I never realized that a writer lived inside of me. I discovered the writer while a soldier during the ending days of the Viet Nam War. Although I was not shipped to Viet Nam, I lived with the fear that I would be. So writing became my solace—recalling the place and the people who loved me. On lonely nights in my barrack’s room, I would calm my fear of death in a foreign place by writing about the place I knew best, my hometown. Before long, I had amassed scores of stories about the ordinary people from the Mississippi Delta who nurtured my life.
With no where to safely put them, I kept them in a cardboard box under my bed and they traveled with me from Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine to the 89th Presidential Wing at Andrews AFB in Washington, DC. Those stories eventually became my first three books, starting with the book that set on on an unexpected journey, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored. Published in 1989, it far exceed all our expectations and now some twenty-five years later, the discovery continues.
I will continue to write and share with the world my journey made possible due to the unselfishness of others, my porch people from the Mississippi Delta. Remembering their unselfishness calmed my fears in the early 1970s and continues to be a source of inspiration today.
– Clifton L. Taulbert