Posted by Claire Brandon on

I told my therapist that my time spent in the Delta was, “helping me to find joy again” and within the week Rori Herbison called me up to participate in Delta Arts Alliance’s “In Our Own Words” event, an annual fundraiser that allows designated speakers to come and tell their stories surrounding a certain topic. This year’s topic was “joy.”

Never have I been so thankful for the public speaking courses I was forced into at previous jobs and never has writing a speech come so easy. I followed Hank after he loosened up the crowd and closed by reading Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” because I didn’t see another option. 

Emma Spinks, Tricia Walker, Ned Mitchell, Teresa Houston, Chelsea Young, Paul Klossman, Hank Burdine, Malcom White, and Rori Herbison told stories of their own that run the gamut of triumphant, comical, and authentic.


With me, I brought the 70’s full sequin dress that I feel best represents me, but am yet to wear, the tote bag I’ve made through Delta Vintage that helps to support the Delta Arts Alliance, and the pair of PF Flyers my entire family signed a year and a half ago during the first iteration of this company.

A portion of my speech read, “I have joy tonight in being able to ask for help, not just for me but all of us, because it is a reflection of valuing ourselves and of a sustaining hope in others. The Delta has taught me that a person and a place can hold more than one emotion, dream, and past all at once and it’s never too much, never perfect.”

The same goes for the “In Our Own Words” event. The energy that I pursued by returning to the Delta filled the space that night; an energy comprised of all ages, rich with history, laughter, and listening ears.

Hank and I attempting a photo with one of Rory's pieces on display and, in turn, covering the entire thing up. 
Rory Doyle's Delta Cowboys exhibition opens at the Alliance on February 19th at 6:30pm.