The Cats of Harlinsdale, published in 2009, is a soft cover book about the history and farm life at Harlinsdale Farm, Franklin, TN. To order your copy of this book, just send me an email at “The following pages are filled with photographs, illustrations and text in tribute to the enduring presence of our cherished friends. With special thanks to the many caring hands and hearts who assisted us in relocating over 80 felines and their families to new homes.”

Cats of Harlinsdale

Writing Fiction, a work in progress.

In 2004, I was completing a marketing assignment at Travellers Rest in between teaching assignments. My lunchtime sketches in the boxwood garden began have with their own stories and characters. This historic plantation site had a footprint that appeared as a town layout.  It seemed obvious that the characters lived in this town very close to Radnor Lake. With divine intervention, I found a super writing coach, Kelly Falzone, to guide me in this writing adventure.  She encouraged me to keep free writing while she reminded me of mechanics once learned in my high school English class at Harpeth Hall.  She suggested that I participate in workshops at The Conference on The Book at Ole Miss and The Key West Literary Seminar in 2016 and 2018 to work on craft and learn about the publishing business.  In 2019, I participated in the writer’s class at Centennial Club led by published poet, Georganne Harmon. Every year, each writer in the class submits a sample of her best work for publication in the anthology. I have pasted my submission below.

Reviving the Spirit

What was it about being in the woods that revived my worn spirit, feeling the sun’s embrace or the tiny movement of green sprouts reaching upward, first one leaf and then another. I closed my eyes to inhale the delicate sweetness of honeysuckle, the rush of water from the spillway back into the creek and a wood duck’s sharp lonely call to an errant mate. It was if I could feel the bluish sheer layer of my spirit unfold and stretch, waving its arms overhead in a sweeping motion. It was a preview to a mystical dance with the low hum that resonates from the earth. Humans, our heads in the air and feet often not firmly planted on the ground, usually miss the low rumble and vibrations that  signal a change in the weather and migration of herds across the dirt. Change is a constant; yet sometimes it is in hurry-up mode, while other times it seems to drag on endlessly. How could the measurement of time be the same all the time? Does a minute reminiscing with my sweet brother, Wirt, measure the same as standing in line for more dessert? Is it that involving the senses makes us forget the passing of seconds, minutes and hours? I knew this to be true.  My brother has been dead for six years, but it seems more like sixty years, as long as I loved him.  As I lay back in the new grass, this time I felt the rumble, and for a few moments, I let myself hope that, wherever Wirt was, he felt it, too.

Camille Willis. 3/13/19