Some things are just worth the effort. Regardless of the early hours and long days I have been putting in, I left my house at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning and headed east. I drove for three and a half hours, and spent most of that time alternating between being awestruck at the beautiful sunrise, smiling at the landscape and giggling at some of the names I encountered. Where else but the South can you cross over Bee Bayou, or travel through and around towns like Tallulah and Vidalia? As I drove, I passed the proud remains of some of our Southern Plantations. Tallulah has a stunning display of American flags, standing proudly in a row along the highway, right next to a bayou that runs through the town. Round hay bales lined another section of road, as if sentinels guarding a castle. And cotton fields stretched clear to the horizon, with their unique aromatic elixir of raw earth, fresh green and the tangy blend of fertilizer and pesticide floating in the air. I know it won’t be long before the green will turn into a snowy white winter land.
Destination: Lake Providence, Louisiana. To the Louisiana Cotton Museum, and The All Things Southern Writers Workshop, hosted by two wonderful and beautiful women – Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Judy Christie.
I am a strong advocate in learning. The more you learn, the stronger you become and the further life will take you. It’s the way you stretch your wings and gain loftier heights. In this workshop, I not only learned a few new things, but also got a refresher course on others. There was quite a bit of head-nodding, note taking and discussion, perfectly blended with some laughter and more than a few ‘Ah Ha’ moments. The icing on the cake was being able to meet other wonderful people who have many of the same struggles, successes and deep love for writing that I have. And hopefully, my wings will take me a bit higher and a bit further in my writing, without losing too many feathers along the way.
For those of you who are readers, I strongly recommend the books Judy and Shellie have written. They are great writers – Judy writes both fiction and non-fiction, and her Green series perfectly captures life in a small southern town. Shellie writes non-fiction, with two of them the greatest examples of growing up in the South. I mean, how can you get more Southern than titles like “Suck In Your Stomach and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that The Rest of Y’all Should Know, Too”.
The beauty of their discussions in the workshop and in their writing is the deep faith they have that shines through. It is a joy to know others who share an abiding love for Jesus Christ. It just gives your heart a lift, you know?
Regardless of your passion – whether you are a writer, a farmer, a black smith or a chef, take the time to learn more. Attend workshops. Gather together with like-minded people. Read books. Take the time to share your own journey with others who can learn from you. Listen to others who can give you a new perspective on an old method.
Stretch your wings and fly. It really is well worth the effort.
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Thank you, Shellie and Judy, for presenting such a great workshop. I hope others are offered in the near future!
For more information on Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Judy Christie, visit their websites, blogs and Facebook pages at: