I’ve never read It Takes a Village, the 2006 work by Hilary Clinton and her ghostwriter, Barbara Feinman. But, I know the premise, that raising a child to reach their full potential requires the positive influence of people beyond the immediate family. Parents can’t do it alone. They need support from teachers, neighbors, police, doctors, nurses, and others. Regardless of your political leanings and feelings about the author and the argument, the notion is relevant to what it takes to be an author.
To my mind, no one represents this better than Kimberly Brock, the 2013 Georgia-Author-of-the-Year-Award winner. Kimberly embodies the concept. She has created a community for writers—make that several. Perhaps a whole village.
I first learned of Kimberly at a writers conference when an agent commented my novel’s subject reminded her of The River Witch—the work that won Kimberly the award. The conference couldn’t end soon enough. I sped to the nearest library to see for myself. Whether my story and writing style echo Kimberly’s in any way I’ll let you to decide. Regardless, Kimberly appeared on my radar.
Our paths crossed again a few months later. In the spring of 2014, PointsNorth Magazine reviewed my novel. At the risk of revealing how anxious I was to see it in print, I’ll confess to checking the newsstands daily, hoping to grab the first few issues “hot off the press”. After a few days with no results and fearing public ridicule, I resorted to checking online. There, I spied an archived issue with Kimberly Brock on the cover.
Then, the following month, I heard Kimberly speak at another conference. Later still, I bumped into Kimberly again. I wasn’t stalking her. Honest.
This time, her name appeared under the “about” tab of a writing organization I follow—She Reads. The group’s stated purpose is to discover, discuss, introduce, and promote books to readers. Kimberly pitched in with the blog network and social media angles and then founded the SheReads literacy outreach program, She Reads Gives Back.
If this weren’t enough for the average human being, Kimberly organized the Tinderbox Writing Workshop. In her weekly workshop sessions, she helps others who are experimenting with writing but find themselves shy of their creative potential. With her warm personality, Kimberly is perfect for the role. When she shares stories from her upbringing in the South and laughs at her own foibles, workshop attendees drop their guard and open their eyes and minds.
I’ll never forget a seminar Kimberly led last August, where the fifty or so attendees—most of whom had a hard time remembering kindergarten—sat around tables fashioning colorful objects from clay. With our hands busy, we cleared our heads and let our thoughts wander. Exactly what Kimberly intended.
Kimberly Brock is one tireless woman. Did I mention her three children, her Pilates instruction studio, or her free workshops? For someone who claims to be shy and introverted, she busy lighting fires in so many others. Hilary may be right. It may take a village but the village had best have a genuine heart at its core, one as big as Kimberly’s.
Read more about Kimberly Brock at: www.kimberlybrockbooks.com