Author Expo ~Gadsden, Alabama

Put something on the calendar, and I’m sure not to do it. But, isn’t life about stepping out of your comfort zone? Being somewhat reclusive and shy (although those who know me well roll their eyes and mumble just beneath their breath “whatever”) it is often difficult for me to participate in an event where I am expected to be verbally outgoing and open.

Writing it is one thing, doing it another.
The quiet folks know what I mean. You are just so “exposed” when you are right there in front of others….talking.  What I didn’t anticipate from this social engagement was – well, any of what actually took place. Allow me to explain.

This year, Gadsden Public Library hosted the Alabama Library Association Annual Convention. Being a hometown girl, I was graciously extended an invitation. This in itself garnered a smile. But, the idea of an Author Expo which is hosting 32 Alabama authors, companies from across the country -who graciously sponsor the authors -and more than 500 librarians, was enough to make me hesitate and then take two steps back. That is a lot of people! And yet, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that deep down, I absolutely couldn’t wait to attend. After all, I would be surrounded by people like me –writers and readers who eat, breathe and live for a love of words!

 

Arriving early, I had to smirk and acknowledge a blonde moment; I eyed the jam packed parking lots and wondered how many blocks I’d be walking in heels, carrying a heavy box of books. So THAT is why it was so important for my assistant to meet me when I arrived! I noted the city’s kelly green trolley car shuttling folks to and from the event.

 

Gadsden was going all-out and it filled me with a deep sense of pride!

 

This year’s theme for the convention is “Libraries ImPOSSIBLE” and it is improbable that anyone will leave displeased. There are a list of events sure to draw a crowd and delight everyone who attends. For example, the Reception Block Party downtown on Broad Street with live jazz and a performance of Imperial Opa. Tuesday night, out-of-towners joined the regulars for our Literary Pub Crawl where those who gather get to sample the amazing beer at Back 40 Beer Company and discuss a particular literary great before strolling over to Blackstone Pub & Eatery to continue the fun.

 

Then today, Wednesday, filled with bestseller speakers and the Books-A-Million Author Expo at 210 at the Tracks.  I arrive and find the place packed. The vibe is amazing –beautiful bare bulbs sneak down from the blacked-out high ceiling. Music of the Etowah Youth Orchestra fills the air and already I can smell something spicy and….could it be chocolate wafting from the back reception area? Harp & Clover, Gadsden’s newest, trendiest –swankiest even – Irish Pub, located within walking distance over on Court Street, has catered the event. I also notice that folks are meandering about with food in hand; several sipping wine and a few others cold beer. My assistant, Megan, and I introduce ourselves to our sponsor, set up books, arrange seating and head to the reception area to fill a plate and find a table.

 

Neither of us it seems knew exactly what to expect. I’d wondered at the necessity of an assistant but after we sat and caught up on senior life at SHS (my old alma mater as well) a swarm of readers buzzed about, and time began to fly. We would pause, talk, laugh and share stories with these women –some from Alabama, others from across the country -before they moved on to another author; then another swarm would alight. And so flowed the events of the night.

 

I found in collecting my things afterward that, while I was light on books to carry back to the car, I was filled with stories, their stories. I couldn’t help but smile. It was a wonderful thing to have a woman point out something in particular that spoke to her from the memoir and then share with me a story of her own. Other than the Russian from NY and our friendly Spaniard, Tito, who would wander over between signings to discuss culture, tradition, family –most of my readers were women and I was delighted because the book was written for US, after all.

 

Just two cobblestone blocks away, I wrap up my evening with a Guinness at Harp & Clover and chat up my dear friend Dee as he moves back and forth through the establishment, deftly working the crowd. Such an exquisite end to a most enjoyable evening. From now on, all of my pub crawls in Gadsden, Alabama will end right here! I recommend the Dubliner, a burger topped with “house-made bacon jam & Cahill’s whiskey infused cheese” and of course the Bread Pudding.

 

*And, I do believe I’ve just claimed a new place to hide away and write…the little niche in the back corner should do nicely.

Thank you –Amanda Jackson and Carol Roark Wright with Gadsden Public Library, and also Megan Potts, my assistant, for a wonderful evening!
Already I’m looking forward to the next Writer’s Expo in Huntsville and Chattanooga. And, Megan, I’m going to hold you to the agreement to go sight-seeing, history hunting and helping with book sales.

The only way to find –is to seek.
Nothing worth having just happens; you have to go looking for it!

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*****

 

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

Join me and other Birmingham Bloggers! http://www.bhambloggers.com/

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…And, so, I find myself standing under the eaves of some back street, wet, caught between the easy banter of old men.

GreenwichVillageStreet

Some Things Are Just Different Up Here

A Waiting Time

Waiting.

Never is it an easy thing for me.  Yet some of the best things in life require a waiting time- Pecorino Romano, Brioche, wine, beer, Blanton’s…  Yet these are things to be looked forward to, and therefore the wait is different; anticipation tempers.

Currently, I am waiting for the heat to break, the weather to change.  I am waiting for a long, slow soaking rain that lasts all day and into the night.  I want to hear the constant roll of thunder and the soil so sodden that it is feels like mush beneath my feet.  You see, in the South we are on the verge of a possible drought; the ground in my back yard is so dry and cracked it resembles an ancient map.

When did I begin waiting for summer to end?  When I was a child that was definitely not the case.  I had mourned its nearing end and tried to stretch those last few days out as far and as long as I could.

I have friends who are waiting too -for other things.  And I wonder, is it really wise to spend our days this way?  What if yesterday was as good as it was going to get and we let it slip by while we were lost in want?  Goes back to what my mother used to say about working on something you can be proud of while fitting in a few things you enjoy, here and there.  “Makes the day worthwhile,” she would smile and say.  Being hopeful is essential of course, but taking action is as well.

Maybe that’s why my summer projects overlap –because I can’t stand the in-between time.  My moments of deep languid thought must come quickly, before I remember something else that needs immediate attention.  There is this irritating necessity to be active.  I tried meditating but I’m pretty sure it is not supposed to be a painful experience.  So, I tell myself that when I am busy, my mind gets the same sense of peace and I’ve something to show for it.

I am waiting, too, on a visit from Isaac that isn’t coming anytime soon.

Recently, I’ve found myself padding an empty nest.  Whenever I heard women speak of this in the past, I always shrugged and thought, Whatever! I am so busy, how could I complain over peace and quiet?  Let me tell you, the first few weeks are a miserable thing to experience.  I went through it to a degree when my daughter Anderson moved out at the young age of 17.  But, her brother, Isaac was here to buffer that gaping hole her leaving created.  He recently left for Troy University.  And here I am, a momma without any chicks to tend.

Reminding myself I now have time to write, I gather my journals and scraps of papers (I’ve a tendency to make notes on the back of envelopes and receipts) and put Madeleine Peyroux on the hi-fi.  The joy this brings works like a charm.  (There is background noise of ice tinkling in a highball glass, the smell of a glorious amber liquid.)  Memories join me and I begin rummaging through my old journals until I find the recollection there in writing.

I read it again.  It takes me back.  And, I smile.

Perhaps, there is nothing more detrimental, and yet necessary, to a woman’s heart than nostalgia.

Taken from a journal so many years ago:

 

     And So It Goes…

   Again

     the winds call out,

     tugging and tempting with their persuasion,

     to steal the beckoning sounds of a nearby farm-

     distressed cadence,

     of cows seeking some comfort, the drone of equipment where a

     worker labors his heart for home. The winds lift them,

     float them upward,

     where they sing pleasantly upon my ears.

     Place and rationale are easily forgotten;

     engulfed in the warm blushes of sun and wind,

     I stand languid in luxuries most pure

     as the mind drifts off with daydreams.

 

   Distant, sharpening booms ring out

     so suddenly close upon the ears,

     full of meaning and clarity-

     startling, and yet expected.

     Poor dove,

     how hopelessly he zigzags across open fields,

     pursuing sanction in oaks that

     alas, he will not reach.

     And so it goes

     that the young bond with the old,

     the heart becomes one with the land

     and the boy, through some strange passage,

     is likened to the man.

 

   With gaze seized upward,

     I eye the not quiet green of the oak.

     Harken the crackling dryness of leaves as a wind’s rustling therein

     makes known their age!

     They are ever slowly losing luster, yet refuse

     release –like the mother,

     observing childhood’s nearing end, stands fast

     and clutches to bosom what cannot remain.

     It is a time of between

     as nature, in her ancient copious melee,

     dances betwixt seasons, hesitant in relinquishing

     summer’s sweet hold,

     even as the glowing across the field grows dim.

 

   With emotions sewn

     tight –interwoven

     like virgin woolen thread

     unacquainted with fuller’s earth, unready

     for the cast of dye, unreceptive

     even for salty baptism in a lathered, timeless ocean-

     I stand and watch

     the fields receive their dusting from heaven.

     For there,

     out in the wide unbroken expanse of godly land,

     that is not the drifting of weary leaves

     seeking to rest their breadth upon warmed soil,

     but rather the drifting of gentle down.

Elizabeth Mozley McGrady.  Isaac’s First Dove Hunt, September 11, 2004

* Poem from WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir.

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

small-photo-of-book-we-share-same-sky

Well hello, y’all!

Introductions?

I’ve never been much on introducing myself, and yes, that is strange for a Southerner. I blame in on my Yankee grandfather –a New Yorker. I’m teasing. Northerners are just as gracious as Southerners; they just don’t talk for hours to people standing in line beside them whom they have never laid eyes on before.

So here goes! The basics -I am a writer, teacher, wife, mother, and grandmother. For me, family is everything. I love the South, the outdoors, big cities, old town squares, family get-togethers, cooking/eating and drinking. I’m a tomboyish type who has an affinity for lipstick and cowboy boots. I carry a backpack with books in it wherever I go.

And, I’m an introvert.

So, why does an introvert want to blog…?

Until this last January, when We Share the Same Sky was published, my use of technology amounted to a sprinkling at best. I am just not a technology person -I still own a flip phone and I will mourn when it no longer works and I am forced to upgrade. When I first got it, I referred to it as “the leash” and I left it in my car all day in the console. Now if I get out of the drive without it, I must return to the house and retrieve it at once. I’ve also recently become involved with an iPad. We are now inseparable as well. Slowly, I’ve become friendly with the hook! However, the use of technology to this point was still deeply one-sided. The publication of the memoir changed all that, albeit slowly. After setting up a Facebook page for the book, I began interacting with old friends on my personal account. I then created a Linkedin and Twitter account where I’ve met scores of folks who are constantly asking if I’ll start a blog. Who knew an independent excursion to New York City and the making of a memoir would be the things that pulled me from my shell?!

What types of posts are to be expected? Anything and everything –be it journaling, fishing, cooking, poetry, hiking, restaurants/breweries or family escapades.

Randomness is something I’ve truly perfected.

 

Elizabeth Mozley McGrady

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir.

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethmcgrady

small-photo-of-book-we-share-same-sky me and poppy mellow mushroom