Cast Spotlight: Tiffany Courtney

by jana on April 18, 2017

Tiffany is a native of the Mississippi Delta, was raised in the heart of Texas, summered on the plains of Kansas, and escaped to Louisiana to attend college before migrating to Atlanta, finally finding home. She’s a wife, mother, sister, daughter, reader, writer and Realtor— rarely in that order but always with those priorities. She is an avid proponent of sustainable communities, volunteering with programs that support families, local schools and the arts. She’s also at work on her first book, a coming-of-age narrative with plenty of moments when the narrator does not listen to her mother.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I love quotes! Actually, I love words, and great quotes are some brilliant soul’s words, stacked and organized, punctuated and connected. They’re like a snapshot of someone’s inner workings that connect to something in you.

In the 90s, I put my quote collection to work on my answering machine greeting. In the early 2000s, I jazzed up my email signature line with my quote art. Sadly, when texting and social media slayed home phones and digital mail correspondence, so, too, went the outlets for my quote sharing.
These days I house my latest and greatest quotes on two poster boards that are thumbtacked to the walls of the places I most frequent—the kitchen and my office (previously known as the dining room). Both spaces are small and the boards are packed, so it feels as if I’m in the hallowed presence of a gazillion beautiful minds.

If art is prayer, and I believe it is— a most sacred form, in fact— those quote boards have been the choir and praise team in the crafting of a few satisfying metaphors and a stunning result or two with cumin, fresh basil, and tilapia.

What’s your favorite piece of writing you’ve ever hit publish on? 

Unfolding, a 700-word flash essay. It’s currently sitting in a Submittable queue.
Let’s all take a moment of silence to wish it well as its time before the editors draws near.

As a child, did you listen to your mother? When did you start realizing she may actually know what she’s talking about?

Well… not quite. If there had been an option to pack up a mouthy, ungrateful, limit-pushing 15-year-old daughter and drop her off on the steps at the local fire station, I’m pretty sure my mom would have considered a midnight delivery. I imagine the note attached to me would have read, “Hello and thank you (southern etiquette: begin with manners, even when fed up). This child does not listen and she has worked my last nerve. Please do not return her just yet. Again, thank you ever so much.”
When my parents separated in the mid-70s, my mom set her sights on Texas. She had a dream, a degree, a new job, and two young daughters—9 and 7. That she independently ticked off all the boxes on the American Dream checklist is still incredible to me. And just as implausible is my inability, during adolescence, to see the personal wisdom behind my mother’s accomplishments. It wasn’t until I was a few years into being a mother myself that my vison began to improve. The first thing that came into focus was a peculiar pattern in my life: at every high point, my mother had been behind me, cheering; when I crashed, she’d been up front, defending me from flames, spectators and debris; during those in-between moments, when life could shift without notice, my mom had been right beside me, keeping me level. Here was proof of her love and abilities. So, I began to listen to my mother, and I haven’t stopped.

If your mother is still living, do you listen to your mother now?

Absolutely. One of motherhood’s great ironies is that you’re raising your future best friend. Luckily for me, my mom is ideal friend material: wickedly funny, adventurous, savvy, sassy, generous, brave. She knows when to share her opinion, and when to back off. I am grateful (the choked-up kind) this amazing woman likes and loves me enough to be my forever friend.

If you have children, what are some things you hope your children take from you, whether you think they’re listening or not?

That every relationship is in truth a relationship with self. The bubbly barista who remembers your double-expresso order is a relationship, and so too are the interactions with the ever-annoying coworker, the neighbor who shares veggies from his garden, the sister who answers your calls at 12 p.m. and 12 a.m., the clingy ex-boyfriend, the perfect new girlfriend, the salty-yet-sweet old friend, and on and on. It’s all relationship, and it’s being had with self. I hope my children are listening when I say, “Please, choose to be good to you.”

Tickets on sale now!

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