When Melissa R. Smith experienced a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, she knew her story had to be shared. As a new writer, Smith learned to navigate the world through her psychological and physical challenges. 

Smith joined the Burlington Artist League Gallery to help publish her first story, “My Life Interrupted,” and gain recognition. The Burlington Artist League Gallery encourages writers to get involved in our community by sharing their stories.

The Burlington Artist League held a meet-and-greet from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 featuring aspiring new writers such as Smith and Donald L. Fuller who discussed their books. 

“My Life Interrupted” discusses Smith’s ability to adapt and manage life after her injury.  

“I just kept going. And for those who have had a traumatic brain injury, the life you have planned may not be what you receive so embrace the change life has brought you,” Smith said. “Embrace the future as it is.” 

Smith’s memory from her childhood and time before the accident has dissipated over the years. She only recalls the information from her medical record and the rehabilitation center that allowed Smith to recuperate into society. 

“I feel blessed because I'm still here … I just hope people get inspiration from my book. That's why I wrote it,” Smith said. 

Wayne H. Drumheller, a member of the Burlington Artist League Gallery, said his goal is to inspire writers to publish their work. As a photojournalist and publisher, he has given opportunities for writers to gain recognition within their field.

Additionally, Drumheller is the editor and founder of the Creative Short Book Writers Project, a group of published authors who support local writers. This project has helped over 100 local writers publish their work within the community. He has also published 15 books as the founder of Alamance Writers Night and Writer in Residence at the Historic Textile Heritage Museum.

He said he wants to bring the community together through new ideas and aspirations that will motivate writers to join the league. Drumheller is motivated by the writer's creativity and personal experiences that will inspire readers to write. 

“I created this league to help local and regional writers get recognition for their work,” Drumheller said. “I myself have written a few stories and believe these individuals deserve a chance to show their work.”

For students interested in supporting our local writers, contact balartgallery@gmail.com or call (336) 584-3005