Sunday, June 22, 2014

Howdy from Kentucky!

What does a Catholic writers' literary pilgrimage to the south look like? In the next few blog posts, I will attempt to share some of the spirit of our road trip with ya'll. 

Two northerners from Wisconsin drove down yesterday and arrived in Springfield, Kentucky, to meet up with our North Dakota friend and a southern belle. Most of us had never seen each other in person before, having met through an online group, and so it was wonderful to finally give hugs all around and see each other face to face.

We gathered in the kitchen as our very own Beth Dotson Brown cooked a delicious meal for us from homegrown fresh vegetables. Beth loves to cook and I must say we were spoiled with her generosity!

 After our meal, we took a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood.

The historic downtown is lined with old fashioned barbershops, attorney offices, judicial buildings and statues of Abraham Lincoln. It is like stepping back into the 1800s.

Finally, we ended up at this outdoor patio restaurant where we talked about writing and our travels (two of my favorites subjects!) over wine, and I was inspired to dream big. I think we all were encouraged by being in each other's company.

People are so friendly here! I believe it must have something to do with all the front porches and rocking chairs that bring out the friendliness in people. Unlike us northerners who have decks in the back of the house, here neighbors sit outside watching the world go by.

As the four of us walked up the hill on High Street, some folks sitting on their front porch wicker chairs greeted us and called out, “You’re walking fast for going uphill!” Ha! Yes, that's why I love the south. Always reminding me to slow down and smell the roses! 

...which is how we spent this very evening...

From the porch swing, Roxane reads aloud to us excerpts from The Habit of Being, the collected, personal letters of Flannery O’Connor. I have my journal open in my lap for writing, and Karen rocks in her chair with her Kindle open to reading The Habit of Being. It is in these letters that we have gotten to know and admire Flannery; for she's a bold writer, fiercely witty, devoutly Catholic, peculiar about peacocks, and she's dying of lupus yet making the most out of her life with a deep sense of purpose and passion.

As it grows darker, fireflies dance and light up the night around us, until I decide it is time to go in; and then a few hours later, after writing, it is finally time to go to bed.

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