Welcome to the Attic!

Many thanks for visiting my blog. My name is Martha Mattingly Payne. I’m a writer, a wife, and a mother of four–or make that six. In the last few years, two wonderful daughters-in-law have joined–and enriched–our family. For going on nine years now, I’m also an orphan, in the strictest sense of the word. Being alive without a parent has changed my perspective. I feel more like a guest on earth, to steal a phrase from Lee Smith, one of my favorite authors. I’m a good guest, I suppose, because lately I seem to want to slow down and savor the life my parents gave me. This inclination gave rise in part to this blog, where in the years following my mother’s death, I waxed on a bit about the wonders of pawing through my mother’s attic, both literally and figuratively. My parents lived fifty-two years in the home where they raised six children. As you might imagine, their physical attic was a rich and cluttered place. The memories that sprang up from all that clutter are all the richer. I hope you enjoy the little essays they’ve given rise to. Moving forward, I plan to dip in here when the spirit, or life’s ups and downs, move me to.

I live in Atlanta with my husband and our rescue dog, Ruby. The “children” have all flown the coop, but we see them often. Like my parents, I love to travel (thus the photo above, at the Acropolis!) and often do my best work on the road or in the air. I enjoy attending writers’ seminars and workshops, and writing fiction is my passion. I’ve had stories published in Snake Nation Review and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and a couple of poems in the Alabama Literary Review and The Reach of Song. (For a taste of my short story style, visit my Short Fiction page.) I’m currently shopping a novel, a multi-generational Southern family saga.

I did my undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill and earned an MA in English from Vanderbilt, after which I taught high school for several years. My father loved sports, and I enjoyed joining him at the stadium or on the couch to follow our favorite teams. I guess it’s no surprise that I write stories about family that often end up with sports as a backdrop or a theme. I love Georgia Tech football and UNC basketball, but I’m first off a baseball fan. In the 1990s I wrote for Chop Talk, the Atlanta Braves’ official magazine. If you’re a parent of an athlete, or if you did sports in younger days, or if you just plain like to laugh, check out my page, A Mother’s All-Star Memoir, where now and then I’ll post a chapter of my book that goes by the same name: Put Him In, Coach!  A Mother’s All-Star Memoir (iUniverse, 2007). The memoir won a Moms’ Choice Silver Award in 2008, meaning it’s rated G.

I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any comments or questions, use the handy contact form below. Thanks for visiting!

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