This post makes more sense after reading A Fond Look Back at the Welty Symposium and Columbus, Mississippi, Part One first. Assuming you're in the mood to indulge me. :)
A quick shout out to the Hampton Inn who so kindly put a full-length mirror on the outside of the bathroom door! The door opens in to the bathroom. If you’re a lone traveler like me, you, of course, don’t close the door to tinkle. So, before even thinking, you sit to take care of business and look in front of you at a full-length, up-close, birds-eye view of your entire self sitting on the toilet.
I could’ve died a happy woman NEVER seeing this. I wonder if I have a lawsuit on my hands here. I certainly feel scarred for life. That’s got to be worth something. I’d complain for a complimentary free night’s stay, but I’d have to pee again and relive the horror.
Maybe I’ll just start closing the door. And I leave tomorrow anyway - for Memphis! I’ll stop by and say a few words to my dead. I’ll drive by my grandmother’s house. I’ll remember and smile and feel a little loved.
The Welty Symposium! At first, I was a little disappointed. It was in Cochran Hall this year, not the historical and traditional Poindexter Hall I loved so much.
Cochran Hall is a dormitory and certainly didn’t have the atmosphere to fit the event. The events were held in Cochran’s ballroom, which is a recent room addition to the front of the building connected by one set of doors like an adjoining hotel room .
It didn’t feel Southern, it wasn’t old, and I didn’t feel any ghosts. Not to mention the constant slamming of doors from student traffic to and from their rooms. It was frustrating that nobody in charge ever thought to close the ballroom doors to muffle the noise.
But the authors who spoke and read made up for most of the logistics. Nan Graham, Rilla Askew, Ellen Douglas, and Karon Luddy were my favorites. I’m so glad I came, as usual. I feel special every time, like I’m part of a secret club. To hear Southern women writers read their own stories and talk about their writing lives is like a long, slow, warm enveloping hug.
I will always regret missing the 2002 Symposium. That year, Jeanne Braselton, Rome, Georgia author of A False Sense of Well Being, read. She killed herself the following Spring.
With any luck, I'll be back next year. Not to the Hampton, of course. I couldn't take that again.