So today, Tuesday, we're here in the midst of One Book, which began last Thursday and culminates this Thursday with a lecture by author Janisse Ray, and it has been quite the event thus far! With One Word kicking off at Grassroots, Thomas County, and The Bookshelf, has spent the past weekend celebrating Janisse Ray's book through ecology inspired events/activities, including a memoir writing workshop this past Saturday and a (albeit rainy) wagon tour at Tall Timbers last Sunday.
In anticipation of Ms. Ray's upcoming visit to Thomasville, I wanted to provide our readers with a little insight into her as a writer and person. Janisse Ray is not only an award-winning author (which our One Book participants surely are familiar with), but she is also a naturalist and environmental activist here in south Georgia. Check out her website - janisseray.weebly.com - to learn even more about her other publications and environmental activism. I reached out to Ms. Ray personally this past week, and she was able to answer some questions concerning her writing (see below).
1. What drew you to the creation of a memoir - as opposed to creating a work of fiction or informative nonfiction?
JR - I'm less a memoirist than a creative nonfiction writer, which incorporates the craft of fiction into truth and allows the use of the first-person voice. It's a fascinating genre to me.
2. When did you begin to take writing as a serious craft, or rather, what made you realize that this was the career path for you?
JR - I knew that I'd be a writer from a very young age, maybe eighth grade. I was in love with stories and I knew that I wanted to find them and tell them.
3. Do you think that your work as an author and activist has led to more positive conservation efforts, specifically in the South Georgia area?
JR - I hope my work has helped transform the way we humans view the landscape.
4. About how long did it take you to complete Ecology of a Cracker Childhood? What was the most difficult part of the writing process, in your opinion?
JR - About three years. The most difficult part of writing is all the hours a person must sit alone at her desk, tinkering with words and sentences and chapters. There are so many other things I'd much rather be doing, to be honest.
5. How does it make you feel, knowing that your work as an author and nature activist have impacted the way that others carry out their everyday lives?
JR - Humbled.
6. When writing your books, how did you choose each topic? Meaning, how did you decide to focus on a specific element of ecological conservation (such as longleaf pines) when all elements seem equally important?
JR - I choose topics out of sheer obsession with the subject.
As you can see from the short Q&A above, Ms. Ray is an interesting, talented individual, and I am personally excited for her discussion of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood this Thursday. The Bookshelf would like to thank each and every person who has participated in One Book this year, since it is you guys that help promote community and literacy here in our little Thomasville. Hopefully this insight into Janisse Ray's writing inspirations will encourage even more of you to purchase tickets (online or at the store) for this upcoming Thursday! Look out for Banned Books Week coming up next, and our very first Pen to Plate dinner next month.
Wishing y'all the best,