The Harris Arts Center announced it would host a reception on Tuesday, April 1, from 7 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. for local author, Amber Lanier Nagle, and several local writers who contributed stories to a recently published book, “Project Keepsake.” The Northwest Georgia community is invited to attend. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
“The book is a collection of fifty-five short, nonfiction stories told in first person by both writers and aspiring writers,” Nagle said. “Each storyteller focused on a specific keepsake or memento — a knife, a ring, a cake pan, a hat, a book, a quilt — and then the writer explained why the keepsake is special. The stories have depth to them and contain strong, powerful memories and thoughts.”
Nagle believes that everyone has a keepsake, and every keepsake has a story to tell. It’s the premise of her book.
Nagle usually asks people why they keep the keepsake.
“There’s usually a pause, and then the story comes gushing out of the person. I love a good story, and keepsakes hold a lot of good stories,” Nagle said.
Many writers from Northwest Georgia contributed stories to Nagle’s project and will be on hand Tuesday to read story excerpts and sign books. Indeed, the book’s table of contents is a veritable who’s who of Calhoun and the surrounding region.
Jesse Vaughn contributed a wonderful tribute story that honors his great-grandmothers titled, “The Organ and the Milking Stool.” Local writer Coleen Brooks shared a story about her beloved “Pregnancy Shirt,” a shirt she wore proudly during each of her four pregnancies. Wayne Minshew wrote about a brick, but not just any brick — Wayne’s brick was plucked from the imploded rubble of the University of Georgia’s old field house. As a young baseball player, Wayne had lived in the field house, so that brick holds hundreds of memories from Wayne’s glory days. Judy Peterson wrote and contributed a story about one of her keepsakes, too. Her story titled, “Cousin Geraldine’s Watch” talks about her relationship with her aunt and cousin and her fond memories of visiting them in the Dews Pond Community when Peterson was a child.
Other local story contributors include: Nancy Ratcliffe (“Carnival Glass”), Janie Aker (“Mattie Bell’s Bible”), Tim Egenes (“The Rubber Stamp”), Victoria Choate (“My Tin Sewing Kit”), Martha Buttrum (“The Old Iron Bed”), Paul Garrison (“The Eastman Chemical Tank Car”), and Thelma Benner (“The Linde Star Necklace”).
Nagle composed an introduction to the book, wrote two keepsake stories for the collection (one about buckeyes and the other about an old Singer sewing machine), and included a chapter at the end guiding readers through the process of writing their own keepsake stories.
She hopes that Project Keepsake will inspire people to write the stories that matter in their lives — the stories that need to be preserved for future generations. She’s busy these days scheduling and attending other keepsake events and workshops around Calhoun and throughout the region.
“I invite members of the community to attend the reception, bring a small keepsake along, and share their story with us,” Nagle said. “That’s what it’s all about — keeping the art of storytelling alive.”
Copies of Project Keepsake are available at Wanda Dills’ Gift of Season shop on Court Street, the Lighthouse Christian Bookstore on W.C. Bryant Parkway, and the Harris Arts Center gallery market.
For more information, visit Project Keepsake’s website at www.ProjectKeepsake.com or contact the Harris Arts Center at 706-629-2599.