Southern Writers Symposium Reading

Yesterday, I attended the Southern Writers Symposium at Methodist University, where I also teach English courses. I read from Matters of Record, spoke on a publishing panel, taught a workshop, and consulted with writers one-on-one about their work. I enjoyed every part of the day’s events, but I most enjoyed meeting new writers and readers.

A group of high school students were in attendance this year, and one of their teachers bought Matters of Record and was taken with Helen Fowler’s poem and story. She’d already begun researching Helen there at the symposium. Just reaching one reader and shining a light on these women’s stories was all I needed for the day. She plans to teach from Matters of Record, and I offered to come and speak with her students.

I also taught a workshop, Writing from Memory, and heard participants create real gems in just an hour of writing. Their courage to share new writing with complete strangers reminded me again of the power to connect through writing.

New opportunities, knowledge, and people filled the day for me. Writing is such a solitary task that when we get to engage about our work with others, it is truly rejuvenating.

Today, I’ll attend a poetry reading for two dear friends, Shannon Ward and Celeste Doaks. More writers, more community, more inspiration.

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