Author and writing your life instructor, Patricia Charpentier, hosted an evening with Joe David Bellamy at the Marks Street Recreational Complex (99 E. Marks Street in Downtown Orlando.) discusses the motivation behind writing, "Kindred Spirits: 400 Years of an American Family", his approach and how he accomplished this labor of love. Joe is very intrigued by family history and he became a dedicated researcher when he realized that much of what had been written about his family's history was wrong. He pointed out that we are living in a revolutionary time with the Internet making information easily available and DNA testing making genetic family ties irrefutable. Ninety two percent of the people who lived and died on this planet left no trace of their life.
When he spoke about the actual process of writing, he became animated. He said, "Writing should feel like play. Spontaneity is part of the pleasure of writing." He stressed that "finding your voice" is the most important part of becoming a writer. He told us the story of how his father met his mother. His father moved to another state and began selling vacuum cleaners to make a living. When he entered one home he was taken with a picture of a young woman on a mantle. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he said so. He sold the vacuum. Several weeks later he returned to see if the vacuum was working. The woman was in the next room on the phone setting up a date. He walked in and said, "It's a shame you have a date because I was going to ask you out." She broke her date. Lightning struck them both.
Joe pointed out that statistically speaking, cousins often end up marrying cousins. He found the same thing happened in his family. Two sisters moved to separate states and each had children. When the children met, not knowing they were related, they were instantly attracted. Just like the mom was attracted to her own son in "Back to the Future." Joe's parents were kindred spirits and they never knew it.