I'm an Alabama writer. A blessed one, who has sold more books than I ever thought I could this otherwise horrible month. No one is more surprised, humbled, grateful- pick an adjective- than me. So for the rest of April, starting with the moment the tornadoes touched down in my state, I'm going to donate all profits from my book sales to Alabama tornado relief. I figure this is a good place to start picking up the pieces, and I'll go from there.
I love my state, even though truthfully, I make a pretty sad Southern wife. I can't even make sweet tea, or biscuits. I think under Alabama law that entitles D. to a free divorce. As a state there are all kinds of things wrong with us, I know: buck dancing, the annual mullet toss, Nascar. We may seem preoccupied with religion and lost wars. Many of us have three names instead of two. We speak in polite, circling euphemisms that may mystify the outsider.
But look what we get right:
If we tell you to make yourself at home, you can be sure we mean it. It is, in fact, a pledge that will protect you against the zombie apocalypse should it befall you in our homes. We revere our writers, artists, and musicians, even though we have some of the lowest literacy rates in the country. We fixate on a lost war in part because accents and lost causes put together are romantic things. And religion? Fire-and-brimstone brushes against the pure spiritual mysticism that can only be born when suffering crosses hope. We have the suffering; I've got my fingers crossed for the hope.
I don't have a charity picked out yet. I have few in mind but I'm kind of waiting to see where need develops. I'm thinking of one that's focused on the Birmingham arts district and another that helps displaced pets all over. I'm still pretty shell-shocked, as are a lot of us here. Many of you know my own family got hit earlier this month, with storms damaging our home and injuring my husband. We're still recovering from that, but so many people have it worse right now. Thanks to everyone who's been so supportive with their outreach, prayers, and kind comments, esp. Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Kait Nolan, Andrew Mocete, Claire LeGrand, Lauralynn Elliot, Claire Farrell, fellow ROW80ers, and local writer/pal Lacy Marschalk, who has done her time under the sirens with grace and charm. And of course, thanks to my readers for giving April a silver lining. Without you, I wouldn't be able to do any of this at all. Alabama thanks you. So do I, again and again, 'cause you rock my casbah.
Photos by Amanda Chapman
of Amanda Chapman Photography