Archived Story

Local author wins writing award

Published 2:54pm Monday, July 15, 2013

Mollie Smith Waters was born and raised in the south.

While that alone wasn’t enough to lead Waters down the pathway of becoming a writer, it certainly did hurt.

“ I think, most Southerners are natural-born storytellers, and I have always had an overactive imagination, which I have channeled into writing,” Waters said. “I really enjoy creative writing, but I also enjoy writing accounts about history. I have just sold an article about Savannah Jack to Alabama Heritage magazine; it’s coming out in summer 2014, and I have a contract with the Encyclopedia of Alabama for an article as well. I enjoy researching people and figuring out what makes them tick, and characters are what makes a story so much fun to write.”

Waters’ short story “The Ghost” recently won fourth place at the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, which was held in Fairhope, Ala. The Alabama Writers Conclave supports the development of writers.

“The Ghost” tells the story of a young man who goes to San Francisco in the early 1980s only to come back home to his small southern town carrying the burden of a terrible secret. He has AIDS. Afraid of what others will think, his family tells everyone he has cancer.

“I felt like this was an important issue about which to write because there was, and unfortunately still is, such a stigma attached to the AIDS epidemic, especially in the early 1980s,” Waters said. “No one knew what it was or how to deal with it. In speaking with a friend who worked at an AIDS outreach clinic in Montgomery in the mid-1990s, I discovered that many patients told their families they had cancer instead of AIDS because cancer was an acceptable way to die, whereas, the mindset about AIDS was/is that it is your fault if you get it, which is a tragic way to look at this disease and those who suffer from it.”

The story was one of just eight to receive an award from the nearly 100 entries in the short story category. Four of the awards were honorable mentions.

“I was thrilled that I placed, and it made me feel like my writing endeavors are important,” said Waters, an English teacher at LBW Community College in Greenville.

While Waters enjoys creating characters and writing fiction, she also enjoys writing historical pieces.

“I really enjoy creative writing, but I also enjoy writing accounts about history,” she said. “I have just sold an article about Savannah Jack to Alabama Heritage magazine; it’s coming out in summer 2014, and I have a contract with the Encyclopedia of Alabama for an article as well. I enjoy researching people and figuring out what makes them tick, and characters are what makes a story so much fun to write.”

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