The first morning's picture -- off we went!

The beech wood along the trail.

Broadway Tower on The Cotswold Way.

Me and my Henry at the Roman Baths... in Bath.

At Elton House with Emma, Nick, Chris, Joan, Philip and Kevin.

This, and the photos below, are in Jerusalem on our trip there in March. It was so incredibly good we're going back later this summer and working on an archaeological dig with UNC Charlotte with the same folks from the March trip.


October 1, 2015

Tags: reading, writing, On the Same Page Literary Festival, West Jefferson, North Carolina, Ashe County, Ken Waldman, Wendy Welch, Jack Beck, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Ann Pancake, Edward Kelsey Moore, Georgann Eubanks

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 ( 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.

Night of the Spoken Word

June 7, 2014

Tags: Detroit Tigers, baseball, writing, Ashe County, Arts Center

Here's the piece I read at this year's Night of the Spoken Word. It's an annual Arts Council event here in Ashe County and was what inspired Julie, Scot and I to invent Wordkeepers five years ago. As you read, keep in mind that I wrote it to be read out loud. Hope you enjoy.


I know of the great debate out in the “internets” about Facebook and other so-called social media. I have friends on both sides of this issue: those who vehemently oppose all the dehumanizing electronic communications, and those with their noses perpetually pointed at one screen or another.

Now you might assume that social media use is a matter of age – maybe you might think that it’s those young people who are more likely to be dependent on their daily (or hourly!) doses of electronic connection. But, I have to tell you, that’s not really the case amongst my friends – electronic, virtual, or actual.

With Facebook especially, which is my preferred medium, I think there is one primary condition that influences usage – I call it the “grandchildren factor.” I submit to you that the “grandchildren factor” is the single most likely reason for us AARP-eligible people to be active on social media.

How many times have you heard someone say, “If it weren’t for email, I’d never hear from my children…” or, “if it weren’t for Facebook, I would never see pictures of the grandchildren.”

So, for you doubters out there, you curmudgeons of Facebook, you disdainers of Pinterest, you Twitter-haters, I submit this to you… how much do you want to see your granddaughter in her tutu at her first dance recital, huh? (more…)


May 10, 2014

Tags: Literary Festival, On the Same Page, Ashe County, West Jefferson, Philip Gerard, Daniel Wallace, Wiley Cash, Gerogann Eubanks, Donna Campbell, Wilton Barnhardt, Georgia Bonesteel, Alan Hodges

Hey friends, sorry to be gone so long. So much happening that I've gotten behind. Since my last post I've been to El Salvador and Jerusalem. Can you believe it? I'll be catching back up on my posts in the coming weeks, because it's all hitting the fan again right away. Emma and Steve are coming from England at the end of the month and then we're going back to Jerusalem to work on the Mt. Zion archaeological dig at the end of June. I know, right?

But today, I'm asking for a favor. Please read below and go vote for the On the Same Page Literary Festival so we can get some fab air time on our local NPR station. This year's Festival is going to be gangbusters. Here's who we have coming: Daniel Wallace, Philip Gerard, Wiley Cash, Wilton Barnhardt, Georgann Eubanks, Donna Campbell, Alan Hodges… That's some serious literary talent, folks!

So, please, read and vote:

The Arts Council needs your help. WFDD (fabulous NPR radio station in Winston Salem) is having a contest called ARTS AWARENESS, to win $4000 worth of marketing. There are 44 community organizations in the region that were accepted into the competition, and ON THE SAME PAGE LITERARY FESTIVAL is one of them!

We have until May 31st to garner as many votes as we can. You can vote every day and you can vote for 3 organizations each time, if you want. Catchlight Gallery is the other “local” group in the running.

It’s easy to do. Click on this link: (or copy it into your browser), then scroll down to On the Same Page (it’s all listed alphabetically), click on the little box, then go to the bottom of the page and click on “Vote.” That’s it! After you vote, you can see how many have voted for us and what percentage we are of the total votes cast. We’re not doing too well yet! So get on the computer EVERY day and vote for the Literary Festival. It is great exposure for us and if we were one of the winners, the bonus of the free advertising would be wonderful.

Please share this with family members and friends. We’ll only win, if we get the numbers up and the votes in. Remember, you vote every day!

Thanks for your help and support!

A Whole Year

March 25, 2013

Tags: writing, retirement, Ashe County, snow, vacation, Alps, France, Switzerland, RailRiders, Wilderness Travel, Jerusalem

Last week I was going through the mail and just as I was about to toss the latest RailRiders catalogue into the recycle bag, look what jumped out at me. This (see right) is a picture of Henry and I on our epic adventure last March. We went snowshoeing in the Alps with Wilderness Travel. What a great trip it was.

It's frankly pretty hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since that trip. No wonder I'm itching to be planning something else. So itching that I think I've gotten myself in kind of a stale rut. Just one month after being in El Salvador with my fellow Habitat cult members (see my previous blog post on this subject), I'm already wishing on a Spring jaunt of some kind, a summer idyll, a Fall adventure.

Most of the major trip possibilities are dependent on Henry and his school adventures. If, for example, we go to Jerusalem on an archeological dig with UNC Charlotte at the end of June, we won't go on a Wilderness Travel hike in Europe. And, Fall looks like the University of Aberdeen for some concentrated study for Henry with our Professor friends there. Of course, I will tag along for a Scotland adventure. (more…)

Books are out there now!

October 5, 2012

Tags: Mountain Memoirs, Ashe County, Scot Pope, Julie Townsend

Everyone out there who has ordered advance copies of Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology, check your mailboxes! The books have shipped from the publisher in Charlotte. Of course, you can go order one now, too, on our website ( or on Amazon, if you didn't order it early. And, they've got some at the Ashe Arts Council, or see Scot Pope or Ron Joyner at the Ashe County Farmers Market as well. In short -- they're out there (more…)

We are launched!

September 18, 2012

Tags: Lee Smith, Clyde Edgerton, D.G. Martin, Fran Cook, Mickeal Goss, Rebecca Gummere, Gene Hafer, Edith Pierce Jones, Ron Joyner, Barbara Kidd Lawing, D.G. Martin, Nicole Osborne, Kimberly Perzel, Janet C. Pittard, Scot Pope, Diana Renfro, Sam Shumate, Lee Smith, Becky Stragand, Pierrette Rouleau Stukes, Julie E. Townsend, Ashe County, North Carolina, mountain, memoirs

It was SO much fun. Introducing my wonderful fellow editors, Julie Townsend and Scot Pope, and then having many of the contributors read from their work. When I first stepped up to the microphone, I blanked out. Me. I thought I had gotten used to standing up in front of a bunch of peopleassembled to listen to writers and to read their work. Nope. It wasn't like a Wordkeepers salon at all -- there were so many people. More than a 100 by anyone's count. We had to get out more chairs and ended up with some standing in the back of the room at the Ashe County Public Library. All for Mountain Memoirs. (more…)


May 31, 2012

Tags: Ashe County, Anthology, Julie E. Townsend, Scot Pope

Mountain Memoirs is an Anthology that I edited with my Word Keepers colleagues Julie E. Townsend and Scot Pope. We're so excited -- it's turned out wonderfully. We've got 20 pieces related to Ashe County somehow, by people who have some kind of relationship with Ashe County. Here's the synopsis that will soon appear on the publisher's website: (more…)


December 17, 2011

Tags: writing, writers, Ashe County, Arts Council

Anna, Luis & Chris at Wordkeepers.
What a fabulous day today at Wordkeepers in West Jefferson. Fellow writers Scot Pope, Julie Townsend and I started the Wordkeepers salons last year. We thought the annual Night of the Spoken Word, through the Ashe Arts Council was always such a big hit that there was probably an audience and a wide group of writers who would be game more often than once a year. We were right.

So, now, every other month we get together at the Arts Council with local writers and avid listeners to hear the latest work. From a handful of people at last year's first Wordkeepers, we've grown to a dandy crowd. (more…)

"wordkeepers" this Saturday

January 12, 2011

Tags: writing, reading, listening, West Jefferson, Bohemia, Ashe County, Watauga County, Avery County, Allegheny County

Come on out to Bohemia Gallery in West Jefferson, NC, this Saturday (1.15.2011) for our next "wordkeepers" salon, 4:00 p.m. See our groovy poster at right.

We'll be featuring Julie Townsend reading from her new novel "Seafood Jesus," which is coming out in March. We'll also hear from me, Scot Pope, and folks on our open mic portion of the program.

It Was Great!

September 22, 2010

Tags: books, authors, writing, Ashe County

The On the Same Page Literary Festival was fabulous in the extreme. I enjoyed it so much that going back to work on Monday was difficult. It was an extraordinary line-up of writers who were generous with their time and attention. Not a diva among them, and check out this list! Robert Morgan, Daniel Wallace, Fred Chappell, (more…)

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