This Semester’s Writers – Joni Butler


I wrote, really wrote for the first time when I was 29. I’d kept journals off and on since college, but I had always found it hard to be honest with myself. I wrote as if someone were looking over my shoulder making sure my every thought was spun in such a way as to not upset some Christian-y rule I had picked up from God knows where. Dead religion kills honesty. I know that now, and I remember with delight the night I sat down to write, full of contempt for the artificial boundaries I had placed around my mind and my life. It felt like a long-delayed bowel movement of the soul!

The journaling kept on, fairly consistently, for several more years, and I’ve been fairly consistent with my writing lately. I have the great treasure of friends I can be honest with and truly be myself. That initial discovery of how to write honestly from the well within me has bled over into how I see nearly every other aspect of life. In short, I am much improved because of it.

Vidalia, Georgia is my home town. We are famous for sweet onions, and for being the most cosmopolitan of the rinky-dink towns in the general area. I grew up going to high school football games on Friday nights and to Savannah for doctor’s appointments and trips to the mall. I thought I wanted to be an architect and completed a degree at Georgia Tech for the same. That didn’t quite work out like I had hoped, but eventually I found my way into the loving arms and the gentle, magenta glow of nuclear power generation which keeps me busy from 7-5 most days. I enjoy writing, reading, traveling, and getting dinner with friends. And dancing, when I can find the courage. My mom, dad and little brother live back in Vidalia, and I’m enjoying Birmingham with my fuzzy buddy, Applesauce the cat.

I’m thankful to have found a home at Church of the Highlands. The small groups are my favorite part, and I am loving this one: this blog has been a delightful challenge, especially the 500 word limit, and I have met some lovely and talented women. I’m honored that we can discover our gifts and hone our talent together. And I guess since this is about writing a blog, I should say my favorite book is Jane Eyre, followed closely by Anna Karenina. My life’s aspiration is to live as a friend of God.

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