This week I enjoyed two writing treats... Jerry Pinkney dropped by the Central Library in downtown Atlanta and our SCBWI chapter (Southern Breeze - Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle) threw him a small reception afterwards. Busloads of kids came in to hear him talk about his childhood and creative influences. What a gracious and charming man!
Then Saturday night, my husband and I attended a book launch party for Jessica Handler's BRAVING THE FIRE: A GUIDE TO WRITING ABOUT GRIEF AND LOSS. Jess's first book, INVISIBLE SISTERS was a tough one to write. It was about the loss of her sisters, each to rare, completely unrelated diseases. It was an anomaly to have one such disease in a family, but to have two stumped doctors completely. Jess and I had many lunches while she worked through the anxiety of sharing her story with the world. After it was released to critical acclaim, she was asked to speak at numerous writers groups on the topic which became this, her second book, which will help many people share their own personal stories of loss in beautiful and eloquent ways.
Add to that, the launch party was a who's who of local authors. We had such fun mingling with Joshilyn Jackson (author); Joe Davich (Georgia Center for the Book); Terra Elan McVoy (author); James Taylor (Atlanta libraries) and his wife Lynn; Daren Wang (Decatur Book Festival/author); Philip Rafshoon (DBF) and his partner; Kate Sweeney (WABE/author); and of course, Jessica and her husband, Mickey. (And I'm certain I'm forgetting others.) What a wonderful gathering of literary-minded folk there to celebrate our friend's latest success. It reminded me why I love to live where I do so much.