The Irony of Being Called a “Fresh” Voice

The SC Humanities Governor’s Award list came out last week and I’m having a Legally Blonde moment.


Yep, the 2021 Fresh Voices in the Humanities recipient list includes yours truly. And I’m thrilled, really, and very flattered. The other awardees are really, really impressive so I’m feeling a little imposter syndrome right about now.

I’ve done 159 episodes of Write On SC and will publish books four and five this year. So, I’m not exactly a newbie. Let’s not think about “fresh” as “new.”

As Unapologetically X fans know, I love a well-placed f-bomb and believe in a fully authentic experience 24/7. So I’m out here just being myself all the time and while I don’t think of myself as “fresh” I have been complimented as funny, talented, and smart. 

Is what I’m bringing to the airwaves and the literary scene something others haven’t seen before? Maybe.

In delivering a talk for Words & Wine I spoke on my GenX-ness and heard crickets. Yep. A room full of Boomers and no one all that impressed with my X-ness. So maybe the literary arts are overdue for a tattooed day drinker. Maybe all those Pat-Conroy-esque southern family saga novels needed a swift kick to the curb.

Maybe “fresh” means refreshing – honest, energetic, optimistic – something that reminds us how much fun all this life stuff is supposed to be. Maybe pull us out of the grind of everyday and transport us to the playground where skateboarders ollie over benches and defy gravity down handrails.

I’m having fun.

Fun in presentations like Words & Wine and in chats like the SCWA’s Writing Conversations series and fun in my Wattpad serialization project. I’m having fun building Instagram graphics to promote Before Pittsburgh and I’m having fun blogging for the SCLP (starts fire, runs away).

I’m having fun with my family at home with me and with our friends at the pool and on the driveway. 

It feels a little braggy to say I’m even having fun working the small dollar projects I lined up for the summer. They’re a little peripheral to what I want to be doing, but they’re earning some moola and paying some bills.

So life feels good right now. And maybe that’s as fresh a take as there is. Considering the dark days of the pandemic and vitriol of the election cycle.

I’m not sure what the Humanities committee members saw in me, but I met one of them over coffee a few days after the announcement and he seemed star struck, like I was some kind of celebrity (go ahead, laugh your head off, I did). 

In any case, my readers and listeners have always been so kind. Thank you. Thank you. This is only the beginning.

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