Tuesday, February 2, 2016

When Arts Collide, by Carla Damron

As part of the One Book, One Community project here in Columbia, SC, several events have been scheduled that involve other forms of art. Last Thursday, which was the launch for The Stone Necklace, I heard two songwriters perform a piece they wrote about a scene in my novel. It was quite remarkable.

The scene they chose wasn’t a major plot point. It wasn’t the car crash or the hospitalization of the teenage girl. It was a small scene, in a church, when Sandy, a recovering nurse, attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Sandy doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t want to be among addicts. She struggles to accept that she is one. But she must attend, or she may lose her job and her nursing license.  We sit with her in that meeting, experiencing it as she does. Feeling what she feels. It’s a step—a small one, but a step—in her recovery.

Why did this appeal to the songwriters? I don’t know, but Todd Mathis and Cully Salehi’s song, “Somewhere Else,” is a powerful testament about life in recovery. They “get” Sandy. And listening to this remarkable music warmed me. I felt like I had shared a character in a way I’ve never done before. What an honor.

The next event is this Thursday at Tapp’s in downtown Columbia. Off Page: Artists Respond to the Stone Necklace will feature works by several photographers. The exhibit opens at 6 PM with a panel discussion at 7. I cannot wait to see these works and to talk with these talented artists. What did they see that maybe I didn’t?  

The third “artist’s response” will be an evening of Improvisational Theatre inspired by my novel. The multi-talented Vicky Saye Henderson, who also narrated the audiobook, will lead this participatory event. I’m excited to imagine how this might unfold, though honestly, I hope it unfolds without me being on stage!

The arts are colliding in Columbia, SC. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of it.

Have you had an experience like this with one of your writing projects?  


  1. Carla -- your experiences are totally out of the realm of my experiences. So, I clap from the sidelines and watch and (hopefully) learn.

    ~ Jim

  2. What a great story. I would have been overwhelmed--and probably weepy.

    For the last couple years, a local magazine has partnered with other organizations to kind of bring magazine stories to life. So when I wrote a feature about local comic book creators, the magazine and the public library hosted an evening where folks in the community could come meet the writer and the artist profiled in my piece and hear how they work together to create comic books. And this past summer, the magazine commissioned a song to commemorate the return of 17-year cicadas. Fun, creative ways to draw people in and create a little publicity for the mag.

    Savor the rest of your One Book, One Community events!

  3. Wow! I would love to have that experience. Way to go.

  4. Julie that sounds great! Would love to hear the cicada song.
    Jim and Warren, I know how lucky I am. I wish every writer could experience this. Seeing my chapters on the newspaper website is especially exciting--I attribute it to some very creative editors and community supporters willing to take a risk.

  5. This is so totally awesome, Carla. I can't wait until my copy of your book that I ordered comes in the mail. I loved your Caleb Knowles' series, and I think this will be as good or even better.

  6. Yeah, Carla! This experience is so well deserved. It's a tribute to your writing that it can inspire creative work from other artists. How wonderful that you are able to see their efforts as your novel is released. Way to go and may the celebration continue!

  7. Carla, what a wonderful post and what a wonderful concept and way to bring life to the One Book, One Community project. All of the arts are (or should be) interconnected, each giving inspiration to the other. Wish I was closer, I'd love to witness these events. Congratulations.

  8. Like Kait said, I wish I was closer so I could take part in these events. How wonderful that your book has inspired these other artists. So cool! I am so happy for you!

  9. Wish y'all were closer, too! Oh, the trouble we'd get into.

  10. Carla, what a wonderful set of experiences you're having! We're all cheering for you, and wish you maximum exposure (and sales) for your book.