A Thousand Words
I want to share with you, dear readers, what may prove to be the most tangible measure that I have done a bit of what I set out two years ago to do: to bring together and share with whomever would come, words and images--of where I live, of where my heart is. And I have to confess, when this uncertain trek began, I knew much less than now of both of these. It has been a difficult and wonderful two years.
Three weeks ago, and only a week before the deadline for submitting proposals, I learned that this year, the Appalachian Studies Association annual conference is going to be at Radford University, where I am now teaching. Not having been to any of these meetings, I had no idea of the scholarly tone of the event; but I did read in the announcement that it would include, among many other scholarly topics, poetry, writing and photography with Appalachian-relevant subject matter. And so I submitted a proposal and abstract.
It has been accepted. And not only that, but instead of the 15 minute slot I'd hoped for, I'll be sharing an hour with a painter who will (if I'm understanding this correctly) be talking about the creative process in the southern mountains, illustrated with some of his paintings. As a companion segment, I will be presenting "an illustrated personal reflection on place and belonging. This vignette of contemporary mountain living will focus on the everyday beauties of the quiet Blue Ridge valley that has become our home. This short photo-narrative will be drawn both from personal writing in this exploration of place and from digital images from my collection--most from within a short walk of our 130-year-old farmhouse."
I am delighted. And terrified. But at least the conference is not until March.
Sometimes you must step out in faith that when the day comes, you'll be able to deliver what you've promised-- even when that seems to be more than you're capable of. This is one of those times. I'll be happy for your companionship as I begin to put my thoughts (and images) together. I am very thankful for this opportunity to share, and thank you, readers, for giving me reason to say and show over the past two years what will soon become the substance of this illustrated memoir--"a case study in seeking, finding and celebrating a mid-life discovery of place."