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.