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I will be addressing an annual writers’ gathering at the Huntsville Country Club Thursday night, and I can’t wait to hear what I’ll have to say.

Yep, it is an interesting phenomenon, this out-of-town expert thing. Here in Birmingham, I am your average obscure author, hardly known outside an erratic circle of acquaintances, readers and friends. But take me fifty miles out of town in any direction, and I suddenly become a small-time celebrity to unsuspecting audiences.

This is kind of nice, when I think about it. In the City, I can hide out behind the doors of Reed Books, plying my trade, engaging with customers, going home to my quiet life after hours, primarily unmolested, hopefully un-annoying to others.

But place me before an audience and I suddenly have license to pontificate on all kinds of ideas and subjects…and, unlike real day-to-life, I am actually listened to! People even take notes. Some folks approach me afterwards, asking my opinion and obtaining my autograph. And through it all, I always wonder, “What in the world makes me seem important to others for an hour? Why me?”

The wonderful thing about all this is that I truly enjoy my exchanges with audiences. For just a while, they become my students, I become their teacher or vizier. I learn from them, they take something of me with them, however fleeting.

So…what do I say to an unsuspecting audience?

Maybe I’ll explain my ideas on how a truly dedicated writer interacts with an inner voice. I might say something like, “A writer doesn’t say, ‘Oh, no, what terrible thing is about to happen?’ Instead, a writer doesn’t anticipate and instead says, ‘I wonder what will happen next?’ or ‘I wonder how that happened?’ or ‘I wonder what she is really like?’ or ‘I wonder what’s up?’ or ‘I wonder why I wonder?’ or ‘I wonder what it’s all about?’”

Pulling back from the subject at hand and allowing the story to tell itself is a grand experience. A story that is preordained is pretty much a leaden story. A tale that has the freedom to weave its own magic and simply dictate itself to the author is a tale as exciting as a roller coaster ride. Or at least a bumper car excursion.

So, unless something else occurs to me between now and Thursday night, perhaps this will be my approach to the audience of writers I will face.

Knowing my past behavior, though, something different may dictate itself to me on the drive to Huntsville and my own brain could surprise me by blurting out things I do not know that I know.

Can’t wait to hear what I have to say

© 2016 A.D. by Jim Reed




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