The dictionary defines “resonance” as “the effect of an event or work of art beyond its immediate or surface meaning.” It’s an effect all artists strive for–to communicate in a special way, to touch a life. Resonance is the stuff that makes all the hours of preparation, practice and honing one’s craft worthwhile.
Three weeks ago, I had privileged to share my talk on “What Makes a Southern Story Southern” with the Lifelong Learning Program at East Carolina University in Greenville. I gave the talk as a Road Scholar with the N.C. Humanities Council. A total of 325 people turned out that Saturday afternoon.
Evaluations are part of the process. In all, more than 120 members of the audience gave feedback. I was humbled by their positive comments, including one individual who wrote, “It’s like you must have grown up next door to me.”
Of course I didn’t know this person and she had never been part of my neighborhood, but having heard my presentation, it was as if we had a bond, that human connection that makes us part of one big neighborhood.
It reminded me of a student who pulled be aside a couple of years ago at a community college after a reading of my story, “Priscilla the Meatpacker.”
“Thanks for giving textile workers a voice,” she said.
Her comment meant more to me than any other that day. Though I never lived in a mill village or was part of a textile family, I empathized and re-created their world in a believable way.
I had succeeded as a writer.