I had a great weekend, the highlight of which was the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. Pitty Pat and I hopped into Suzanne's little Subaru early Saturday morning, and we sped down I-24 talking a mile a minute about all the books we would buy, the writers we would meet.
I was hoping to meet Rick Bragg, but he had already departed. I was also hoping to meet Elizabeth Berg, however, her presentation coincided with William Gay's movie (which was great!).
But we did meet Silas House.
Silas House is a young writer from Appalachia whom I came upon a couple of years ago when I was surfing the Internet looking for books by Southern writers. He wrote Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tatoo. I have read them all and they are wonderful stories of family, love and loyalty, and very strong female characters.
A kind, gracious young man with soulful eyes, Silas shook our hands and smiled, more interested in talking about us than himself.
"Where y'all from?" he said.
"Paducah," we chimed.
"I've been to Paducah," he said, "And I love it, especially those beautiful murals down by the river."
I was proud to be standing alongside Silas House as Suzanne snapped our picture. He is not only a wonderful writer but a kind and compassionate human being.
I could see it all in his soulful eyes.