Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

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 yard...so 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 intentional...it'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 ago.  

I once co-owned an art gallery, Best Friends Gallery (Same story with the "missing" apostrophe...it 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.  I hope it was enough to entice you to visit Monroeville...and if you do, plan to make a trip to Bay Minette to visit Best Friends Gallery.  Tell Debbie I sent you!

Thanks for spending some time with me today!  I appreciate it.


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