The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 24, 2012

Think writing is glamorous? Come see ...

By Kelly Kazek

— Some days, I wish I had a regular job like those you see on TV, you know, ice road trucker or alligator wrangler.

That’s got to be easier than being a humor writer.

Oh, I know y’all think my life must be one big glittery whirl of red carpets, limos and astoundingly attractive escorts.

Don’t hate me because I’m glamorous. I can understand why my life as a not-so-highly paid journalist and single mom may seem glitzy on the surface but this work is hard, people.

Sure, I did stay out until 11:30 the other night – without a nap, mind you – and I did recently trip over a red rug at the Walmart but those things don’t happen every day.

Actually, my life is downright stressful. I have days that are so hectic, I can’t even get my tiara to stay on straight. Sometimes, I feel under-appreciated, as if my columns about Cheez Whiz-colored hair and the image of Jesus in bathroom mold do not carry as much import as, say, a story on global warming.

Don’t worry, though.

A special committee is planning the first major writers conference in Athens, and guess who will be there? Yours truly. Well, they had to invite me. I’m on the committee.

Those of you who long for the glamour of the writing life, rejoice.

“Kudzu Chronicles: A Southern Writers Event at Art on the Square” will bring published authors and panel discussions to the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning in downtown Athens Sept. 7-8.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, you can come – for free! – and hear authors speaking on a variety of topics, and join discussions on writing, getting published and historical research and genealogy.

Some of the authors who will speak Saturday include Christopher Fuqua (“Music Fell on Alabama”), Dr. Julie Hedgepeth Williams (“A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells’ Story of Survival”), Charles Ghinga (the Father Goose series), Kris Reisz (“Unleashed” and other teen science fiction), Robert S. Davis (“Chasing Your Alabama Past” and Civil War history), Peggy Allen Towns (“Duty Driven: North Alabama African Americans during the Civil War”), Rusty Bynum (Alabama history) and Sara McDaris (children’s books).

Also, several local writers will participate, including Jerry Barksdale, Bill Hunt and me. I will be introducing my first picture book, “’Twas the Night Before Iron Bowl,” an Auburn University licensed book. Writers Penne Laubenthal, ASU professor emeritus and writer for and The News Courier, and Charlotte Fulton and Karen Middleton, retired journalists, also will participate, as will Jennifer Wolfe, a genealogist. As a special treat, local actor Frank Travis will “perform” poetry.


Meet the authors

On Friday night, you can pay $20 each to attend the kick-off party where you can meet the authors and have them sign books, as well as enjoy Southern refreshments. The best part is attendees at the party can participate in a silent auction of books signed by a variety of Southern authors such as Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Shellie Rushing Thomlinson, Celia Rivenbark. Keith Dunnavant, the participating authors and more.

So if you truly want to know what it takes to be a writer, join us at Kudzu Chronicles, where I will discuss the perils of humor writing.

Don’t forget to say hello. I’ll be the one in the tiara.

For information on Kudzu Chronicles, contact Wanda Campbell at the Center for Lifelong Learning at 256-233-8260.