Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Homage to Margaret Mitchell

The first road trip we took with our kids they were four and two years old. We packed a potty chair, activity kits, juice boxes, and those kid-proof "My First Sony" walkmans. The kids whined and cranked a bit, but we made it from Laguna Hills, CA to Houston in three good days. Yesterday we drove from New Orleans to Atlanta--an easy six-hour-drive--and you'd think my 19 and 17-year-old offspring were kiddies again. They had snacks, sodas, iPods, and laptop PCs to watch movies, but they picked and snapped at each other like a couple of old married folk.

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis where we'd booked for the night was crawling with women in town for the Romance Writers of America annual conference. I stuck up a conversation with Suzanne Simmons, an author of 40-plus novels, in the executive lobby of the Marquis. She shared a bit of her writing journey with me and encouraged me to keep my klunky name--Carolyn Burns Bass--when I publish. I've always thought Burns Bass was an odd conjunction; Burns, a verb next to the noun Bass. My kids often tease me with variations such as Carolyn burns fish, Carolyn burns hamburgers, Carolyn burns everything (not true!). Thank you, Suzanne.

The highlight of our stay in Atlanta was my pilgrimmage to the Margaret Mitchell museum. I first read Gone With the Wind during the summer in between seventh and eighth grade, and have re-read it several times since. Margaret and her husband rented a tiny apartment in this gracious Peachtree Street Victorian charmer while she wrote GWTW. I walked through the house tour with eyes wide open and spirit sensitive to the muse that dwelt there as Margaret composed one of the greatest American novels of all time. Margaret didn't think much of her prose, as she had great heroes among authors. But history thinks otherwise, and I agree.

Look closely and you'll see me on the front porch sitting, rocking with the vibe of another era.


Nichole said...

Carolyn! The house is beautiful! I am so jealous! I read GWTW every year along with a few other favorites...I can see why Margaret was so inspired to write while living in that gorgeous place!

Robin Richardson said...

Freudian slip? It is imaginable, as a layman, how a crowd of women thinking they are really something being romance writers, might be a little stuck-up. I thought it hilarious that the one thing that most impressed me or "stuck out" to me was the word "stuck". I'm almost certain that you meant to write "struck". Too funny! :) Anyway, impressive writing.

Also, CONGRATULATIONS on your award-winning short story #15. Good job! Can't wait for it to be published or posted somewhere.

Ovation Leader said...

I am laughing my head off at your post, Robin. Thanks for catching that typo. The typo is so funny now that you've framed it as you have; I wouldn't dream of changing it, no matter how anal I am about spelling, grammar, punctuation. I needed a laugh today and you gave me one. Bravo.

But truly, I didn't meet a single "stuck-up" author anywhere in at the convention. They're all just a bunch of lovely ladies, hoping to bring smiles (and maybe a little natural blush) to the faces of romance lovers everywhere.