Something Good Happened Today

Something good happened today. Something good happens every day, but this good thing arrived to me in an email early this morning, while I was not yet completely awake. It’s an opportunity that I’m trying to make for myself, and it will be a fun “try” regardless of outcome.

All my life I’ve enjoyed writing, like so many of my friends - you know who you are. And it’s a fact that anyone who enjoys writing is also fond of reading. I suppose I should clarify that to say that most writers enjoy reading, and that it’s a fact that reading a lot helps our ability to write.

In my high school years I really enjoyed a diverse assortment, everything from Southern authors to science fiction to the classics. I have given away a lot of my old books from those days, but still on the shelves at my parents’ house is a good number of sci-fi stuff from Asimov, Zelazny, Cherryh, and Heinlein. Those books are in good company with biographies on Boone and Crockett, military-style things like All Quiet on the Western Front, and a pure assortment covering the old west, ghost stories, football heroes, Confederate soldiers, Shakespeare, and those condensed books that Reader’s Digest used to put out. My Memaw gave those to me, and it was in one of them that I first read the Earl Hamner story that would later become The Waltons. I just loved that story about Clayboy and his family and all of the rural, Southern drama of Spencer’s Mountain. There is a difference between the book and the TV show, by the way, and the book is worth a read.

While I’ve continued to read a little of everything (right now on my nightstand is an old Zelazny paperback, the autobiography of the Red Baron, Alice in Wonderland, and a new, weird book of short stories I grabbed off the discount stack), I’ve never abandoned the Southern stories that once seemed antiquated. These days I still enjoy Eudora Welty and William Faulkner, and they are also on that crowded nightstand. Just a few days ago, re-reading a book of shorts by Flannery O’Connor, I experienced that strange pain that A Good Man is Hard to Find always causes. With my favorites I’m given strong characters and well written stories. Simply enough, good writing continues to impress audiences, and some stories (and authors) are timeless.

So, here’s my good news. A couple weeks ago I applied to include myself as an Airbnb experience here in Nashville, and this morning my application was approved. An Airbnb experience is something like a tour guide, entertaining people in different ways. In Nashville you’ll see everything from history walks, pizza cooking, pub crawls, painting classes, wine tasting, and so forth. To be included requires an application and a process where you convince them that you can offer an “expert” experience. While I was optimistic, I wasn’t certain that I would be accepted, so it was great to get that email.

For my experience, I will be offering two-hour classes in which we discuss Southern literature, such as Welty, Faulkner, McCullers, and the Fugitives. We will discuss themes, context, character development, types of editing, costs, and concepts. Alongside and during that “class” we will be writing short stories. The group will decide whether to write individual stories or - as in the case of a group here for a bachelorette party - whether they want to write just one story, perhaps with the bride as a protagonist. Regardless of what is written, we will turn that into a short story and get it cleaned up, edited, formatted, and we will craft a nice cover for it. Then, it will be self-published to Amazon as an ebook, either under my name, or theirs - whatever is their preference.

A couple months ago I read an article about all the brides-to-be and their entourages coming down South to Nashville for parties, and how so many were looking to do something beyond the beer-enabled pedal cars downtown. Those have become so popular in downtown Nashville that the ladies riding them are called “woo-hoo girls” by the locals, a play off of what we hear from them as they ride along the streets listening to country music with a rap beat. That looks like fun but, personally, I’m off to find out whether there’s still a place for Phoenix Jackson and the Misfit. Hoping for success, not afraid of failure. Y’all hide and watch.


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