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Authors Hall of Fame

Posted by , 21 March 2008 · 636 views

On 8 March 2008, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was inducted as the 47th member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) Hall of Fame. The setting was perfect, The Citadel, The Military College of S.C. The man most of you only knew by his nom de plume, Robert Jordan was a graduate of the Citadel and adored his alma mater. Jim would have loved the attention and been embarrassed by it. You see, he wrote not for acclaim. He wrote because that's what he loved to do. But every one of us likes a pat on the back and a "well done" from time to time. This ceremony was exactly that, a public affirmation of what we fans of Robert Jordan already know. Jim, aka Robert Jordan, has taken the world of fantasy to a level that was only a dream before. The long narrative is possible because of Jim. A writer in his genre was quoted recently for having said that we owe the likes of Harry Potter to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Jim did not live to hear that line, he did however know that the SC Authors had named him to the Hall. He was informed of it at the beginning of September 2007. Jim's response, "I'll be there", for the ceremony. He lost his fight only two weeks later, but he left knowing that he'd had that pat on the back from his peers. For that, I am eternally grateful. Well done, bubba.

The evening was a celebration of Jim the man and RJ the writer. Mike Livingston, a Professor of English at the Citadel was asked to speak about Robert Jordan. He began with the first three lines from Beowulf. He detailed how fantasy has always been an important art, inspiring us all to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, to aspire for greatness and not settle for mediocrity. He wove a brilliant tapestry of fantasy through the ages landing upon our own Jim. R.J.'s impact on the genre will be felt for as long as man pens fantasy.

Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina, was asked to speak of the man, Jim Rigney. She told of his mentoring of promising students. She recalled how he had seemed even more excited than she when she was named Poet Laureate. She talked at length of his generosity of education and his community. She remembered fondly his story telling, his singing and his most thunderous laughter. Marjory counted herself blessed for having had Jim as a friend.

The official words inducting Jim into the Hall were pronounced by D. Oliver Bowman, Chair of the 2008 SCAA Induction Committee. Our Harriet was radiant, a smile ever present. She worked her way through the crowd of over 150 making sure that she spoke with everyone. A special treat for her and all of us gathered were the "1st Graders", a group of 14 ladies with whom Harriet had begun school, that's right, in the 1st grade. There were 8 of them in attendance. They gather at least monthly to chat over lunch or tea. By way of acknowledging them, Harriet gave a Robert Jordanish, "Hoot Hoot", which brought laughter and an encore call. So, she did it again.

Linda Ferguson and Ellen Hyatt, SCAA board members, presented Harriet with a Memorial Gift, a clock. All felt it most appropriate for the Creator of the Wheel of Time.

The mood of the evening was light. Still as people talked of my Brother/Cousin, I was transported back to that horrible time in September. Perhaps the wound is like that in Rand's side, it may never heal. I do hope that it does, for I am sure that Jim would rather I remember the laughter, not the pain. That goes for all of us really. This night in Charleston, the Two Rivers made terra firma, the people gathered under the large oaks of Stedding Citadel, to sing the songs of praise to one of our own, James Oliver Rigney, Jr., who though passed will live in our hearts forever.

Wilson...
Brother/Cousin of the warrior god...
4th of 3

Pictures from the Event (click to enlarge)

Harriet and Catherine at home

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Video from the event







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