A New Challenge
As a writer, I’ve put a premium on exploring a variety of genres. My first novel, Bethesda’s Child, blended politics and genetics, an unlikely combo but readers have reacted well to it. The Moralist, social satire, delivers common sense insights with some laughs, or so I’ve been told. And A Southern Girl focused on two things dear to Southerners, family and tradition. In The Home Guard, I tried my hand at historical fiction. And now, I can announce that I am wading into non-fiction waters by writing a history of The Citadel, my alma mater.
It happened this way. In the summer of 2015, I was approached to do some writing in connection with the war memorial The Citadel Class of 1967, my class, is building as its legacy to the campus (https://foundation.citadel.edu/warmemorial) In 2012, I wrote a thirty-five word inscription for this memorial, and now what was needed was a history of the college woven around the various wars and conflicts in which Citadel alumni had fought. I was honored to be asked, for the second time, to craft words that will be etched into granite when the memorial is built. When I learned that I would be permitted up to 3500 words to tell the story, I knew space would not be a serious limitation. I spent the summer researching Citadel history and writing a narrative that came in at about 3300 words. To my intense satisfaction, the college’s Board of Visitors unanimously approved the narrative in September 2015.
Having spent so much time immersed in Citadel history, it was a natural progression to want to write a book about it. The last such history closed with the retirement of Gen. Mark W. Clark in 1965. Clark served for eleven years as president and his retirement coincided with the halfway point in my undergraduate career there. In the fifty years since Clark left, the school integrated, accepted women, rebuilt the barracks, upgraded the academics, and made dozens of changes worth writing about. My book is scheduled for release on Corps Day, 2018, the 175th anniversary of the day the first cadets reported to The Citadel. This effort would not be possible without the support of The Citadel Foundation.
Many writers find a genre they are comfortable in and stay with it. Evidently, I am not among those. The next eighteen months will be an intellectual and artistic challenge, but I look forward to it all.