Connie May Fowler

by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on January 3, 2015

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Today is the birthday of a woman who has given so generously of her gifts to me that I can never possibly repay her. Happy birthday, Connie May Fowler!

The first time I saw Connie May was when she appeared at Winter With the Writers at Rollins College, where I was an English major. Although she would later run the program for the college, on this night she was the guest speaker. I knew nothing about her, but was struck by her reading style, the power of her words, and that the man taking her photograph gazed at her the way many stare at the Mona Lisa.

After reading her books, I became a fan, and later happily gave a lecture series at the Orange County Public Library on her work. The more I studied her books the more I admired them, but it was when she became my teacher that I grew to know and love the person behind the pen.

Connie May’s life has not been easy. She’s faced obstacles, both as a child and as an adult, that would have crippled the spirits of most of us. And yes, those experiences have left her bruised and somewhat like that half-crazy cousin you’re a little afraid of, even while you admire the heck out of her and wish you were as brave. But I challenge anyone who would dare to criticize her to live the life she has, and then rise above and make the kind of art she’s made.

When the world called Connie May ugly, she showed it her unique beauty. When the world knocked her down, she rolled with the punches and stood tall. When the world rejected and tried to shame her, she raised her eyes, looked the world in the face, and gave of her time and talents so generously that it was the world who felt ashamed, not her.

First as my teacher at Rollins, then at Spalding, then at her private workshops, Connie May nurtured Sewing Holes along, challenging me to step away from memoir, “change everyone’s names, and make stuff up.” When I took her advice, the book finally soared.

Here’s what Connie May had to say about Sewing Holes:

“With infinite grace, Sewing Holes explores love and loss, spirituality and crisis, redemption and forgiveness. Honey is a mesmerizing character who tells her story with such plucky, clear-eyed, no-nonsense wisdom that you never want the novel to end. Darlyn Finch Kuhn has written one fine, uplifting debut novel. Read it, celebrate it, and buy copies for your friends, for this is a book that reminds us what the true nature of love is all about.

~Connie May Fowler

Author of Before Women had Wings and How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly  (and others.)

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