Constance Huddleston Anderson
Before 10-year-old Connie Huddleston yanked up her quilt from beneath a persimmon tree, tilted her head back, and marched home, she defiantly announced to the neighbor boys that she “aimed to do three things: see what was on the other side of McCloud Mountain; travel beyond the Mississippi River, and write a book.” Constance Huddleston Anderson was born and raised in LaFollette, Tennessee. “I always knew I would write about Tennessee,” Anderson says, “but I wanted Tennessee, the mountains, and the east Tennessee culture to become characters, the likes of which exist nowhere else in the world. These mountains shape a person.” When people started to ask Anderson why she wrote, she thought long and hard about the question, and at first she said, “Because I can’t be Maya Angelou or Oprah or Yo-Yo Ma. But then I dug deeper and deeper until I found my real motivations and they surprised me.” She believes everyone has a story inside them just waiting to get out, but for most, it takes a certain impetus to trigger getting out of bed at 3:00 a.m. to force your hand to take up a pencil and move it across a blank sheet of paper. “It’s scary. The trigger that moves us to pick up a pencil is usually a renegade emotion or a happening or a change of some sort,” she says, “love, anger, loss, joy, fear, longing, despair, isolation, marriage, a birth, guilt, sadness—anything that changes us in some way. For me, it was discovering that I could make sense of the world around me, find solutions, identify paths, and cope with messes flying up in front of me by writing about them. Writing it out with a stubby pencil in longhand gave my mind the time needed to think about options, solutions, pros, cons, methods, strategies. I write to think through problems—to see them before me as clearly as a road map.” Anderson made it past the Mississippi and back to the South again to southern Alabama where she met her husband, the late Roger Anderson, when he was in flight school (helicopters). Her husband’s military career took them to El Paso, Texas, where their daughter, Ursula, was born and where Anderson attended an Art Academy to study illustration and painting. They spent years at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and where she designed the logo for the newly-fielded PATRIOT missile. From Alabama, they moved to California where Anderson earned a Master of Arts degree from Chapman University. Next was an interim in Norfolk, Virginia, and on to the Washington, D.C. area where she worked at a Psychiatric Institute before attending the George Washington University earning her Doctorate. For eight years Dr. Anderson practiced privately as a Psycho-educational Diagnostician and Specialist in the Washington, D.C. area. Her husband’s retirement from military service and subsequent work for the C.I.A. allowed them to stay in the Washington, D.C. area. She currently lives rather reclusively with two worthless felines in the Blue Grass Valley of Virginia’s Allegheny Highlands where she neglects her orchard of over 100 heirloom apple varieties gathered from all over the world, favoring instead writing, reading, and painting. She still longs for the mountains of Tennessee. Tethered to Wanting was first written as a memoir. Ninety-five percent of the story is true with names changed and a few embellished descriptions. All pivotal events and life-changing moments are true. All of the characters are real people.