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From the Director - November/December 2012

Dear Friends,

Recently and most assuredly by accident, I was asked to be a member of a writer’s group. Maybe it’s because I read a lot, and the person thought I’d add something by the way of literary criticism. Maybe it’s because I work for an organization that has knowledge of the publishing industry, and the group was hoping I’d have some inside favors to call in. Or, perhaps, and this is a stretch, the invite was a result of the fine writing that goes into this column every other month. Uh, right. But whatever the reason, Delia, Mary Jane, Irene, Lucie, Rachel and Carla have welcomed me warmly. And they expect me to contribute. Which means I have to write something. Monthly. What did I sign up to do exactly?

The truth is, we all have stories inside of us, waiting to be told. Bruce Coville, children’s book writer supreme, once said there is only one difference between him, an author, and folks who
have ideas for stories: Butt Glue. He said this to a group of 4th graders so he was surely playing to their love of potty humor. But he went on to explain that to write, you have to be still for long periods, thinking, writing and rewriting, even when it becomes painful. Sticking your bottom to a chair may be the go-to trick some writer’s use, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Some just lack the skill required to get those stories out in a coherent, compelling way. We read something that moves us, that says what we’re thinking and feeling, and it seems so simple. But readers and especially writers know it’s not just the you-know-what glue that makes an author.

In today’s digital world, one could argue we have a proliferation of “authors.” It’s certainly easier to connect writers to readers. Whether it’s blogging, long form writing or serials, there’s a virtual space for all kinds of authors. But one thing that this writers group has already taught me is that there is tremendous talent right here in the Midlands of South Carolina. That is one of the reasons we started a local writers collection at our Main Library. It’s small right now, but the goal is to highlight local writers who are either self-published or published by smaller publishing houses. You won’t find Pat Conroy in this collection (search the catalog for the subject South Carolina Fiction) but you will find local writers who have their work in print. We’re proud of the start we’ve made to showcase local talent. Watch for this collection to grow and look for work by an author you may know!

If you’re reading this well-crafted letter right now and wondering “How can I get MY work in the library?,” just email ndail@myRCPL.com. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to write but don’t know where to start? We have a long list of books to help with that, too. Or, you can accidentally join a (serious) writers group like I did, surround yourself with amazing and intimidating talent, and get put on the “hot seat” once a month. Now that’s what I call motivation!

Melanie

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