Thursday, July 09, 2009


The last few weeks I’ve seen the same commercial for Southern Belles: Louisville over and over again. One of the “belles” announces that someone asked her if they wear shoes in Kentucky. Her answer was “Yes, we do. We wear stilettos.” LOL!

And I'm not sure how my dad met a professor from a small college in California, but the man came to visit him for a few days. My dad lives in a little town north of Huntsville, Alabama, called Ardmore. It’s not large, but it’s a nice place and typical of a small town in the south. Well, dad was doing his usual barbecuing on the grill for company and needed to pick up something at the store. So the man decided to tag along to the nearby Piggly Wiggly. As they were walking down the aisle, the man said, “Wow, your grocery store is like mine at home.” Duh!

Those two stories are typical what we come across everyday. Since I love to travel, especially in the U.S., I meet a lot of people who have never been to Alabama and I’m always surprised by a few of their questions. A large number of people believe everything they hear and see on television and in the movies. So when a southern author writes about their home state or the South in general, it’s amazing how editors and judges in contests show the same misconceptions.

And don’t get me started on the misconceptions non-literary people have about romance writers.

What about writers? We’re human, but thankfully, most writers love meeting people from all backgrounds, educations, shapes and sizes. We love watching them and talking with them. To me, writers, especially romance writers, are the most open-minded people I know. If not, their writing will suffer. I believe some experience writer’s block by closing themselves off from experiencing new things and meeting new people. We’re all unique and that’s why I like meeting people wherever I go.

It’s an amazing world, isn’t it?



I love to people watch. I'm more of a watcher than a doer.

Jeanie said...

I totally agree that there are huge misconceptions about the South. I once worked with a young woman from Maine who came to Alabama in college to live with her dad. She'd lived in Maine all her life, and was shocked to find that we had paved roads and houses and electricity. She ended up staying, of course. She hated Maine winters!

Christine said...

I have recently moved to AL from DC and let me tell you, I've heard it all. One of my Darling Daughter's friends' parents asked if she was "bored" at school here (my DD was in an accelerated gifted program up north). We were like, "no, her school is in the top 5% of the nation, has tons of scholarships and is academically rigorous... but it is NORMAL in that family does have a place.

I love it down here... the people and the support networks are amazing... and I agree, Carla... romance writers are very open minded!

See you at conference!!!!

Karen Beeching said...

Oh yes. Lots of misconceptions regarding the South. But you can say that about anywhere. When people hear that I grew up in Oregon, they immediately assume I'm waaay liberal. I like to think I'm middle-of-the-road.

I love to people watch too!

M.V.Freeman said...

My father was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. When he married my mother they moved to Minnesota, and he confessed years later that he was shocked that anything west of the Mississippi was not like what he saw in the old westerns.

I am happy to report, I don't hold that belief and my father made sure that I was aware of the world--so I try not to have those misconceptions. :) Although Disney world sorely dissapointed me--(What do you mean there are NO flying carpets?)

Like you Carla, I love to people watch, the fun thing is--observing similarities that you find no matter what part of the world you are in.

Carla Swafford said...

Kelly, I'm found people who love to "people watch" are rather astute.

Carla Swafford said...

Jeanie, so funny. I've never been to Maine, but I know TV portrays that state as all trees and dirt roads. Hmmm.

Carla Swafford said...

Christine, we're going to have a blast at the conference!

Carla Swafford said...

Karen, You know how much I love the Northwest. When I visit my customers up there, I tell them all the time they're misplaced Southerners. So far, no one has been insulted. LOL!

Carla Swafford said...

Funny thing, Mary. I was disappointed by Disney World too. LOL!