THE LOVE OF BASEBALL

From the Winston-Salem Journal:

October 15, 2017

(See the quick links for a direct link to the article)

Ashe County writer shares love of craft with others in the mountains
By Lisa O’Donnell Winston-Salem Journal Oct 11, 2017 (0)

Throughout her career, Chris Arvidson was the go-to person when someone needed something written well.

These days, Arvidson works at writing well for her own creative fulfillment.

A Michigan native who retired to West Jefferson with her husband several years ago, Arvidson is involved in several writing and literary projects in Ashe County while making sure she has plenty of time to devote to her own writing.

Her most recent project is an anthology of essays by baseball fans about their love of the game. She co-edited the collection, “The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans” with Diana Nelson Jones, a longtime reporter and columnist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Arvidson contributed her own essay, “Nothing Else Like It,” about the Detroit Tigers magical run to the World Series title in 1984.

The publisher of the book, McFarland, also published an earlier anthology she edited, “Reflections on the New River.”

It turns out that McFarland publishes a lot of books about baseball, and Arvidson just happens to be a self-described “freak” about the sport.

A baseball-themed book seemed a natural.

“Diana and I came up with a list of everyone we knew who were freaks and have good stories,” she said. “It was easy to come up with 30 people.”

Besides writing, Arvidson also helped start Wordkeepers, which gives local writers around Ashe County a chance to read their work.

“People can read whatever they want for five minutes,” she said.

The writing salons have been held every other month for about 10 years, routinely drawing 20 to 30 writers.

Arvidson, whose house faces Mount Jefferson and overlooks West Jefferson, tries to write every day, and meets frequently with a small group of writers for support and critiques.

Q: How would you describe your art?

Answer: I like to write about people and topics that I, and others, feel passionate about. I hope my writing projects reflect this.

Q: How have you evolved as an artist?

Answer: I have had several wonderful writing teachers who have helped me stop being timid with my work. Now, at this point in my life, there’s isn’t much I’m afraid to say or write about — a great gift for a writer. I have also begun writing poetry in the last few years.


Q: Who has influenced your art?

Answer: My mentors at Goucher College, where I did my MFA, were fantastic. I continue to look to them and my colleagues in the program. In fact, many Goucher “Gophers” are represented in the baseball book. I have also had the opportunity to get to know some terrific writers through working on Ashe County’s On the Same Page Literary Festival. We are able to attract first-rate authors to a small intimate event, so I’ve been able to develop some wonderful writer friendships through the festival.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Answer: Always, to keep moving forward. To stay on track. To put my butt in the seat and write!

Q: What does art do for you?

Answer: It’s the way I make sense of the world.

Q: Any advice for other artists?

Answer: As a writer, I’d say there’s no substitute for the good old “butt in seat.” And, don’t be afraid. I imagine this is really true for all kinds of creative endeavor. For writers in particular, I’d suggest finding yourself a support/writers group you can meet with regularly, and more importantly, be accountable to. It really helps in keeping your momentum.

Lisa O’Donnell writes about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to lodonnell@wsjournal.com or call 336-727-7420.
If you go

What: Ashe County writer Chris Arvidson will talk about "The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans" at Bookmarks, 634 W. Fourth St., 7 p.m., Oct. 25 as part of the Four on Fourth series, which will also feature Jennifer Bean Bower, Barbara Scott and Maura Way.

Having a Wonderful Time!

October 13, 2017

Tags: UNC Charlotte, baseball, The Love of Baseball, book readings

I am having a wonderful time with the baseball book -- seeing friends, going to great bookstores, getting great pictures taken. What could be more fun? I get to go to great bookstores like Scuppernong in Greensboro and yak with baseball fans. I get to talk with friends on the radio like D.G.Martin (I'll post the link from his Chapel Hill radio station soon), and next week I'll be in DC seeing friends and signing books at Mike Fraioli and Carol Eickert's house. YAY!

Thank You Olivet!

October 2, 2017

Tags: Olivet College, almuni, homecoming, baseball book

So much fun this past weekend. I went to homecoming for my undergraduate college, Olivet, in Olivet, Michigan. Wonderful seeing friends from, gulp, 40 years ago. And they sure supported me -- buying 25 books. We also had a wonderful lunch and the chance to sing with old classmates. I'm not the pro that these folks were, so it was a pleasure to sing with such wonderful voices. Truly. We had the audience with the selections anyway, but when we got to the Olivet Hymn, I saw some teary faces out there. Fun after the football game included the Kathy Ford Band, a sorority sister who knows every 70s rock tune that we all listened to at the bar.

Speaking of "the bar," our old haunt, Garfield Lake Tavern, is sadly a "KEEP OUT" wreck. That more than anything made me feel a bit old. But, truly, my friends all looked fantastic and I think we've aged very well indeed.

So, thanks Olivet and all the great Olivet folks who forked over their bucks for books. You are the best!

Events coming up

September 21, 2017

Tags: baseball, love, anthology, Chris Arvidson, Diana Nelson Jones

Here's the events coming soon, friends!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 -- Pittsburgh Release Party. City Books, Northside, 908 Galveston, Pittsburgh, PA. Time is TBA. Join Editor Diana Nelson Jones and Pittsburgh area contributors.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 -- Olivet College, Homecoming Saturday, 12 noon - 2:00 p.m. Klock Commons. Editor Chris Arvidson will be there to sign and sell books.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 -- Scuppernong Books and Cafe, Greensboro, NC. 3-5:00 p.m. It's a wonderful downtown bookshop. Join Editor Chris Arvidson and area contributors for a reading and signing.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 -- Home of Carol Eickert & Michael Fraioli, Chevy Chase, MD. 2-5:00 p.m. RSVP to Chris Arvidson (chrisarvidson.com). Books, food and fun with area contributors.

Lots Already Going On!

August 29, 2017

Tags: baseball, writing, essays, anthology

We've already got some great book signing and reading events set up for The Love of Baseball. Here they are so far:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 -- the big local premiere! 5-7:00 p.m. at the Ashe County Arts Council. Reading, signing, wine and snacks -- don't miss it!

NEW! Saturday, September 16 - 6:30 p.m. EST -- I will be on KNBR in the Bay Area, the flagship station for the San Francisco Giants. (KNBR.com)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 -- Pittsburgh Release Party. City Books, Northside, 908 Galveston, Pittsburgh, PA. Time is TBA. Join Editor Diana Nelson Jones and Pittsburgh area contributors.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 -- Olivet College, Homecoming Saturday, 12 noon - 2:00 p.m. Klock Commons. Editor Chris Arvidson will be there to sign and sell books.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 -- Scuppernong Books and Cafe, Greensboro, NC. 3-5:00 p.m. It's a wonderful downtown bookshop. Join Editor Chris Arvidson and area contributors for a reading and signing.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 -- Home of Carol Eickert & Michael Fraioli, Chevy Chase, MD. 2-5:00 p.m. RSVP to Chris Arvidson (chrisarvidson.com). Books, food and fun with area contributors.

Earlier than Expected - Looks Gorgeous!

August 6, 2017

Tags: baseball, book, Chris Arvidson, Diana Nelson Jones, fan, sports, McFarland

It's here, it's here! I got home from a meeting on Thursday and there were books on my front porch! I wasn't expecting them until mid-September, so now I'm off on a tear to get readings/signings scheduled. If you preordered the book from the publisher (see the link on the right) you can expect to see it momentarily on your own doorstep. Amazon still has a mid-September date on their site, but I expect that will be changing soon.

Buckle in, friends. "The Love of Baseball" is here!

Back from Jerusalem

July 26, 2017

Tags: archaeological, UNCC, dig, Mount Zion, James Tabor, Shimon Gibson

Back from the dig. Pretty pleased with myself. Managed heat and tough physical activity pretty damn well, if I do say so myself. Many exciting discoveries and, as always, the people were the best, including especially my old Sigma Beta college sorority sister Cheryl Fischer Schaffer and the dig leaders James Tabor and Shimon Gibson . I also got the chance to see Tamar, an archeological park/dig in the Negev desert south of the Dead Sea. Fantastic place.

NOW, it's on to getting ready for the big book release in September. You can pre-order it on Amazon, or direct from the publisher: mcfarlandbooks.com. Or, you can wait to see me somewhere near you soon. I'll start setting up signings soon and keep you all posted. I'll also be putting up a book webpage as well. Stay tuned!

Baseball and Digging

July 4, 2017

Off to the UNC Charlotte archaeological dig in Jerusalem this month. Fortunately, I managed to get the index done for the upcoming baseball book and my partner in crime, Diana Nelson Jones, completed the proofing, too. We kicked butt. Just in time to get ready for digging. Look for photos soon!

We have TITLE! We have COVER!

May 3, 2017

Tags: baseball, Tigers, writers, anthology, Diana Nelson Jones, Goucher

We have a gorgeous cover for the upcoming baseball book, friends. And the title I LOVE, especially with the image of a baseball in the letters.

We're looking at a $19.99 cover price, which is excellent. And a sometime this fall publish date.

Now the fun can begin in earnest. I'll be talking to bookstores in select baseball towns, since we've so many contributors from so many places.

I'm so excited!

Done. For Now. Yay!

March 3, 2017

Tags: baseball, writing, books, McFarland Publishers, Diana Nelson Jones, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates

On Tuesday this week I turned in the baseball anthology that Diana Nelson Jones and I have been working on for the last year. (I should like it to be noted that it was delivered one day ahead of schedule.) And then I promptly went down with a heinous cold/flu crap and lay around in bed and on the couch for the next couple of days. But I'm back in the saddle again and looking forward to sharing news of the book with everyone as we work through the publishing process.

Once we have a title from the publisher (McFarland & Company), I'll set up a separate book website, but for now, I'll keep everyone posted here on my own blog page. And, to get you ready to be excited, here's just a small, tiny, smidgen, of what you'll be able to see in the coming 8-10 months or so. Hope it makes you want to get the book!

EXCERPT from the essay "Nothing Else Like It"

The regular season powered to a close and the Tigers continued their record-breaking ways. Things were also heating up at work -- big elections, late nights, crazy times. But the Tigers were never off my mind. In mid-September, with the pennant clinched, I was anticipating the World Series. I thought “Oh my god. It is really going to happen.”

And remember, in 1984, you couldn’t just flip a cable channel on or subscribe to MLB TV. You had to do this thing called reading the box scores in newspapers the next day. Maybe sometimes, if you got lucky and the wind and atmosphere were right, you could pick up a late night few minutes of Ernie Harwell on AM radio from WJR in Detroit. I was looking forward to seeing my Tigers on television for the World Series.

Then the unthinkable happened. A few days before the series was to begin my boss gave me some potentially thrilling news. Our chairman would, naturally, have access to World Series tickets. And while the California tickets would be quickly dispersed since that was his home state, there might, possibly, small chance, be a possibility that there wouldn’t be enough “important people” who wanted to go to Detroit, and if that might, possibly, small chance did in fact happen, I, Chris Arvidson, would get the tickets.

But I still had problems to fix -- I needed to see if I could get myself, last minute, to Detroit on my own. The game tickets were free, but not the plane, and I wouldn’t know if I had the tickets until the day before. Did I want to take dibs on this maybe, possibly, small chance deal? Oh hell yes.