Anda Peterson Adjunct Instructor, College of Arts and Sciences
Thomas W. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
It started in a sunny bedroom that had a view of the bay. A little girl with curly white blond hair was dressed up in a purple ballet costume and crown. She had the biggest blues eyes. Her lips wore her mother’s least favorite lipstick. She danced around her bedroom to the Titanic soundtrack. This bedroom was full of her stories. It was 1997. It was only the beginning of her journey. She would fall in love with words and the English language. When this girl wrote stories she would be the author of her own world where anything could happen and nothing was off limits. As she grew up, the girl would be told her way of writing was wrong. Her teachers taught her structure, removal of imagination and only research was worth her time. She would write stories in her spare time. Journals, printed word documents and scrap papers crammed ever part of her desk. Eventually, she started publishing on a website for creative fan fictions. Words flowed from her finger tips while numbers hurt her brain. In her twentieth year of life, she was at a cross roads. She had one step in the right direction and one in the wrong one. She dared to take the leap. Journalism accepted her words but caged her imagination. So she had to find a way to tell her story. At the age of twenty-two, on the verge of entering the real world, she is at another cross roads. This time she has to make the choices alone. Some will be easy while others will be harder. She will always have her words. For her senior thesis, she decided to write series of short stories. She started with high hopes that turned into a series of good, bad and ugly moments. In the end, when the rubber met the road, she let all her words take over. She was able to write three stories. Each one reflects a glimpse into her creative world. It’s like an iceberg. We can only see the top but under the ocean waves reveals bigger ideas and worlds undiscovered. This girl and the author are one and the same. Her name is Summerly Sykes Brown and these are her series of short stories called Leaving Mississippi.
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Brown, Summerly S., "Leaving Mississippi" (2012). USFSP Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate). 115.