Earlier this month I was in Atlanta, and among my stops was a visit to the Georgia Center for the Book. Located within the DeKalb County Public Library, the Georgia Center for the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and has become the largest non-profit literary presenting organization in the Southeast and one of the largest in the nation.
Following an enjoyable meeting with GCB executive director William Starr and GCB assistant Joesph Davich, II, I was offered a tour. I’ve always loved libraries—itty-bitty ones, old ones, brand new ones, and ones so big that I fear I’ll get lost. To say I was impressed by this library would be an understatement. It’s one of the big ones, and grand it is!
Joe swept me by a graceful staircase on the main floor, and as we headed toward the circulation desk, I stopped. Right there in front of my eyes, artfully arranged on selves and columns, were the most beautiful hand-made tissue peonies I’d ever seen. Peonies are my favorite flowers, and to see them so unexpectedly—well, it just tickled me. And, being the slightly superstitious person I am, I also viewed the peonies as an omen of good luck for the success of my novel.
When I commented about the peonies to Joe, I learned that he had made them with his own talented hands. Joe was kind enough to pluck one of his beautiful blooms from the display and offer it to me. I carried the peony all the way from Georgia to Kentucky, and now it’s sitting on the mantel in my writing den along with a copy of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.
Thank you Joe, for the peony, for the memory, and for your graciousness. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you and Bill in the near future!