Writing. Lots of writing.
That’s what I’ve been up to since I left The Farmville Herald at the end of May 2015.
I’ve always tried to show words a good time—take them out for a nice bite of something good to eat, maybe a show afterwards. You know the sort of thing. Often, admittedly, the words don’t return my calls when I phone to ask them out again. Plenty of times I couldn’t blame them, either.
But I must write to live. It’s like breathing. Even if my breath stinks, I’ve still got to keep panting. Same goes for writing.
I began writing a book on Prince Edward County’s civil rights journey—creation of the Brown Scholarships (the first Civil Rights-era reparation in U.S. history) as its centerpiece—the moment I left the newspaper. It was a day of sudden downpours. I remember hugging a colleague farewell in the parking lot. The sky said it all. I miss the community of people, and being by their side with meaning and purpose, so much.
Writing the book has kept me sane. Relatively. Every day, I’m sitting at the kitchen table, typing away, my pug dog, Pugsley, happily asleep at my feet. The book is called “Gather Your Light: Overcoming the Shadow of Massive Resistance.” I might have finished it a few moments ago. Of course, I’ve thought the same thing dozens of times.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner has written a terrific foreword for the book, and Tim Kaine—you might have heard of him, too—penned a brilliant afterword. At the very least, I’ll publish a decent seven-page volume called “The Collected Forewords and Afterwords of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, edited by Ken Woodley.” (Smiley-faced emoji.)
I’ve also been writing a weekly meditation for my church, at the invitation of our pastor, the Rev. John Boucher. That led to another blessing I never saw coming. It gave me the confidence to “audition” for Forward Day By Day. An agency of the Episcopal Church, Forward Day By Day has been publishing daily spiritual meditations since 1935. It has half a million readers in 50 countries. I was asked to write the January 2018 meditations. An unbelievable opportunity. I know it’s not a dream because I have a contract and the thirty-one 210-word pieces are complete.
So, the bottom line of what I’ve been up to is that God is good. So is my wife, Kim. None of these things would have happened without her love and support.
There’s lots of words left in me, yet, and I thank you so much for joining me as we take them out together. Some may be indigestible. You don’t have to swallow them all.