Brian Lamar’s natural habitats are usually adorned with dusty books and steaming cups of caffeinated bliss.
Amongst the backdrop of the hiss of espresso machines and patrons discussing their latest finished book of choice, Lamar can be found hunching over a MacBook with a thousand-yard stare, tapping the keyboard like a machine gunner.
“I love to write. Most of my work has been long-form journalism. My favorite thing to write is a personality feature. I love to have conversations with people and then boil down their essence into a thousand words or less to encapsulate their life and memory in a story,” Brian said as he took a long-draw from a ceramic coffee cup.
Lamar, who has published thousands of works in journalism and is a contributing writer to The Gazebo Gazette (who earned a 2021 MPA Award for a weekly column), wanted to pursue a longer piece called The 1913 Beaufort Lynching.
“This is probably my most ambitious piece completed so far. I got the idea for the novella when I was reading an article about a man named Robert Smalls. He was a slave at the docks in Beaufort S.C. and during the war, he snuck off with one of the ships and sailed to freedom at Boston Harbor. He filled it with friends and relatives who were also slaves. He was like a seafaring Harriet Tubman. From there, he was commissioned and paid to run supplies for the Union and after the war, he was eventually elected Senator,” Brian explained.
The novella revolves around the last year of Small’s life when he used his intellect and social clout to go up against an angry lynch mob.
“I don’t want to give anything away for future readers, but I will tell you that the ending may not be what you expect. I wish I had half the courage of Smalls and his band of supporters. It is people like Smalls who helped progress the country as far as it has come. Although, it has a lot more to go in the realm of civil rights,” he said.
Lamar says he got the idea for the story when following up on a friend’s suggestion to check out Smalls. Lamar went to wikipedia since there aren’t many books depicting this civil-rights hero. From there, he started researching and found holes in the story where history books didn’t have much detail.
“That is why I call this a historical fiction. I added as much factual history as I could in this novella, but where the details lacked, I used a bit of artistic license to bridge the gap in information to keep the story going. I tried to weave my fictitious accounts in as accurately as I could to stay true to the actual accounts of what happened,” he said.
Lamar, a Long Beach resident and somewhat of a renaissance man (journalist, photography, app developer and business entrepreneur) hopes to share the story and has plans on a couple of other projects coming soon.