Local Author Writes About Life in Tyrrell County

Published 9:32 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Author and Professor of English at College of The Albemarle, Dean Roughton frequently returns to his Tyrrell County roots

Author and Professor of English at College of The Albemarle, Dean Roughton frequently returns to his Tyrrell County roots

Dean Roughton is no stranger to life experiences.

“Where others often try to hide the moments of sheer stupidity in their lives, I am more apt to dress mine up, parade them around, and poke them with a stick,” he said.

These moments will be compiled together into “The Most Educated Idiot I Know”, a book Roughton has been working on.

The book falls into the Humor and Memoir genre.

One of Roughton’s frequent readers, Ginger Cahoon Hassell – a lifelong resident of Columbia, has this to say about the book:

“Dean’s proclivity to laugh when others would cry is contagious! In this book, he takes his own life experiences and makes you laugh nonstop. Then you realize that when it happened to you it wasn’t funny! The way you handle life’s problems is a matter of perspective. Dean’s perspective is advantageous because it gives him something to write about, something to make others laugh about, and hopefully will give others a reason to laugh at their own misfortunes.”

Roughton would say he was born and raised in Columbia, except that Tyrrell County residents of his generation were born in Chowan Hospital in Edenton, NC.

“I did grow up in Columbia and attended public school there until my junior year of high school when I moved to Durham, NC to attend the NC School of Science and Math. After that I went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill for my Bachelor’s Degree and North Carolina State University for my Master’s,” he explained.

Every writer has unique thoughts about the writing process and how best to perfect it.

Misconceptions about writers or the writing process make it hard to give honest advice.

“Often students think that either you are born with a talent for writing or you are not, that “real writers” are those that somehow are more in touch with inspiration and can just magically pull words from the air.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Writing is a learned skill and takes a lot of work. And then more work,” said Roughton.

Roughton gave that advice in class once a couple of years ago, and a student asked him what he was currently working on.

“But I could not give him a legitimate answer because it had been so long since I actually wrote anything not related to my work at the college. The soul searching that followed class that day is really the impetus for the book,” he said.
Roughton plans to do readings to coincide with the release of the book at venues in Columbia and Elizabeth City sometime in September.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to a fund established for the children of Barry Jackson. Jackson, a lifelong friend of Roughton, also grew up in Columbia but lived with his wife and children in Edenton, NC during his adult years before he passed away in January of this year.

“Anybody who knew Barry knew that one of his missions in life was to put a smile on the face of anyone he encountered. I hope the sections of the book which mention him continue that legacy,” Roughton said.