Writers must write

Published 6:00 am Friday, September 22, 2017

I am not delusional about my writing. I know there are many, many others who do it better than I. It doesn’t look like I’m ever going to be a full-time writer or make a lot of money at it. Still, I must write. Even if nobody ever read what I write, I’d have to do it anyhow.

I’ve come to the realization that I love story gathering. I can write a story. I have written this newspaper column for years, short stories, articles for magazines and books. But the most joy I get from a book is one that gives other people the opportunity to tell their stories and have their words preserved for future generations. I love to listen to people and their stories. If I had a choice between a live person telling about their life or a TV show, there’d be no contest. I’m happy about being a story gatherer.

My latest completed project is now in print. Mother: Warrior – Daughters, Arise! is available through Amazon.com and Kindle. This book is a collection of stories from mothers, siblings, foster parents, and grandparents who have answered the call to prayer for children in their care. There will be copies available at Jewel Craft in the Harlan Village Center Mall by next week and I will have a few copies available. From a mother of eleven home births to the pastor’s wife who prayed God would send someone to take her baby girl and be a better mother than she knew how to be, each story is powerful.

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The next in the series is already in progress. I am currently gathering stories for Women Warriors – The Power of Prayer. At the moment, there is an open invitation for submissions from any woman of the Christian faith who has experienced the power of prayer working in her life. To those who have ever considered telling/writing their story about an amazing answer to prayer, but didn’t know what to do with it, this opportunity is open. I can be contacted through Facebook to answer further questions about this project.

Secondly, I am collecting stories for a book I’ve been working on for years. Panther Tales and Other Wild Things is a collection of eye witness accounts of animal encounters in the woods of Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, or the southeastern United States. It can also include accounts handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Encounters might include panthers, bobcats, mountain lions, skunks, rattlesnakes, raccoons, bigfoot, big bucks, elk, bear, turkey, or any other unusual thing in the forests of our region. I welcome stories and/or photographs. I can be contacted on Facebook about this project. I will make arrangements to meet a storyteller with a tape recorder if that is the best option. I can be contacted on Facebook for this project. Also, Judy Lewis, from Pine Mountain is interested in helping gather these stories.

Thirdly, I’m in the process of collecting stories about Pine Mountain Settlement School, A Story Worth Telling. This book is open to anyone connected to Pine Mountain Settlement School as a student, a worker, family, or visitors of the school. Anyone interested in sharing a story is encouraged to contact the office at Pine Mountain Settlement School and schedule an appointment for an interview. Stories in written form can be sent via computer or snail mail. Historic photographs of people and events at the school are welcome. I am also available on Facebook for this project.

It seems like productive writing comes for me in spurts. There are times when I try to write and it’s hard to get a decent sentence on paper. Other times, the words pour out almost faster than I can

type. I hope to hear from people on all three of these projects. The books will go to print when enough stories are gathered for each one.

I’m excited about the interest that has already been shown. Please don’t let this opportunity slip away.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.