Of the several inductees at this Thursday’s East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame banquet, among them novelist Michael Knight, columnist Don Williams, poet Linda Parsons Marion, and blogger Katie Allison Granju, the one everybody’s talking about is Lifetime Achievement honoree Jim Dykes. Some perhaps with a little anxiety.
The self-confessed gonzo journalist, maybe best remembered for his 1980s-era weekly column “Without a Paddle” in the old daily Knoxville Journal, has been living in uncustomarily quiet retirement at Condorhurst, his eccentric Rockford home. Some have wondered whether the famously unpredictable newspaperman would even accept the award.
He tells us he’s humbled by the honor, and promises take it seriously. “Not like that actor from Omaha,” he told us, referring to a certain thespian’s stunt of sending a Native American woman to the stage to reject his Best Actor Oscar. “If I were to send an Indian,” says Dykes, who’s proud of his Cherokee lineage, “I’d send myself.”