Friday, February 19, 2016

Harper Lee is Gone

The leading news story this morning was about the death of Harper Lee.  Even though she wasn't big on the celeb thing and doing interviews, it was special just knowing she was there in Monroeville, right up the road a's going to be different now.  What she did for humanity, the lessons she taught us, in that one little book was---is---so BIG.  May she rest in peace.

I thought I would share my experience with an event that was spun off from the existence of the book, or "Mockingbird" as everyone calls it-The Alabama Writers Symposium, a celebration of writers from our great state. This was a blog post from several years ago...

Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville

It's almost April, and I was reminded of a wonderful event that we have
each year, in April, right here in my own back I wanted to share
it with you.  We are so very fortunate to live just a short distance from
Monroeville, Alabama, home of writers Harper Lee and Truman Capote.
Each year, Alabama Southern Community College hosts The Alabama
Writers Symposium (the lack of an apostrophe in "writers"is's about the writers, not owned by them), an event that brings together many Alabama writers and readers for a weekend of lectures,
readings, discussions, art and a portrayal of the famous and still popular
book, To Kill a Mockingbird.   It's unlike any event I've ever attended. 
As you read this, the tickets are most probably just about sold out, if not
already...if you want to go, try to get tickets today; if they are gone, put it
on your calendar for a "must see" next year.  The brochure, outlining the
schedule of events and ticket options can be found and downloaded here 
on the college website. Dates are Thursday, April 24-Saturday, April 26.

The play is a highlight of the weekend...Local individuals are the actors,
some of whom have portrayed several different characters as they've
grown up.  The stage is a collection of stick-built backdrops, miniature
buildings such as homes with porches, that were constructed outside,
behind the old courthouse.  The play begins there...

...then moves inside to the courtroom where it continues.  It is so "real"
that you will get goosebumps, and that's a promise. I encourage anyone
who can make the trip to go, and plan to stay the entire weekend.  It is
even worth a drive across the country!  Just go see...You will be glad
you did.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about my experience there a few years

I once co-owned an art gallery, Best Friends Gallery (Same story
with the "missing" was meant to be a gathering place
for new best friends, and about friendship, not about ownership at all...),
located in Bay Minette.   Anyway, the art director of the college, 
Susan Brown, visited our gallery one Saturday, and asked if we would
like to be the featured gallery at the art show that was a part of
the Writers Symposium each year.  Well, of course we did!  It was an
experience that I will never forget, and I loved every minute of it.  I met
some well known writers, such as Winston Groom, Watt Key, Tom Franklin,
Mark Childress, and William Cobb (even had breakfast at the table with Mr.
Cobb in our motel lobby!), and purchased autographed books...We attended
many wonderful events during the weekend, were treated like royalty during
our entire stay...and, we gained a new friend in Susan!  We absolutely
loved showing the work of our artists, and were so proud of the collection
of work that we were able to bring.

Here are some pictures of the art show.

I actually purchased the cows above...

I hope you enjoyed that quick little tour of the show...for me, a trip down
memory lane.  I think looking back on it, I'm even more proud of it now than
I was then.  We have some extremely talented artists and writers, right
here in Alabama!  

And, here are more pictures of the inside of the courthouse, which is
now a museum dedicated to the book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Well, that's it for my Monroeville memories. 

And, here's the painting that I was inspired to paint shortly after this event.
It hangs in my house as a reminder of "Mockingbird" and Monroeville.  

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