According to William Shakespeare, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Many people, especially writers, owe their livelihood to the recognition of their names.
Unlike Louisa May Alcott, who supported her entire family in the nineteenth century from her book sales, many authors today do not receive the fame or the fortune that their work deserves. So, here’s to dropping a few names I know!
I am privileged to have met many famous writers, some of whom I am honored to call my friends.
Over the last twenty years I’ve been blessed to attend numerous writers’ conferences and book festivals.
In Clarksville I met River Jordan and Robert Hicks and toured the home of Robert Penn Warren.
While attending Council for the Written Word workshops at Cumberland University, I met bestselling author J. T. Ellison, songwriter Ron Block, and Eric Wilson, whose new novel Samson has just been released.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts the Southern Kentucky Bookfest, where I have chatted with such famous people as Henry Winkler, Mitch Albom, Heather Graham, Mary McDonough, Richard Paul Evans, Virginia Smith, Terry Brooks, Mark Wayne Adams, Lin Stepp, Courtney Stevens, and Ellen Hopkins, just to name a few.
I have acted like a kid in a candy store when I’ve attended National Council of Teachers of English conferences and been in the same room with James Patterson, Ann Patchett, Laurie Halse Anderson, Julie Andrews, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sarah Dessen, Jeff Kinney, and so many others.
The Southern Festival of Books, sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, has offered me opportunities of a lifetime to meet Sharyn McCrumb, Pat Conroy, Clyde Edgerton, Beth Patillo, Rick Bragg, Matthew Reinhart, Lee Smith, Candie Moonshower, Susan Gregg Gilmore, Brenda Rickman Vantrease, whose book The Queen’s Promise releases in April of this year, and Lisa Patton, whose novel Rush debuts this coming August.
I met Fannie Flagg and Nicholas Sparks at the former Davis Kidd bookstore in Nashville, and I continue to drop by Parnassus Books on a regular basis when they are hosting an author event.
If Barnes and Noble in Murfreesboro hosts an author event while I’m in town, I’m there. That’s where I’ve met Christy Award-winning Terri Blackstock and Amy Parker, whose Night, Night, Jungle releases February 21.
I can do some real name dropping. From Memphis, where I met Chonda Pierce, to Chattanooga, where I’m so happy to have heard Frank McCourt speak before he died, I have met many people who are famous in my eyes.
However, fame, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
My sister and I were attending a basketball game recently in Nashville when she said, “Look, do you know who that is, the tall guy in the toboggan?”
“Shh,” she whispered. “Don’t let him see us looking at him”!
I was staring with a blank look on my face.
“You have no clue who he is, do you”?
And I didn’t. It turns out he was some major league baseball pitcher. My sister knew his name, but I didn’t. Even after she told me his name, I didn’t know it.
I can, however, drop the most famous name of all. Jesus. The sweetest Rose of Sharon. The sweetest name I know. He’s my Lord and Savior, the Ruler of my life.
Even in Jesus’ day, many people did not recognize His name. They didn’t believe He was who He said He was. In the book of John, the chief priests and Pharisees wanted to know if Jesus really was the Christ.
In Matthew 16:13-16, Christ asks his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
What’s in a name? Our reputation, our word, our beings. We are what God has called us to be.
As Bill and Gloria Gaither said, “There’s just something about that name.”
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, But there’s something about that name.
Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1
Dear Readers, if you have time, please take a moment to look at the author websites I have linked to this blog. Thank you on their behalf!