Welcome to the Attic!

Many thanks for visiting my blog. My name is Martha Mattingly Payne. I’m a writer, a wife, a mother of four. As of October, 2014, I’m also an orphan, in the strictest sense of the word. I find that being alive without a parent changes your 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 I’ll be 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 attic is a rich and cluttered place.

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. These days, I live in Atlanta with my husband and our youngest son (the other kids have flown the coop). Like my parents, I love to travel and often do my best work on the road or in the air. I enjoy attending writers’ seminars and workshops (Key West, Sewanee, and Tinker Mountain are among my favorites), and writing fiction is my passion. I’ve had stories published in Snake Nation Review and the Scratch Anthology 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, Fishhook Bay, set in a dying baseball town along Florida’s Gulf Coast. It follows the story of Tessa Girard, seamstress for the team, as she navigates an unplanned pregnancy amid the unraveling of a dark family secret, one that ultimately helps her make peace with her haunted past.

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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