Prior to November 2021, the last printed version of StoryBoard Memphis was in August 2019 – which was also the last time I saw my name in a printed byline.
As both a freelance writer and cancer-prevention advocate, 2021 was a productive year. Nationally recognized for my advocacy work, I was overwhelmed—and deeply humbled—with the acknowledgement and support that I received last year by the many organizations and corporations where I volunteer my time.
In early August, my first fiction story appeared in a mystery anthology, Lies Along the Mississippi, published by the local writers’ group Malice in Memphis. To say I was excited to see my name—in print—on the cover of a trade paperback would be an obvious understatement.
Ecstatic would be a better descriptor.
August 2019, though, is still very special to me. My first printed story—with byline—in over thirty-five years appeared in the former version of StoryBoard Memphis. The Heartbeat of a Neighborhood was a very personal story, which I enjoyed sharing with StoryBoard’s readers.
That picture of the late Paul Drake, holding our son when he was probably less than ten days old, is the essence of Heartbeat. Paul had stopped by that day, gift-in-hand, and said, “Where that boy?” He insisted on holding Zach, told us our newborn looked handsome, and gave Vicki and me some grandfatherly advice that I’ve long since forgotten.
Telling stories is what I love to do. It’s my passion. Seeing my name in print gets my blood pumping and my creative juices flowing, once again.
A heartbeat restored.
Ken Billett has called Memphis home for more than thirty years. A freelance writer, fiction author, and nationally known advocate for skin cancer prevention and research, Ken volunteers his time at the Blues Hall of Fame on South Main in downtown Memphis. When not tending to his flowers, Ken and his wife Vicki travel extensively. StoryBoard Memphis is proud to present Ken’s columns Time Capsules and Get out of Town as ongoing features here on StoryBoard.