Last weekend, people came from across the Southeast to attend the annual Southern Christian Writers’ Conference in Birmingham. As you know from college football, the Southeast can now stretch from Texas through the Carolinas.
The event is two days of workshops, inspiration, worship, writing competitions, prizes, seeing old friends and making new ones. This was my fourth time to participate in the conference, either in person or virtually.
I was humbled by the honor of speaking to the entire group during the opening session. I shared my journey with them of how I became a writer of books, newspaper columns and magazine articles. The treat of the day was getting to hear humorist and author Sean Dietrich, also known as Sean of the South.
One of the privileges of the weekend was displaying and selling my books in one of the two authors’ book rooms. I enjoyed seeing and meeting all the people the most. I especially enjoyed meeting fellow-author Mike Rogers, with whom I shared a book table.
People are also reading…
His business card said he was from Gadsden. That immediately got my attention because I lived in the Gadsden area (Rainbow City) back in the 90s. Then, I found out that he had lived in Memphis, where I also had lived after I left Rainbow City.
As we talked, I asked him where in Gadsden he lived. That’s when I discovered that his business card was an old one, and that he actually doesn’t live in Gadsden any more. When he asked me where I lived now, and I told him Opelika, a big smile spread across his face. He said, “Me too!”
I thought he must be kidding. How funny that I’m sitting right beside a guy whom I’ve never met, and we’ve lived in the same three cities, sometimes at the same time.
I asked him where he lives in Opelika. He replied, “Do you know where Morris Avenue is?” I answered, “Yes sir, I sure do. Morris Avenue is about a mile from my house!” I thought how ironic, and what a small world this is. I laughed as I realized that we had never met in Gadsden or Memphis, where we both had lived, or in Opelika where we both live now. We met in another city, two hours from home.
My final surprise and honor came at the close of the conference. Each year, writers are invited to submit their published works they have written during the previous year in a writers’ competition. For the third year in a row, one of my columns was chosen for a top award. This year, I took home third place in the newspaper column category for my piece titled, “Something Ugly Can Become Something Beautiful.” In case you didn’t read that one, it was not about me!
Then, they closed out the event with a drawing for door prizes. I won a bag filled with a half-dozen wonderful devotionals…for women. One of my fellow writers had donated them. Even though I’m not a woman, I do plan to read some of them, but the great thing is my wedding anniversary is next week. I now have six gifts for Jean!
Bill King is a minister, author, singer/songwriter, and performs humor as Bro. Billy Bob Bohannon (www.brobillybob.com). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.