Wendy Pollitzer, author, Mom, Charleston native and friend has written an amazing compilation of essays on the South appropriately named South. Her love of Charleston and the surrounding area comes through so clearly that you feel like her experience is that of your own.
I was fortunate to run into Wendy this past weekend and she generously agreed to answer my silly little questionnaire. Here goes!
CG: Why writing?
WP: My Mom was a writer, though never published. She encouraged creative writing at an early age. I’ve always loved to write, especially personal journal entries about my life experiences; although, i went to school for something totally different. My major at Clemson was Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. I worked as the Naturalist at Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort County after college. One of my favorite parts of the job was writing descriptive material and newspaper articles about the coastal environment. I had a passion for both…writing and teaching others about the Lowcountry. Additionally, I had a passion for local history! I wanted to continue my career, but also had the wish to engage in other projects that would combine all three of these. After publishing Isle of Palms and Port Royal, I had the urge to publish again; but this time, I wanted to create a book that would capture the heart and soul of an entire region…I guess my fourth passion…The South.
CG: What inspires you to write about the South, the Lowcountry?
WP: I asked myself that very question not too long ago. Is it the climate? Is it the landscape? Is it the people, the state of mind? Honestly, I was raised the way I want to raise my daughters…and it’s simply about enjoying company in nature. I grew up in the most majestic place…under live oaks and close to the ocean. When I was in high school at Wando, I remember my Marine Biology teacher saying, “The sale marsh is the heartbeat of our ecological system. When seen from the air, our creeks look lik the arteries they are, pumping life into our precious islands”. From that moment, I equated Lowcountry ecology to my heartbeat of life. I can’t exist without it. I love picking crabs. I love shucking oysters. I love buying my fishing license every year from DNR. I love a Piping Plover on the beach, and I love a Great Egret in the marsh. I love to see the dolphins feed in a creek and I love to see them chase shrimp boats. I also love the Windjammer. I love the washout at Folly Beach. I love camping at Capers. I love Darius Rucker! What’s not to love about the Lowcountry! It is what inspires me…Life in the South and live in the Lowcountry. Simple fun with good friends.
**with Wendy at Wine Under the Oaks, Boone Hall
CG: How do you find subject matter?
WP: I wanted to choose essayists who had a sincere appreciation for their communities first. I didn’t want those folks who made it big and forgot about how they got there. And, I wanted a diverse group…of profession, race, culture and socioeconomic status. I carefully researched each contributor’s character and their involvements in their communities. To be honest, I had an intuition about most people I contacted…like most of us do. You kind of know who people are. All of the contributors were so appreciative of this project. They were excited to write about their personal journey of life in the South. And to be fair, I think there are many more contributors out there…it’s just a matter of finding the right email:).
CG: Who would you love to work with if you could choose any author, photographer, editor and publication?
WP: Publication-Garden and Gun…hands down! They have inspired me to go for this! I credit G&G for the surge in Southern Spirit. I think they are truly the cheerleaders of the South!
Author: I am already working with three of my favorite authors…Mary Alice Monroe, Patti Callahan Henry and Pat Conroy and two Poet Laureates…Marjory Heath Wentoworth (SC) and Kathryn Stripling Byer (NC). They are my mentors…period. Just knowing them makes me want to write more. There are so many more of course, but I am so humbled by their enthusiasm for this project. I wish I could have met Maya Angelou before her passing. She inspired so many writers and thinkers!
Photographer: Jody Horton, a Lowcountry native and a professional that is rising to the top…fast!
Deceased I wish I could host at a dinner party: Daniel Boone and Elvis
WP: Of course, decorating the tree with my girls (Abbie, 11 and Julie, 10) is my favorite holiday tradition. Every year they remind me of the story behind each ornament and wear their “Santa’s Little Helpers” aprons. Those three hours of the year are my absolute favorite! My other cherished Holiday tradition is sending Happy New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards, simply because friends and family aren’t expecting mail that week. It’s nice to give a message of well wishes for the new year to those who have made a difference in your life.
CG: Have you written your letter to the North Pole??!
WP: Well…my daughters certainly have! I’m just wishing for some slippers (cheesy but true). Most of all, my wish is to someday come back to Charleston…my home.
CG: Any upcoming events where you will be featuring South?
**Please visit http://www.wendypollitzer.com for more information.
Purchase South at our favorite local retailers:
Boone Hall Farms
Preservation Society of Charleston
I purchased my copy at Patina Blu in Mount Pleasant. It was pre-wrapped and ready to go! My Dad is going to love it. Wendy’s amazing content encompasses all that he loves about the South. Happy Holidays Friends! XOXO, Catherine