Wordsmith Paula Morrell has given Argenta--and anyone within earshot of NPR, World Radio Network, PRX, and Stitcher--the gift of the southern story.
1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: My name is Paula Martin Morell, and I am a writer, the executive producer of Tales from the South Radio Show, an adjunct English professor at Pulaski Tech, and I have a publishing company. Oh, and I homeschool my three kids. Originally from Pine Bluff, I moved to Little Rock when I was twelve and have been living here off and on for the past 34 years. This last stint here has been 11 years, living in Capitol View.
2. What inspired you to start Tales from the South? Storytelling has always been very important to me. As a kid I would sit around for hours and listen to my grandfather (Gramps) and dad tell stories. I taught myself to read at age four so that I didn't have to wait for someone to read me the books I was so fascinated with. I've been a writing stories ever since I can remember, and I've been teaching how to write stories for over 20 years. So, when the opportunity to have a platform for people to write and share their stories with literally millions of people materialized, I was all in. Storytelling is incredibly vital for individuals and society as a whole: it's how we connect with our past, present, and future; it's how we connect with each other; and it's how we connect with ourselves.
3. What is, hands down, your favorite meal you can only get in (or around) Little Rock? I co-owned Starving Artist Cafe' in Argenta for eight years and just recently sold my half to my now ex-husband, Jason. He is a brilliant chef, and I got to eat there every day, so I was very spoiled. His pan-seared salmon is the best I've ever had--not just in Little Rock, but anywhere. He's a saucier at heart, so any of his sauces he puts on fish (lemon-caper vinaigrette, basil vinaigrette, red pepper coulis, roasted garlic aioli-- my mouth is now watering), as well as his soups, are amazing. Back to the question at hand: my favorite meal I can only get in Little Rock is Starving Artist Cafe's pan-seared salmon with lemon-caper vinaigrette, with risotto and sauteed vegetables. And a glass of Chateau Bonnet.
4. Finish this sentence: My job is awesome because...I get to help people connect with themselves, others, and the world.
5. What do you think is Little Rock's best kept secret? All of the incredible trails you can easily get to either in or just outside of Little Rock. In just a few short minutes you can be in the beautiful Arkansas outdoors. I am a barefoot runner, and my favorite trail to run is Pfeiffer Loop, which is at the base of the Big Dam Bridge on the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River Trail.
Tales from the South takes place most Tuesdays, year-round. Tickets are $7.50 and are available at talesfromthesouth.com.