It was a long day, but a wonderful day.

I spent most of the morning, afternoon, and evening at the Georgia Writers Museum on Thursday. Over the course of the day, I spent time reading, reflecting, and studying. I also spent some time cleaning, organizing, and setting out refreshments. I took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, met some new people, and got to know others a little better.

I was both exhausted and energized by the end of the day. Volunteer activities always make me feel that way.

The main draw of the Georgia Writers Museum are the exhibits of Joel Chandler Harris, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Walker, three famous authors who grew up in or near Eatonton, and did much of their writing here. It’s also the permanent home of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame exhibit. Although the museum has been in existence for only a few years, it’s recently gone through a major renovation, making it more interactive and informative, and a literary center that not only celebrates and promotes established authors, but teaches and encourages new ones – including students from elementary age on up.

Since I didn’t grow up in this area – and have lived here only two years – I’m still learning and absorbing what I can about the rich literary heritage of the South, especially of the place I now call home. So for me – as for many others – the Georgia Writers Museum is a perfect place to spend time.

Thursday was the Grand Reopening of the museum. It was also a day on which I was scheduled for a regular volunteer shift, which would normally start at 11:00, when the museum opened, and continue till its closing at 5:00. But because of the celebration, which started at 5:30, I stayed straight through till the event was over. And because a middle school teacher was holding a “Summer Inspiration” class at the museum in the morning, before regular museum hours, I came in early to help there if needed. The class was interesting, and I found myself wishing I could disguise myself as a middle schooler and sign up for the rest of the program.

After the class was over and the kids returned to their school, I spent some time reading everything I could find about one of the authors featured in the museum. I’ll do the same for the others during future visits and volunteer shifts.

The next event that involves the Writers Museum is an exciting one coming up in a few weeks: a day-long celebration in honor of Alice Walker’s 75th birthday. The author, best known for her novel, The Color Purple, will be coming back to her hometown of Eatonton to take part in the festivities. I’ll be volunteering at some of them, and attending as many of the others as I can.

I know it will be another long day, but a wonderful day. And I can’t wait.

June 28, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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