Jill McCorkle will be a headlining author at Book ‘Em in Sept. 23.
Who is not familiar with Jill McCorkle? She is a North Carolina resident, a Robeson County native. She is the author of novels “Carolina Moon,” “Going Away Shoes,” and “Tending to Virginia.” Moreover, she is an award-winning author, having captured the New England Booksellers Award and the North Carolina Award for Literature.
She currently teaches in the Master in Fine Arts program at North Carolina State University. What some people may not know about McCorkle is that she pours her thoughts and ideas from each day into notes and that writing reveals as much about her as it does her characters.
In describing her writing of “Life after Life,” McCorkle explains that through these notes “a whole begins to come into view.” At first the view is unclear, fuzzy.
“I think we are all like those old antenna contraptions that used to perch on rooftops, turning and turning to pick up signals in hopes of making a connection and finding clarity,” she said.
As connections from these scraps of paper are made, so does a more pristine vision of places, characters and storylines.
I recently asked how revealing the writing process is for her.
“I often, when in the voice and life of a character, recall details and memories from my own life I haven’t thought of in years. For instance, it is not unusual for me to give a character a possession or a setting from my own reality… . I often have used rooms I recall from my childhood — the kitchen or backyard of my grandmother or of a close friend or my childhood home. I use my own touchstones in life to bring me closer to characters and in the same way, their stories bring me closer to my own memories.”
If words can transport one back to particular memories of events, places or transport one forward to hopes for a person, one must admit that reading is powerful. However, according to the reports from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, millions of adults are unable to read.
While we read and enjoy poems, short stories, or novels, others are unable to do so. Highlighting literacy is the premise of Book ‘Em. Co-founded by suspense author p.m. terrell, Book ‘Em brings together authors, publishers, and the community for one common cause. Without words, we are unable to tell our story and share it with others. So what would McCorkle say to people who believe such a cause, literacy, is a passing fad?
“If literacy is ever a passing fad, we are in huge trouble,” she said “Literacy enables communication— communication with oneself as well as across all cultures and boundaries. Literacy opens up worlds of knowledge and understanding.”
Join us on the campus of Robeson Community College, Sept. 23, 2017 for Book ‘Em. Proceeds go towards local agencies that foster literacy for children and a adults. For more information about Book ‘Em visit www.bookemnc.org.
Crystal Edmonds is the program director for English at Robeson Community College and a member of the Book ‘Em planning committee. She is the guest columnist this week for RCC.