouldn’t want to change my voice, the voice in my stories or the characters who speak them. They are raw, they are honest, and they know what it’s like to live simply and hurt deeply. They aren’t polished or sophisticated. They’re a little ragged around the edges, slightly tarnished but still shining. They are my kind of people.