I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Friday, October 29, 2010

Write From the Soul

       Have you ever gone on a trip and found that it far exceeded your expectations?

       Then you'll understand when I say that my journey to Charleston, SC  last weekend to research and talk with family and friends of the late Philip Simmons (my picture book subject) was extraordinary.

I had several interviews prearranged, but the individuals I hoped to speak with were more of the if-I-have-time-I'll-meet-you or-catch-them-on-the-run variety.

They all had time.

I caught all of them on the run.

And everyone was gracious, and open, and willing to share their memories and stories with me.

Now I feel like I have a complete understanding of this wonderful and beloved man.

He was:
an observer,
a giver to all,
a cornerstone of his church and his community,
adored all children,
a man who appreciated everything in life,
and proud of his skills and craft.

I'm totally loving the writing of this manuscript! After my eye-opening Charleston trip, I have completely revamped the book. Now it feels genuine to me.

And I thank everyone (especially Rossie, Mrs. Gilliam, Ron, and Ronnie) in Charleston, including the people we met on the street who claimed Philip Simmons as a cousin, for making me feel a part of his incredible life journey.

And a special thank you to my good friend Laura who willingly drove me to Charleston with no agenda other than helping me take pictures and notes on every conversation.
Love you all!

Here's a picture of just one of Philip Simmons's gates called "The Olympic Gate." It's located in The Atlanta History Center, Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South exhibition.


  1. What an interesting picture book topic! I hope it gets published because I want to read all about him and his work!

  2. How great that you got to see everyone you needed/wanted to! Sounds like a fabulous trip. :) Good luck with the book!