Not sure how she stumbled upon it, but a few weeks ago my mother sent me a Facebook event notification she thought I’d be interested in. The Blount County Library was taking applications for their Foothills Voices class – combining two things I love: writing and my native Appalachia.

After a bit of research, I learned that a Blount County Library card would be needed to apply (I live in neighboring Sevier County), and could be obtained for a $25 non-resident fee. In addition, the class fee if accepted would be $100. I would have to submit an application along with a writing sample, demonstrating my grasp of the written English language.

My nerves almost won out. Could I really gamble $25, waste an evening driving to and from their library to get the card, on the mere chance to get accepted? I didn’t have the confidence to go ahead, but my mother did.

Not only does she believe in my talent and skill, but also knows how to talk my language. “Would you hesitate to drop $25 on a nice meal or on craft beers?” Of course I would, and her point was well made.

Borrowing her confidence, I made the drive and paid the fee. Worst case scenario, I could use my new library card to access a whole new range of ebooks. Best case, I’d start my journey to becoming a published author.

The class teaches research techniques, helping writers find details which make the non-fiction stories come alive in the minds of the reader. At the end of the writing class, each student provides such story to be compiled with others and published.

With such a straight-forward, concrete step towards a dream I’ve had for two decades, how could I not take that first step of chance?

The waiting time between notification and acceptance emails being sent out was blissfully short. In less than a week, I received my “congratulations and welcome” email.

I met my instructors and classmates for the first time two weeks ago, and we got to know a little bit about the process. On our original application, potential writing topics were addressed. Unlike many of my classmates, I’m not sure what I want to write about.

Jay and I love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its history, so I’ve considered tackling the process by which land was acquired (and families were forced to move out.) As other classmates talked about recording their family stories, I started to wonder if perhaps I might do the same.

Part of me wonders if anyone outside of my family cares to have our story recorded. Then again, there are plenty of resources on the national park. If not me, then who will write about what it was like working a farm and raising a family in the 1950s in the foothills of Appalachia?

My grandmother loves telling the story of milking cows on her honeymoon – so much so we’ve named the cow pasture “Honeymoon Lane.” Perhaps its time for that story to reach a wider audience.

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