AN INSPIRATIONAL BLAST
September 21, 2016
What a wonderful week. The Literary Festival here in West Jefferson was truly a blast. Attendance was fantastic. All of the authors were super non-divas and, I think, enjoyed themselves as much as the attendees.
I found it very inspirational. The workshops were especially good this year and I'm at work following up what I learned, relearned, thought about, and was inspired by from the week.
Darnell Arnoult has me on a poem a day, which is kind of a strange exercise for me... I've never much thought about being a poet, but it's really kind of working and it's inspiring the work on my novel. Jeremy had me writing two scenes...one of which is definitely going to find its way into the novel somewhere.
Then, to top it all off, the NEXT DAY after the Festival we headed off to Nashville for a recording session at Omni Studios. Henry's first single with Lamon Records is now "in the can" as they say and ready to be mixed. We expect it out within a month. How can that not be exciting? And it's wonderful to watch pros at their work in general. Great musicians, a fabulous studio, it's all kind of overwhelming but I'll try my best to get over it.
Not to get any dust on me, we start The Cotswold Way on Monday. Seven days of hiking 103 miles. Then in Bath we meet up with all our UK friends for five days of hilarity, confusion, talk, eating, etc. That is if I can get it together to get packed...
September 6, 2016
We're getting ready to go on a big hike in England at the end of the month. In the run up to this trip, we've been jaunting around the High Country, tackling as many trails and logging as many miles as we can in between everything else that seems to be swirling around us right now.
Up on Elk Knob, Henry, buddy Kevin, and I were paused for a snack before trekking back down the mountain when up popped a group of college kids who exclaimed at the view, "There's so much nature!" We laughed. They were embarrassed. But, indeed there's a shitload of nature around here. I've been trying my best to enjoy it, while grinding out some miles in preparation for the Cotswold Way, 103 miles, in 7 days.
But before we get on that plane, Henry is recording a single in Nashville and traveling to Banff for work. I've got the On the Same Page Literary Festival descending next week (don't miss it if you can www.onthesamepagefestival.org) and all the getting ready those things entail.
Not to pile on too much, but this year's exhibit at the Ashe County Arts Center running in conjunction with the Literary Festival, is the pairing of artists and writers called More Than Words. I've written two poems to go along with the gorgeous art work of Joanie Bell. Coincidentally, we've both spent a good amount of time in the UK, stayed in some of the same Landmark Trust properties, and hiked many of the same landscapes there. So, we decided to inspire one another with a very English twist this year. Come on out and see our work, and that of many other visual artists paired with writers from our region. To wet your whistle to do so, here are my two poems. Click on the "More Than Words" link to your left. You'll have to come to the Arts Center to see Joanie's work that goes with them.
March 13, 2016
I've been busy the last few months helping my Henry out with recording a new CD entitled "Need to Know." It includes five original songs, representing five really different kind of tunes, with everything from just his guitar and voice, to the kitchen sink of instruments - I'm even me flute for one of them. The recording process is really quite interesting, and I enjoyed the bit of time I spent in the studio.
So, go check it out! The CD is available on Spotify, Amazon, and shortly, ITunes for download. In a couple of weeks, you'll be able to buy an actual physical CD from CDBaby.com if you're not into that streaming thing that all the "young folk" do.
Check the link to the right and you can click on a video we made for his song "Damascus Gate" which features pictures from our visit to the Old City of Jerusalem as well as a few antique photographs.
January 24, 2016
Mark your calendars to hear contributors from this anthology read from the book at the Ashe Friends of the Library meeting, scheduled for February 24 (11:00 a.m.) in the library's meeting room.
On hand we'll have Suzanne Moore, Becky Stragand, Scot Pope, Melissa Edmondson, Henry Doss and me!
The library is in downtown West Jefferson, (more…)
December 13, 2015
Our December Wordkeepers is coming up on Saturday the 19th. It's always a big show -- generally the biggest attendance of the year. Not sure why. You'd think people have plenty to do this close to Christmas, but they do like to come out and read and listen in December.
The Arts Center isalways decked with a display of local trees, and that's pretty special. And we do always have extra good refreshments, including wine and some special punch (yes, it WILL be leaded).
We're usually full up with readers and have a plenty big audience to enjoy the fun. So come on out if you're in town. 303 School Avenue in West Jefferson NC. It's the place to be at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 19. Email me if you're thinking you have something to share.
October 28, 2015
November means it's NANOWRIMO - national novel writing month. I've participated in this event the last few years with varying amounts of success. I guess you could call 60,000+ words on a novel a pretty good average, although I haven't followed the precise prescription each time. The idea is that you write every day in November, vomit draft style, at the end of the month you then have a 50,000 word novel draft.
The book I started with NANO in 2013 is the one I've been working on since and I've made a good amount of progress, with the help of my writing group compadres Becky and Diana. Each of us are now in the process of beating our work into shape and plan to use the NANO month to drive us home to good final draft stages by year's end.
It's a heavy load, but we can do it! We'll play with the daily word count format to suit our needs -- some of us need to organize and position what we already have and fill in the "gaps" of our stories, so we will be working with our work, as it were, rather than sticking to a precise word county each day. We're also going to have some "write ins" together -- days we get together and write. We plan a grand sharing at the end of the month.
Wish us luck! And if you've a mind, check out the website and join in: nanowrimo.org
October 1, 2015
Oh, I hope you didn't miss it...we had such a wonderful time. I would have written more about it right after, but I got sick as a dog and like others who have contracted this "crud" it's been a couple of weeks knocking it back.
It would be hard to pick out just the highlights, but you can see lots of pictures from the Festival on the On the Same Page Festival website (onthesamepagefestival.org) or join the Festival's Facebook page.
It's hard sometimes to spend all year putting something like a literary festival together and then step back from it after -- or even during -- to understand what kind of experience has been crafted for the attendees. We can look at numbers; we can look at comments and evaluation forms...but it's hard to capture what went "right" and where we can improve, where we can make next year even better.
The even better part is the hardest when you've had such a wonderful experience. I'll just keep working on that.
September 8, 2015
On the Same Page Literary Festival happens here in West Jefferson in September. It's a nice time of year here -- the trees are just beginning to turn, the weather is generally cool-ish. In its 8th year, we have developed an excellent and professional little event, and I DO mean little. Big names in books, but a "little" feel to the thing -- intimate numbers, a chance to really talk to the authors, workshops with workable numbers of participants and a cooperative, rather than competitive, spirit about it.
We'll have a big "Reflections on the New River" event, too, on Saturday morning at the Farmers Market. It will be a great next-to-last event for the Festival. I'm expecting 20 or so of the writers to show up to share their work and sign books.
By that afternoon, I'll be face down. I think this is my 5th year of working on the coordinating committee for the Festival. We work all year long putting it together, and it's an exercise in stamina for us to make it all happen in those five days.
If you're in our neighborhood, be sure to come. Check out the schedule I've posted here or go to the website. We've got a wonderful line up - you won't be sorry you came.
August 19, 2015
We've had a really nice summer with the book so far. Highlights have included the event at Main Street Books in Davidson, NC, with many friends new attending, and good old buddies showed up as well. Eight of us trucked up (and down and over) to Roanoke to WVTF Virginia Public Radio, and were recorded reading from our "Reflections on the New River" work. I was interviewed about putting the book together as well. We expect an hour-long show to eventually be produced with the material, to be aired later this year.
McFarland Publishers put out their newsletter yesterday, and we appeared in the #2 spot for printed books. It's very gratifying to see our marketing efforts at work. Next up is the On the Same Page Literary Festival appearance on Saturday, September 19, 10:00 a.m. at the Ashe County Farmers Market spot. So far, nearly 20 of the contributors to the book are planning to be on hand. It should be wonderful!
June 23, 2015
I'm madly packing. I actually enjoy doing it - yes, it is crazy. But it's a challenge and an art, to assemble, anticipate, craft, wash, fold… I am getting really good at it, to tell you the truth.
It has been a whirlwind around here. We started out with a big dinner part -- a fundraising Feast for the Arts -- here at our house, then moved right on to the big book launch party, a rained out festival, then a special poetry reading and Wordkeepers, and a salon and performance for Henry and Scot. That's all in the last 10 days. Seriously?
Tomorrow my sister gets here -- she's minding my house and taking care of the kitties while we're gone to Jerusalem to participate in the Mt. Zion Dig again this year. In a weird way, the dig will be a kind of break in the action. As soon as we return, it all starts up again with book events, then a writing workshop (for which I have MUCH preparation to do) and then the Literary Festival… I think I'll have to rest for the holidays!
All of it. Every crazed minute, is good stuff, though. Stuff for which I am honored and privileged to have a part. Good thing I decided to go ahead and chop my hair and let the gray shine because no way would I have any time to deal with the!-