Janet L. McCoy


AUBURN -- A new book of short stories and poems by Alabama women features the writing of Auburn University faculty, staff and students.

The book, Ordinary and Sacred As Blood: Alabama Women Speak, was edited by Mary Carol Moran, who teaches writing classes for AU's Outreach program.

A two-year resident of Alabama, Moran met many of the women whose writings are in the book through the class -- Novel Writer's Workshop -- she teaches for AU's Outreach program. She met others through different writing groups.

"I was so impressed by the quality of Alabama writers and got the idea to put something together," she said.

The 75 authors are well-represented statewide and range in age from 15 to 90, she says. "Housewives and doctors and professors and retired accountants have contributed to the book and their words are funny, outrageous, poignant and pointed, and are always genuine."

Moran said when she was putting the book together, she looked for "honest writing, that more than polished writing. I was looking for people who had opinions and who wanted to express it.

"What I found was a lot of ladies who have strong stories to tell."

Natasha Trethewey, an assistant professor of English at AU, has five pieces in the book and a historical picture of her family appears on the book's front cover. Trethewey recently won a prestigious 1999 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, is writing a book based on some earlier short stories and poems she had written.

For Alison Franks, secretary to College of Liberal Arts Dean John Heilman, this is her first time to publish her work. The short story that appears in the book, titled Yes, was taken from a memoir titled Messages for Savannah she wrote for her granddaughter.

Franks said while she has always kept a journal, it wasn't until she took a class from Judy Troy, a professor of English at AU, in 1996 that she was really encouraged to write.

"Judy and others encouraged me to take my journals and gather up all the stories," Franks said. When she finished she had the 180-page book bound and gave it to immediate family members. "I wanted Savannah to know who we were, so I started with when I was born and told her stories, about my mother, my father, her mother, her uncle and about our lives."

Temporary employees Ora Maurer and Diann Greene also have pieces in the book. Maurer, who writes using her maiden name Ora Dark, has only been writing two years. She is currently working on her first novel, and has been commissioned to write a humorous book as well.

Greene, who combines her maiden name, Kenney, with her married name, when she writes, is currently writing a novel loosely based on her mother's life.

In addition, AU students Van Potter, Lauren Kenney and Kimberly D. Martz, also have pieces in the book.

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CONTACT: Moran at 877/213-5139; Franks at 334/844-2183; Greene at 334/749- 3806; or Maureer at 334/821-5009.