|Message from the President
I SAW THE SIGN AND IT OPENED UP
When we first moved to Columbia in 2012, the city was under a tourism campaign that read, “Famously Hot.” Billboards flanked the city on the inbound interstates, and just about every citywide event adopted the “Famously Hot” moniker, from blues festivals to farmer’s markets to parades.
Although born in Florence in 1977, I was raised in Virginia and returned to my native state in 1995 to attend Clemson, where I married my husband in 2001. We spent the early aughts in Charlotte, where I attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill and worked for a small company in York. We bought our first home in Easley in 2004, and our daughter was born at Greenville Hospital in 2008.
Columbia, despite being the nucleus around which the rest of the state reluctantly revolves, has a terrible reputation. I was less than thrilled to move here in 2012.
The billboards changed my mind. What’s better than honesty? Knowing one’s own self and boldly declaring it. In hero terms, it’s the equivalent of “I am what I am.” In corporate terms, “It is what it is.”
Columbia is HOT.
I tell out-of-state folks that the only thing separating Columbia from Hell is a screen door. There are days in July that make you wonder what sins the people around you are being punished for.
Despite the heat, a band of SCWA writers gathered for fellowship, sharing and support on Saturday, June 25. We sat together outside for five hours, under tent-provided shade, sipping water bottles from iced coolers and reading passages from our published and unpublished work.
The Inside/Out event was our first face-to-face gathering for the full SCWA community since the Beaufort retreat in 2019. Inside/Out was unstructured, unpretentious and provided a unique opportunity for SCWA members – by longevity, leadership role, writing credentials and chapter experience – to discuss what the future of our writing community should be.
We were honest.
We told stories, read pages and shared perspectives on the world at large and the world inside our chapters and our organization. Thank you to those who came. I hope more of you will join us for our October conference at Pawley’s Island. Let’s get face-to-face and share with candor and compassion the truth we know about ourselves.
Every journey we’ve ever taken has been flanked by signs, and sometimes the signs change us with their honesty.
What signs have you seen that altered your path? Or changed your mind? Send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, SCWA Board of Directors