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March 29, 2014

Pickett knows her way around South

THOMASVILLE — The Bookshelf is set to host a reading and book signing by a “true Southerner who knows her way around the derby” on Saturday from  2 p.m.-4 p.m.

F. Diane Pickett was born in Atlanta and has more than 300 years of Southern heritage in her family genes and writing. Some of that history can be found in the Thomasville area as well as throughout other parts of the state and Florida.

When she was 16 years old, Pickett began going to school at Leon High School. Then she went on to Florida State University. For 25, she lived in Tallahassee, Fla.

Frequently, she made visits to Thomasville. On her days off, Pickett shopped here. One store she always visited was Neil’s Department Store.

She said, “It was a wonderful store. To this day, I regret not buying a dress I wanted from there. I can’t go through Thomasville today without thinking about that dress.”

Her book, which she will be signing at the Bookshelf, is entitled Never Isn’t Long Enough.

The book follows a field of flawed and flamboyant characters as they race through page after page of sparkling wit, drama, tragedy and conflict. The story is based on how a single mistake can turn the promise of youth into a lifelong quest of retribution.

Pickett used her Southern heritage and family background to tell the story.

Her grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher who fought in the Civil War. Knowing this history gave her plenty of inspiration to write the book.

It also exemplifies history on nearly every page.

“There’s lots of history in the book. I tried to place the characters in the time of their history. For example, what was happening during that time in history and how it was affecting people,” said Pickett.

She found motivation in writing the book while recovering from lung cancer.

She said, “You think about your mortality in times like that — and the word ‘never’ comes to mind.”

The sSuthern author remembered a phrase her father used when talking about eternity.

“He would tell me to imagine an eagle sharpening its talons on a mountain— and when the mountain wears down, then that’s eternity,” said Pickett.

From that point on, she took the story and created a saga about her family.

Pickett also has a deep connection with Florida Chautauqua in DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

In 1993, she formed an organization now called The Florida Chautauqua Center Inc. The sole purpose of the organization was reviving, promoting and sustaining the original Florida Chautauqua Assembly.

Pickett said, “Florida Chautauqua was a forerunner to adult community education.”

To support the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, Pickett is donating proceeds from Never Isn’t Long Enough to it. For more information on the Florida Chautauqua Assembly., visit www.florida-chautauqua-center.org.

More information onPickett and her book can be found at www.uphillpub.com.

Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, etc. 1826.

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Georgia Department of Education District Effectiveness Specialist Bobby Smith educates Thomas County teachers about Georgia’s new accountability program, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, at a Tuesday meeting.

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