Sitting at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 15th Street North in downtown Birmingham is a nondescript, abandoned brick building that used to be a motel. From the 1950s up to the late 80s, that little place was owned by a black millionaire and was the center of action for major civil rights meetings and press conferences, served as a revolving door for celebrities like Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles and the like, and became Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home away from home. It was bombed, nearly destroyed and was the scene of a little known riot. It had a popular house band, was a refuge for up-and-coming black executives and had fine dining and a popular happy hour to boot. Yet, no one ever talks about it. That is, until now.
Today my book, “The A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham: A Civil Rights Landmark,” hits bookshelves. Inside, I chronicle the fascinating story of the two-story building and what it meant to the Birmingham community at large.
For years, I have wanted to write a book, any book. I dreamed about it, fantasized about it and talked about it. I wracked my brain on what topic to pursue, debated whether to pen fiction or nonfiction. It went on and on and on… But it wasn’t until I committed to one topic and decided to put pen to paper that I was going to ever get on the other side of a wish.
The process was not glamorous at all. At times, it was quite painful. As a working mother of two and pastor’s wife, I didn’t have time to write. At the end of my days I can barely spell my name, let alone come up with thoughtful subject-verb agreement.
Committing to write a book was like being pregnant. In theory, you want to be, but when the doctor confirms it and you realize you will have someone growing inside of you for the next nine months, you are like OH CRAP! You feel like you are about to suffocate as you realize that there is no turning back now.
Throughout this journey, I plan to give you inside details about how I got to this point, and also document how this whole “being an author” thing impacts my life and writing. I hope to share some thoughtful lessons that may help someone along the way.
Today’s tip: Stop talking about writing a book. Stop reading books about writing. Stop Googling articles. (Not forever, just right now.) Go to your laptop, turn it on and WRITE. For years, I read about, talked about and fantasized about writing a book and didn’t write a darn thing. It wasn’t until I got sick of myself, annoyed by the sound of my voice that I said, “It’s time to do something NOW.”
Meet me at one of my upcoming book signings and let’s chat:
Saturday, Nov. 8
Little Professor Bookstore
2717 18th St. South, Homewood, AL 35209
Saturday, Nov. 15
Books-A-Million, Brookwood Village
757 Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL 35209
Saturday, Nov. 22
Barnes & Noble at the Summit
201 Summit Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35243