Last night we attended a writer’s symposium at Furman entitled "Writing Towards Home". The symposium featured Ashley Warlick, Tommy Hayes, Mindy Friddle, and George Singleton, all of whom have novels set in Upstate South Carolina.
The symposium was well attended by the literazzi of Greenville – mostly writer wannabees and some eccentrics. It was almost as if the audience were populated with characters from their books. One elderly busybody with eyes preternaturally widened with makeup spread her overpowering perfume from row to row as she greeted friends with a repeated, "How are ya?" (pronounced, "Hawaii(yah)").
Soon, though, the authors arrived with their host, and the group settled down. The moderator never introduced herself, and spoke in low, nervous tones with a headbobbing motion that completely defeated the microphone in front of her. The authors, accustomed to book tours, etc., had no problems, and answered cliched questions with ease.
Each author read a selection from his or her work having to do with the concept of home and place. The questions asked of the authors also focused on these themes. As the authors read, I noticed that one or two slipped into "author’s voice", an affected ethereal tone of voice taken when reading one’s own work.
The symposium was interesting, but provided no new insight into either the writing process, or what I knew about these writers. Still, I’m glad I attended.