Sunday, September 18, 2005

September Saturday in Eygpt

I was upset about having to miss Geri Ann's first tournament game yesterday morning, but as it turns out, Johnston City had a bye, so I didn't miss a game after all. I was involved with our Southern Illinois Writers Guild table at the annual Woman's Health Conference at John A. Logan College.

Because of some printing difficulties, our 2005 anthologies had not yet been folded. But Ruby Jung sacrifically folded a dozen and brought them over for our table. We sell this yearly collection of diverse local authors as a fund raiser for the Guild. Poems, plays, stories, articles--you name it. We've had them all in the four years we have accomplished this project.

Our first anthology, edited by Carol Cross, had an essay by Hualing Hu, and we had just learned at our meeting Thursday night that Hualing has sold the movie rights to her book American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking: The Courage of Minnie Vautrin. And this year Illinois will be commemorating the birthday of Minnie Vautrin. One of the joys of being a writer is being able to make people aware of information they would not otherwise have. Hualing has done that for us here in Illinois--sharing with us this heroine from Secor, Illinois, who bravely saved so many Chinese women from death.

Again it was fun seeing friends, meeting strangers, and talking up books at our signing table. Once more I had a former JALC student come and thank me for showing a special interest in her when she took an English class and exhibited special writing talent. That is a blessing of book signings that I had never imagined might take place. And it means a great deal. Most teachers are introspective enough to wonder if they did a terrible job teaching. So you will make a former teacher's day if you tell him/her if you enjoyed that class ten years ago. I felt a joy I cannot explain to know those days when I was sitting up to 2 a.m. grading essays were truly appreciated. (I liked grading essays--but did not like spending the time it took to do so.)

Anne-Marie Legan had joined me, and Deb Tucker came at noon. Lonnie Cruse was in and out as she had to do a presentation for the conference at 1:30 and then afterwards she joined the table. I had to leave at noon to gas up our car and head down rough rough Route 24 to Vienna for the Trail of Tears Association meeting at the library community room there. I had not had time for breakfast and only grabbed a hamburger at a drive-in window and ate it on the way down. So the yummy home-made refreshments served us by the local DAR was more than welcome. And that gave us plenty of incentive and the proper atmosphere to socialize and network with all the others interested in the Trail of Tears. There are small highway signs along Route 146 declaring it the Trail of Tears route, but some years ago the good metal markers near Route 57 and then at Dutch Creek disappeared. No one seems to know what happened to them. Did someone steal them? Did someone take them down and store them in a warehouse someplace? Citizens hope to see them replaced someday.

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