Homesick After SFB


Someone – one of those wonderful “former” members of the Nashville Writers Alliance who came back to attend our panel at the Southern Festival of Books – expressed the feeling about leaving everyone after the weekend.  He said he was homesick. I think it was Mike Coleman, but we all felt it, not just those of you who came to Nashville for our gathering and then went home.  The weekend was a time for reminiscing and sharing and connecting in a way that is hard to explain to anyone who has not been part of our writers group.  The e-mails that have been flying back and forth keep saying the same thing: This was a group that has been hard for any of us to replicate in any other part of our lives.

So even though I am still in Nashville and am still a part of the writers group, and I love all the members who still meet every Tuesday night, I am homesick for the “old” members, too.  (I’ll get in big trouble for that particular adjective.) The good news is that our present members have a special bond, too. I would not know what to do with myself on Tuesday nights if I couldn’t go to writers group.


My day job is teaching English. Since 2002 I have served on the English faculty at Nashville State Community College, where I have taught courses in composition, literature, and creative writing. I am editor of the literary magazine, Tetrahedra. I earned my B.S. in Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and received my M.A. in English from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, where the graduate program offered both creative thesis and scholarly thesis options. I submitted a creative thesis, a 90-page collection of stories entitled Listen to Me. Most of the stories have been published in literary journals and/or have received awards. My writing career spans three decades. My history of publication includes both fiction and nonfiction. I have published two novels and more than thirty stories and articles in literary journals, anthologies, and magazines. It was an honor for me when one of my stories appeared in HomeWorks in 1996. The anthology was a collection of works by Tennessee writers living at that time, including Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Peter Taylor. The highlight of my writing career occurred when I received the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Award in Fiction for 2006. Other writing achievements include the Leslie Garrett Fiction Prize awarded by the Knoxville Writers Guild, Tennessee Writers Alliance Short Story First Place Award, and the North Carolina Writers’ Workshop First Place Award in Creative Nonfiction. In 2005, I received a Pushcart nomination for my story, “Primates,” which was published in Bellevue Literary Review. My most recent award came from the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, the 2008 Creative Nonfiction First Place Award for my essay, “In the Car with Mother on Christmas Eve.” I am a founding member of the Tennessee Writers Alliance and served on its Board of Directors for ten years, including two terms as president and one as chair of the Board.

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