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Jamie Sims Coakley



If you had no fear, what would you create?

  I spent my early childhood years living alongside the Buffalo River in Northwest Arkansas without television or neighbors.  Those long, formative hours spent exploring the wild river and peaceful forests which surrounded it, set in motion a way of looking at the world that would later inform me as a storyteller.  Alone in nature early in life, and then moving frequently throughout my adolescence, I cultivated my writer’s sensibilities, carefully observing everything about the world around me and the people who populated it.  WhenI was twelve years old, my aunt gave me a journal with the gentle instructions to “write about it” and I have been writing about it, ever since. As a multidisciplinary artist, writing has taken many forms over the years, as music, movies, mixed media art projects, and now, novels.  Regardless of form, my underlying desire to connect with and inspire others through storytelling has been my constant companion and greatest love.


Jamie is a storyteller with over twenty years of experience, first as a songwriter, then as a filmmaker and now, as a novelist. Jamie’s writing has been published in Tablet Magazine and she was honored to spend April of 2022 as artist in residence at the historic Beard And Lady Inn, Chester Arkansas.  She is currently in the process of publishing her debut climate fiction novel FREEHAND 2173 and is working on her second novel inspired by Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Childhood memories are like pages dog eared, only part of the story.  Warm strawberries picked fresh from the vine, sweet on your tongue.  Summer waters singing low across algae’d river bottoms.  Howling coyotes, distant through the trees at sunset.  Picturesque as these snapshots may be, they are incomplete stories. Childhood is full of golden hour drenched images juxtaposed with things less easy to understand.  Messy, chaotic, unnatural, human things. Weaknesses. Backbeats. Violence. Regrets. Lack. Loss, and sorrow. It is amongst all of these things where my world was birthed. Among the valleys of nature clashing with the mountains of man. Here is where I would learn and unlearn what it means to be human. All powerful and full of vulnerability. Part of and separate from everything. Fires burning, torrential downpours drenching our duality manifest.  Ask me why I write? Why I tell stories? What good is all the trouble? To write is to try as best one might, through meticulous observation, to remember the truths known and forgotten. Seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, grasping for the knowledge swept away with a wave of man’s hand and a whisper on the autumn breeze. 

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