It’s an indescribable feeling to live a dream. At once you feel humbled and exhilarated; undeserving and thankful; appreciative and excited; disbelieving and overwhelmed; and above everything else — blessed … very much so.
I’ve experienced all these emotions and more since my dream of writing a novel became a full-fledged reality, complete with a book deal with a New York publishing company and the privilege of now having a movie based on my manuscript being filmed right here in Clinton.
Even as it unfolds, I have to remind myself that this is really happening. It’s not exactly what I anticipated when my best friend, Gloria Edwards, encouraged me to write a book about a murder I had always been fascinated with, one that happened in Clinton back in 1984. While I’m no different than most writers, wanting to pen a piece of fiction that someone would actually want to publish, I never kidded myself that it would actually happen.
And then it did, and I began this journey that has taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, given me the opportunity to forge new relationships and now is allowing me to do something I sincerely pray will be beneficial to this wonderful community I am blessed to call home.
As the film draws closer to principal photography, which begins Oct. 5, we have begun to put our resources back into the community in as many ways as possible, hiring local actors, staff and production assistants, contracting with a local caterer and transportation service and securing about a dozen hotel rooms for crew for about a 30-40-day period.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to local investors who have believed in this project from day one, we are turning Clinton into a little Hollywood and about to make what I hope will be movie magic in my own back yard.
But doing so has left me in a quandary, too. As a journalist, I’ve been trained to be objective, to weigh news value carefully and to never walk too closely to the line between a good story and self-promotion.
And therein lies my quandary. Writing a book and having a movie about it filmed in Clinton is news, some might even say big news. But when you are the publisher and editor of your community newspaper, promoting the very things you would do naturally if they involved someone else becomes a great deal harder.
I judge myself more harshly, weigh the pros and cons of stories involving this project with a far more critical eye and often shy away from having stories written about what’s going on with the movie for fear it will look as if I’m trying to toot my own horn.
But in the cold light of day, the facts outweigh my hesitancy. Not many films have been made in Clinton; not many local actors have been given an opportunity to be in a movie; and not many businesses have benefited from being part of a movie. For all those reasons and many more, there is news value in covering “Tarnished Notes.” And despite the qualms I have, failing to let you, our readers, know what is happening would be a disservice, particularly when so many of you are kind enough to ask me to fill you in on the latest details.
Honestly, the fact that I’m involved in this wonderful adventure is actually the smallest part of this ongoing story, and the part that will play the smallest role in any coverage our newspaper will provide as the film begins shooting here in just a few short weeks.
I’m blessed to be part of a team that is returning much of what was given by Sampsonians back to Sampson County, and I have realized that touting it should be a pleasure not an embarrassment.
I’m very proud to be a part of something special going on in our community, and I am blessed beyond measure to be able to share this opportunity with so many from my community. To say I’m living my dream is a complete understatement, but the girl who makes her living with words truly has few of them that can adequately express just how humbled I truly am by this great adventure I owe to so many others.
Reach publisher and editor Sherry Matthews at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.