Local writer scribes portraits into poetic verse

Published 12:14 pm Saturday, December 5, 2015

Initially, Rebecca Faulkins Conaway said she published her first book, “A Staple’s Eye,” because over the years she had written and collected so many poems.

But over several days after the interview, the Courtland resident grew more thoughtful and e-mailed a new answer.

“Why did I write this book? Well, while in the process of writing a book about me, my life and what I have learned from all the twists and turns of it, I decided to incorporate my poems,” she wrote. “I soon realized that I had enough poems to do a book of poems by itself.”

As early as 2007 is when Conaway began writing the poems.

“I thought for quite awhile on how to format them and so forth.”

Rebeccca Faulkins holds a copy of her first book, “A Staple’s Eye,” which is a collection of poems she wrote, inspired by people in her life. -- Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

Rebeccca Faulkins holds a copy of her first book, “A Staple’s Eye,” which is a collection of poems she wrote, inspired by people in her life. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

Each of the poems is named for and inspired by people she knows.

“I know all these people in this book,” Conaway said. “They had [even] asked me to read some of them at weddings and such.”

While the verses are about other people, she feels they can speak to everyone in all age groups.

Though other people in her family have also written poetry, as far as Conaway knows, she’s the first to be a published author.

Speaking of family, she was born and reared in Newsoms to Esther Faulkins of Courtland and the late Joseph “Joe” Ceaphus Faulkins Jr. Siblings are Veatrice, Joseph and Charlie.

Conaway started writing as early as high school, which included Southampton High. For the sake of a job, she moved to Washington, D.C., and graduated from Ballou High School.

Her education has been furthered at James Madison University, John Tyler and Paul D. Camp community colleges.

Her major was in information systems technology, and she’s worked as as records manager on the state and federal levels.

Along the way, she married Kenneth Conaway, who works at International Paper, and their daughter is Kendra Conaway.

Work and family obligations prevent the leisure of writing all day long, so writing late at night is not unusual for Conaway, particularly if she wakes up with an idea: “I get right up then and start to write.”

Her technique is not particularly complicated, first using a pen and then typing them out.

The publisher for the book is www.lulu.com, and Conaway is “very pleased” with how the book was produced. Copies are available at rebeccaconaway.com; www.lulu.com; amazon.com; and Barnes & Noble.com.

“The first 50 signed copies are hardcover, signed in a gold pen, numbered 1 of 50, 2 of 50, etc., has a notarized certificate and may one day become a collector’s item. I have very few of them left,” she said, adding that they’ll be available today, Dec. 5.

That’s when she’ll be at the Ho!Ho! Hoping for a Cure Holiday Craft/Vendor Show and Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Courtland Ruritan Club. The DOC Angel Brigade Relay For Life team will be hosting the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Rather than donating 5 percent of her book sales, Conaway will instead be donating 25 percent.

Meanwhile, already Conaway is working on her second book of poetry, which will be more autobiographical. She’s hopeful to get that done next year, and has even considered writing stories in addition to verse.

Asked about the book title with the word staple, she explained: “That used to be my nickname my dad gave me. It stuck in high school, and was even on my license plate.”

When the publisher made an early demand for a title, the term of endearment came quickly to mind.

Staples hold papers with a bend.

Poets hold thoughts and make them blend.