High School GraduationHigh School Ambition

In high school, I dreamed of becoming a writer, but I had nothing to write about. Living on a farm in northwest Ohio, what had I seen or done?  I supposed the next best thing would be to write for a newspaper so I headed off to Ohio University in the fall of 1963 to become a journalist. Of course, there’s much more to that than simply writing. A journalist has to have his finger on world events and I didn’t have that either. Nevertheless, I enrolled with high hopes.

I Married an African Chief

Anita and Ben Wedding Photo

Wedding photo

My writing dreams were derailed my sophomore year when I fell in love with my anthropology professor, a hereditary African chief, and I changed my major from journalism to anthropology and sociology.  Such fascinating subjects introduced and taught by such an intriguing man. I never imagined the circuitous route I would take to have something to write about. After we married, I lived a life of anthropology by visiting my husband’s remote Mende and Gbandi villages and becoming accepted into the Mende tribe in Accepted into Mende Tribe - Anita with a child1972. We made subsequent summer visits, and after a military coup in Liberia, my husband walked into the kitchen one afternoon in 1983 and said, “I’d like to spend my sabbatical year in Vahun.” I was speechless, but ti turned out to be great fuel for my future story.

                                                                                                                     Slaves to Racism Book CoverI Became a Co-Author of Slaves to Racism: An Unbroken Chain from America to Liberia

Sometimes goals are fulfilled in a way you least expect them – when you’ve even given up on them.  In my 50s, I had to be forced into writing “kicking and screaming” all the way. My husband was losing his eyesight and he needed me to essentially write his book about the causes of the civil wars then ravaging Liberia. He wanted to explain the effect of racism from America upon the ruling class in Liberia, the Americo-Liberians, who were descendants of Free Negroes and freed slaves from America.  He then compared it with the effect of racism in American blacks.

In God’s timing and His plan, He fulfilled my delayed hopes in a most unexpected way.  As we plodded along, it took FOREVER.  Fourteen years in fact, from the time I first sat down at the electric typewriter and expected him to simply dictate the book to me – which didn’t happen – until we had Slaves to Racism published in 2008. Talk about unprepared.  Other than Christmas newsletters, I hadn’t written anything significant over the years. There were those trips to Liberia, but I had little knowledge of the history or details of the country, which required many trips to the library.

I Wrote Our Love Story                                                                                               

After my husband died in 2009, I was lost – ravaged by grief.  And yet, somehow I wanted to keep his memory alive.  I decided to write about our life together and as I wrote, I realized what an “impossible” couple we were in the 1960s. God had given me an unusual life and then He blessed me with the ability to tell about it. In my “old age,” I suddenly had something to write about – my own life!                  Beyond Myself Book Cover by Author Anita Katherine Dennis

Do you have writing in your blood? Are you eager to connect with fellow writers?  We need each other!  I’d love to hear from you.