Catherine Hamrick

Soul deep storyteller, poet, copywriter, and editor with a passion for wordplay, gardens, literature, and the South

Birdwatch . . . Leap of Faith

March passed, blurred gray with rain. The backyard trees, still winter stark, hung heavy with a dozen birds roosting in dark clumps. Turkey buzzards. I grabbed some binoculars; the birds’ shrunken heads were red, with small, hooked beaks. After a drizzle, the buzzards flapped their black-brown wings, shaking off the damp. Then they took off and […]


Zinsser on Writing Memoir Well: “Think Small”

Since his death on May 12, William Zinsser dominates my thoughts. Reading his book On Writing Well transformed my writing in college. Later works continued to teach. Zinsser dropped many great lines. This one rings true as I draft slice-of-life pieces: “be yourself, speak freely, and think small.” It appeared in the essay “How to Write a Memoir” (The American Scholar, Spring […]


Mom: Wonder Woman without the Skimpy Suit

Peggy, my younger sister, wept bitterly on her first day of school. “Honey, don’t worry,” my mother reassured. “You’ll be home before you know it.” My sister cried louder. “You’ll love school. You’ll read and color.” “But you’re so old!” Peggy squalled, tears of shame on her face. Mom, her hair already turning fine silver by […]


Earth Day & Diaper Daze

No new mom leads a pampered life. However, a new day dawned with disposable diapers. They dispatched the cotton-diaper E-yew toilet-dunking moment to limbo, despite a few environmental holdouts. Although Procter & Gamble debuted disposable diapers in 1961—just in time for my sister Peggy’s arrival—my mother spurned this new-fangled notion. In the brave new world […]


The Kitchen Shower

In response to The Daily Post prompt: “Ingredients”—what’s the magic ingredient in your kitchen you can’t do without? Easy! Love with a pinch of good advice. As a young woman, I resisted ritual. I didn’t care which university won which rivalry. Secular sin! I tramped around Europe instead of stepping out at a debutante ball. […]