Chris' Blog. AKA, what's happening in the sticks these days?
March 3, 2017
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.
September 21, 2016
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...
October 28, 2015
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
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.
November 1, 2014
It was an inspiring morning to start this year's adventure. Overnight we had 4" of snow and I woke up early, around 6 a.m., it was still dark. What a wonderful sight out the back door when I flipped on the light. Snow. Real snow. Not just pretend snow or snow to tease me. It's continued throughout today, although it's petered out considerably.
And it looked great from my upstairs office window, too. Which was good. Because I got those first NANO words done. Here are just a few sentences:
“City kids. Young. Probably not even 21 yet. They’ll be OK, they’re young enough to adapt. You though, if you don’t mind my saying, appear to be more in my era. We don’t see too many folks our age making the crossing out here and on foot. You running away, or running to?”
June 7, 2014
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…)
August 5, 2013
May 24, 2013
The event starts at 7:30 at the Ashe Arts Center, here in West Jefferson. Come on out and hear many of the contributors to Mountain Memoirs. I'll be reading an essay I've been working on about baseball.
March 25, 2013
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…)
January 4, 2013
Coming off our wonderful success with the book, "Mountain Memoirs," Scot, Julie and I are back at it. Once again, we had more new readers and more new listeners in December, and I've already received emails from new folks wanting to join us and read their work.
Here are the dates for 2013: Feb 23, April 13, June 15, Aug 17, Oct 19, Dec 21.
Come on out. It's casual, fun, and we have refreshments to get your courage up if you need them. Email me via this website if you want to sign-up for your 5-minutes of Wordkeepers fame.
December 7, 2012
This is the group that started it all here in Ashe County, although we welcome writers from all over the High Country. Many of the contributors to our recent book, Mountain Memoirs, started out sharing their work with the Wordkeepers salons.
We'll continue bi-monthly Wordkeepers salons on into 2013 at the Ashe County Arts Center, on School Street in West Jefferson, NC. It's a wonderful space for our casual and supportive gatherings. We always have new readers and welcome new listeners each go around. Refreshments are provided, too.
Come on out in December and enjoy some wonderful writing.
February 6, 2012
December 17, 2011
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…)
November 11, 2011
I received some wonderful gifts from friends there including a really cool flute from among those Dave was making. I bought some gorgeous (more…)
September 28, 2011
I made serious progress on six essays and also started a brand new top-secret project that is way out of my usual comfort zone. Look for some bits of the essays on this blog soon. And I'll be posting a new photo essay here on this site in the next few days as well.
August 28, 2011
Thanks for all the great suggestions on what to bring/not bring! I am for the most part taking your good advice. Especially in the traveling light mode. Here's what I'm bringing:
- lap top for writing (not for internet, none there);
- IPad to write other places than the cabin and to try out the Omm Writer (I will let you know how this writer's app works out);
- ratty comfortable non-public clothes;
- "chillo" (more about this another time - it's a menopause necessary);
- a small handful of books, non-recreational, related to what I'm working on;
- rain gear (meals are a 1/4 mile away). (more…)
August 15, 2011
Here's where you come in... I've got some thinking and writing to do, as you can imagine. It's time to quit fooling around. I need to organize ideas, prioritize (and delete) projects, and outline a work plan for going forward...
Here's my request: If you were me, what would you bring along to your Wildacres residency?
P.S. In view of the many excellent suggestions I've so quickly gotten from y'all, I think I shall publish a packing list on this blog before I go!
May 29, 2011
(You'll also want to check out the picture to the right -- it's what Henry was up to while we were there.)
The Backs of Your Boots
This morning on the Deer Lick Gap Trail I said, “I know well what the back of your boots looks like. I’ve walked many, many miles behind you, seeing them ahead of me.” Hundreds of miles in fact.
You’ve got on a pair of Asolos today. They are the same brand and style as the ones you had on for that walk along Hadrian’s Wall path in England with Nick. You probably remember what the back of Nick’s boots look like. That’s our usual order on the trail. Nick first, Henry next, me brining up the rear. It’s a pattern we always seem to fall into naturally. Considering the trouble you had with the Hadrian’s Wall boots, it’s a puzzle how you would end up in another pair a few years later.
Your boots today have a beige color bit in the middle of the back, framed by black, with an orange slice across the top. The Hadrian’s Wall Trail version had a big vertical orange stripe of nubuck leather on them that formed the back of the heel. It was that orange piece that was rubbing the back of your right ankle one early morning, making each step along the road painful for you.
Try as I might, I can’t remember which day of the six-day trek the dreaded problem showed up. It wasn’t the first, or the last. It was one day during the vast-seeming middle -- where the initial excitement of the adventure had worn off, and the end was not yet in site. The middle of a days-long hike like Hadrian’s Wall tends to get all mushed together in your mind and it’s hard to place yourself along the landmarks of the trail in any kind of chronological order.
I do remember that you were frustrated and pissed off and wondering whether or not you could make it that day with this impediment. Nick and I really didn’t know what to do to help. Saying “Suck it up you pussy” or “just walk it off” weren’t going to help. I bet that’s what Nick was thinking. I went with sympathy, which was maybe a little helpful, but not much, and probably a little forced.
Nick and I just stood there looking at you for a while. Your stupid boot and your stupid ankle had us in a spot.
And that spot was “in the middle of somewhere.” That is to say, not “in the middle of nowhere.” There’s really not much of England anymore that could properly be called “the middle of nowhere.” Still, it’s not like we were near a town where we could get a bus, a train, or rent a car, either.
What do you do when you’re hiking point-to-point on a linear trail and someone has to drop out? It’s not like you can just say, “screw it” and get in the car and drive to the next planned stop for the night. And what do the others in the party do? Nick and I couldn’t just park your ass and go on… we couldn’t all just sit there… we couldn’t go back to the place we’d stayed the night before, because - what good would that do? We did not bring spare pairs of boots. We didn’t even have our main packs with us – we were using a service to send them on ahead to our evening’s destination each day – so who knows where on the road they were at that moment.
I remember fishing out some blister prevention band-aids or something from the daypack - a half-assed attempt at magically fixing your ankle and your boot. I honestly don’t remember there being a moment where a solution obviously presented itself. Ta da!
We simply limped on ahead. One foot in front of the other. One painful step at a time. After a while, it just got easier for you to put up with the pain and, anyway, what choice did you have? You went on, picking up the pace little by little, and pretty soon you stopped talking about it all together. (Yay!) Eventually, by late that morning, all three of us forgot about the problem. The morning’s drama having concluded, we got on about the rest of the day’s hike, enjoying the landscape, the stones, the fields, the sheep poo, and the welcome breaks for good food, welcome company, and a place to put up our dogs that night.
You probably remember it differently.
The two things I remembered this morning, when I was walking behind you along Deer Lick Gap Trail, were the orange strip of leather up the back of your boots, and the way you just went on that day on the Hadrian’s Wall Trail.
May 15, 2011
Last night was 2011's "Night of the Spoken Word" and as in years past, we all had a wonderful time listening to area writers. I read an essay about Soap Operas, the reading version of which I'm posting here. (Those of you who know me will have to imagine me reading it aloud.) Sorry I don't have any pictures of any of the writers, once again, I forgot in my nervousness, to bring my camera.
NIGHT OF THE SPOKEN WORD MAY 14, 2011
I see many of you here tonight who have joined Scot Pope, Julie Townsend and other writers from around the area at Wordkeepers – a reading salon we started over the winter months at Bohemia coffee house. Back at January’s Wordkeeper’s, I read a confessional essay about watching soap operas. At the time, I WAS a reformed soap opera watcher – a bone fide member of ABC Daytime Anonymous. I’m sorry to have to report back to you all now that I have fallen off the wagon – but it’s for a really really good reason… (more…)
January 12, 2011
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.
November 12, 2010
On Saturday, November 20, a couple of writer pals here in the neighborhood are getting together with me to do readings of our latest stuff. (more…)
October 18, 2010
September 22, 2010
September 9, 2010
Organizing and minding (more…)
May 15, 2010
December 9, 2009
You'd think I could find a cheesy Christmas movie on cable this time of year/night, but I (more…)
September 26, 2009
September 25, 2009
Today is the day. Think about me around 7:00 tonight, when I'll be standing up in front of strangers (good), friends and family (much scarier) to do my reading at Malaprops in Asheville. (more…)
September 22, 2009