Sunday, April 1, 2012

Books, Writers and Poems on My Mind Today


Blue Ridge, GA covered in fog on Saturday morning
Having had such a stimulating weekend at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge, GA, I can't settle on one subject to write on today. I'll just mention a few ideas, books, people, and moments that grab me.

1. Rick Bragg's essay in Southern Living. In the very back of the magazine (the present issue is not online yet) he writes a column called Southern Journal. Some of you know that I have strong feelings about saying thank you. Rick, spurred on by his wife to express his gratitude with thank you notes, sent letters to Mr. Airline Executive, Mr. Fancy Restaurant Owner, and my favorite, Mr. Satellite Television Service Operator. Rick is one of my favorite authors. If you like southern literature by a Pulitzer prize-winning writer, find his books and begin reading. And if you have ever had a gripe with the airlines, a restaurant, television service or computer and Internet service, you might want to read Rick's letters in the April 2012 Southern Living magazine.

2. A book called Writing in Style by Bobbie Christmas, writer and editor for more than 30 years. She not only answers questions about grammar, but her advice is current, 21st Century. She incorporates contemporary technology. 

3. A Memoir: Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler whom I met Saturday at the Writers Conference. I attended both her sessions and found Jessica who lives in Atlanta, to be extremely knowledgeable about writing. She teaches Creative Writing and hopefully we can host her at Writers Circle soon. Her story is about losing both her little sisters from illness, and growing up the only surviving child in a family torn apart by devastating loss. I have only had time to skim the book, but I feel it will help me make decisions of what I need to include in my own memoir which I continue to write. A writing exercise in class became an Aha Moment for me.

4. My Grandfather's Hands, poem from Scott Owens' book, For One Who Knows How to Own Land. I was immediately in love with Paternity, the first of Scott's books that I ordered, and I feel that way about this new book, but in a different way. One poem is so graphic, Slaughter, that it was hard to read, but the poem about his farmer grandfather's hands takes me back to my roots, to my father's hands. I studied Daddy's hands when he didn't know. Burned by sun, so brown they didn't seem to belong to his white arms beneath his shirt sleeves, his nails that never could be completely clean, and the south Georgia dirt that embedded the cracks in his fingers -- I could see them in Scott's poem.

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