BLOG BLITZ Thursday 15 September 2016 – CHARACTER INTERVIEW – CLEM
The month of September is a special time for me:
my THIRD novel and sequel to
the final in the unsavory heritage series,
will be available 30 on September Amazon
CHARACTER INTERVIEW – CLEM
rem: Good afternoon, Clem. Thank you for visiting today.
Clem: Good afternoon. It’s right nice to visit with you.
rem: I know you enlisted in the Army. Can you tell us what prompted you to join?
Clem: My pa.
rem: Was he in the Army, too.
Clem: No ma’am. He weren’t. He were a lazy no good. Mind, I don’t talk no disrespect on my elders, but he were a mean man who din’t do nothin’ but drink and holler at ever’body.
rem: Clem, that’s awful. I’m sorry.
Clem: Thankee, ma’am.
rem: Did he expect you to join the Army? You said you enlisted because of him.
Clem: No ma’am. I joined up on account of how he had hisself slaves and he were cruel to them. It weren’t right how he done them, beating on them and whipping them for no reason. And the women, he… [clears throat] … he had his manly way with more’n one of ‘em. Mostly when he were on a drunk.
rem: I get the feeling you didn’t enlist to get away from him.
Clem: Yes’m. I went off to the Army to fight agin’ them what figured we oughtta have slaves. Them what was cruel like my pa was. Not ever’body was, ye know.
rem: Yes, I do now that. Unfortunately most people don’t. That’s an honorable thing to do, Clem.
rem: And your brother enlisted with you, is that correct?
Clem: Yes’m, he were killt.
rem: It was a horrible war. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was your twin, wasn’t he?
Clem: Yes’m he were. We was close, closer’n me and my other brothers.
rem: I imagine it was hard being close when your house was in such an uproar. What can you tell us about the war? Can you talk about that?
Clem: [clears throat] I reckon I can.
rem: You don’t have to…
Clem: No ma’am, I reckon I oughtta. I din’t write to home—to my beloved Abigail—the way some fellers did. What I mean to say is, I writed to her only I din’t tell her what awful things I seen. I din’t want to fret her none.
rem: Go on.
Clem: She knowed, a’course. They knowed, when I gotted to they house thet I had done been wounded. I couldn’t hardly walk and I thought my arm was going to fall right off on account of it were worthless.
rem: Your arm recovered, though, didn’t it?
Clem: Yes, ma’am, it shorely did. Leastwise, somewhat. I reckon I gots Maggie to thank fer thet. She taked care of me—thet Cissy, though, she were at my bedside a awful lot. I know thet girl prayed for me. Thet’s what healed me most, I reckon.
rem: I believe that, Clem. How were you injured?
Clem: I were shot. Got hit with lead in my leg. Tore half my leg away. And shrapnel hitted my arm. I liked to have lost my arm and my leg both. Still can’t use my arm right. I reckon Abigail’s prayers what done saved me.
rem: Prayer is a powerful thing.
Clem: Yes’m, it shorely is. We was mostly close to home at first. But our sergeant, Wallace Moseby, he got killt and we ended up all the way down to Old Virginia and Carolina. They was twenty of us, I reckon, and we set for the north. It were bloody as hell in Carolina and we was wanting to fight and not get ourselve killt. We knowed about Antietam and was aiming to get to Harper’s Ferry. My friend, Miles, were killt, shot right in the gut when we crossed into Virginia. Ain’t nobody never seen who shot him neither. Five fellas went off looking, and three of them was killt. Me, I tried to keep Miles from dying but I knowed… His body were blowed clean in half.
Clem: No ma’am, I reckon I need to tell this. We never did get to Antietam, we was on the wrong route. We was way to the east, easter than Fredericksburg I think. We was ambushed in the night. Our night watch had done gone. I always did think they deserted. Only me and one other fella wasn’t took prisoner. He were Jeremiah Bolls and he took real sick like. I buried him as best as I could with rocks and such so’s not to look like a grave.
rem: What of letters? You wrote to Abby, correct?
Clem: Oh, yes, ma’am. I shorely did. I couldn’t tell her no lie, I telled her things was not easy. But I couldn’t fret her none, neither. Din’t help nobody to know how bad off we was.
rem: Did you receive her letters?
Clem: Hardly any of them, I reckon. I did right at the first, when I was to the fort. After thet, though, I din’t get nary a one.
rem: Let’s talk about something more pleasant.
Clem: I reckon I’d like that right much.
rem: How did you and Abby meet?
Clem: Oh ! I knowed the second I laid eyes on her I was going to marry her. She was the purtiest thing I ever did see.
rem: Didn’t you grow up together?
Clem: I reckon we did, only ‘cept she weren’t born in Slaty Fork like me. She were just a little thing when her ma and pa packed up and left Baltimore.
rem: So she wasn’t born in Virginia?
Clem: No ma’am. All her people was born in the city. Her pa figured it weren’t a good place to bring up their family. I recall they was heading west to stake them a claim, but Charlie took sick and they was waiting till he was better so they could travel.
rem: But they stayed instead.
Clem: Yes’m. Charlie, he died. And Mr. Sharpe, Noah, he buyed hisself some land and they buried him right there. Miz Sharpe, she wouldn’t leave her boy’s grave after thet. They done left one child’s grave up in Baltimore. I recall thet’s why they was set on heading west, on account of Angus had died.
rem: That’s so sad. How old was Abby?
Clem: She weren’t but a little gal, mebbe eight or ten year.
rem: And you’re a bit older than her, right.
Clem: I reckon. I was half way to twenty when they come to Slaty Fork.
rem: You don’t hear of that age difference so much now.
Clem: I reckon not. Noah, he were seventeen years older then Rose. Me, I is only nine year more’n Abigail.
rem: But you didn’t marry right away.
Clem: Aw, no ma’am. She were too little yet. I reckon I knowed she were worth waiting for, though.
rem: How long did you have to wait?
Clem: Eight year. Thet I do recall, on account of I kept me a tally and I knowed the day she turnt sixteen and her pa gave me permission. It were Christmas Day and we was married in June after thet.
rem: You were a patient man.
Clem: I loved her, ma’am. After I seen her, I knew I’d never love another.
rem: You two are a lovely couple. You seem very happy together.
Clem: Why, thankee, ma’am. We shorely is right happy at thet.
rem: Clem, I’m so glad you came by to chat with us today.
Clem: It’s been my honor, ma’am. And I thankee for invitin’ me.
rem: You’ll always be in my heart—and my head.
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I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.
I have three novels published, the unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess and Cissy are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowersas well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2017.
CISSY LAUNCH PARTY, unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess, Cissy, Clem Character Interview, One Mother, Two Daughters One Favorite One Not, Where Were the Adoption Papers, #newbooklaunch, #CivilWar