Like every reader, I have my favorite writers. There have been so many that have stirred my emotions and made me a part of their world, and I'm thankful for that. The one is love the best, the one I cherish, is Rick Bragg.
Yesterday, Rick was in our area. We were privileged to see a newly released documentary about his life called Out of the Dirt. Afterwards, he talked to us about family and roots.
His first book, All over but the Shoutin', was recommended to me years ago. Very early in the book, I was thinking, "Who is this? He is writing about me, about my family." I have never actually met anyone in the book, but they are all my neighbors and kinfolks. His other books are just as well-written.
I read other writers and strive to be like them. I read others, like Rick Bragg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, and simply surrender, knowing I will never reach his level. At the risk of hyperbole, I can say I would consider my life less complete had I never read the opening lines from his All Over but the Shoutin' (my favorite nonfiction work). That's one book that makes me want to read a paragraph twice, just because of its power and poetry. I recommend it to any writer at any stage of the journey.
Rick Bragg may be Alabama's best treasure.