People have been asking whether the Camden Writers’ 2016 anthology is similar to the one we published in 2014, Serving Up Memory. Yes and no. Both have stories, poems, recipes and photographs, but What I Wish I Could Tell You has more—more of everything, especially recipes. And there are other subtle differences too.
Serving Up Memory has a slightly more nostalgic feel to it. All of the stories take place in yesteryear, and while most of the narratives in the 2016 anthology occur in the past too, there are several that aren’t in the far distant past. Many relate to the writers themselves, including childhood memories of shelling peas, acting up in church (breaking the Eleventh Commandment), and taking the rap for an older sibling’s misdeed. Three tales occur while the writers were in either high school or college. Their messages are of adjusting to change, making friends, and starting over.
Knowing how the past can affect the present, we included several stories about people who had not only an influential effect on their families but also on everyone who knew them. In fact, after reading “The Pioneering Spirit,” I find myself thinking about Marian Murphy Lovatt each time I bite into a potato, especially a boiled one. “If I don’t eat a potato every day, I feel like I haven’t really eaten.” Wish I could have met her—and J.E. Horton, Emma Marie Remmes, Megan Bevan, Aunt Minnie, and all the other special people honored by those who loved them.
As in Serving Up Memory, poetry is scattered throughout the book. Even I who have little understanding of how poetry “works” can appreciate and enjoy the lines of “Southern Heritage,” “This Is the Day,” “Neighbor Lady,” and several others. Also included are lyrics from Jasmine Rhythms, a work commissioned by the Columbia Choral Society and created by the creative collaboration between Paddy Bell and Dick Goodwin.
And recipes—there are several. Although we were tempted to omit them, several Memory readers requested them and we did our best to comply. Several treats created from the recipes, ranging from speckled butterbeans to Emma’s fudge, will be available at December book signings.
Haven’t you ever read a story, especially a memoir, and wished you could see what the person in the narrative looked like? I sure have. To satisfy our readers’ curiosity, we’ve added several photographs of people, places, and things that relate to the accounts. There are photos of parents, children, the beach, Abe Lincoln’s kitchen, a bowl of marbles, the Boykin Country Store, the Grand Canyon, signs, and many, many more. All add visual interest and were added for your viewing pleasure.
Our first signing is at The Elephant Ear in Sumter, SC on Thursday, December 15 from 6 – 8 PM, and our second is scheduled for the same time on Friday, December 16 in Camden, SC at Books on Broad. Sure would be nice to see our book-loving friends there.