Click here to get to The Creative Nonfiction Podcast I did with Brendan O'Meara.
Click here for a story about the UNC Charlotte writers above who appear in The Love of Baseball.
CHRIS ON KNBR
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO CHRIS TALKING BASEBALL LOVE ON KNBR the San Francisco Giants broadcasting home.
Click here for the Festival website
THE LOVE OF BASEBALL
February 12, 2018
Tomorrow, pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland, FL. It's Spring Training time everyone. Today I hung my new Tiger flag out on the porch. My flag of the last three years was wonderful, it had the old Tiger logo on it, but sadly it's original beautiful orange color has faded badly. I just couldn't have a pastel Tiger flag hanging outside my door. It simply would not be right. The new flag is a giant Tiger "D" on a navy blue field, with a bright orange border. It's pretty spiff.
We bought the old flag from a shop on Brush Street in Detroit, after having seen it in the window on the way over to the ballpark one night. After the game, we stopped in and snatched it up. I'm thinking about what I can make out of it, and the one it replaced, too. Some kind of outdoor cushion perhaps? I'll come up with something.
It's also time for ramping up promotions for the baseball book. Last week I spoke to the High Country Writers group over in Boone. It was great fun. I wore my new Tiger "D" shoes, and sold a few books, too. Next week I'll be meeting up with contributor Caroline Kane Kenna in Charlotte to go over the April event we're planning for the Charlotte Writers Club North. And there's more to come.
So, it's OK to start dreaming about the green, green ball fields now my friends. Tomorrow pitchers and catchers report.
November 10, 2017
What fun! Wednesday morning I had a great talk with The Creative Nonfiction Podcast guy, Brendan O'Meara. He puts together podcast conversations with writers about craft and their passions and their favorite books and just everything words.
Click on the link to the left of this column to hear the podcast that I'm on. All of my writer friends should definitely be subscribers!
November 8, 2017
Listen to my talk with DG Martin on his Chapel Hill radio station show!
August 29, 2017
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.
March 3, 2017
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.
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...
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.
November 1, 2014
Well, here it is. November 1. Time to start, time to finish, time to organize, put together, figure it the f*** out already! It's putting up or shutting up time. NANOWRIMO is here, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is you write 50,000 words in the month of November, and you do that by writing 1666 words a day. That's not really that many. I got the lion's share of 50,000 done last year, not quite 100% successful, but I've been working with my writing group ever since on what I did get done. This year, I'm going to write those 1666 words every day, and I'm also going to be dusting off what I've already done and try to bring some organization to it all. My goal is to have a serious draft completed by the end of the month.
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
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…)
August 5, 2013
Come on out for Wordkeepers on Saturday, August 17, here in beautiful downtown West Jefferson. Hear some always great original prose and poetry from local/regional writers. It's free. We have refreshments (including wine!) and feature original music at 3 and readings at 4:00. Email me to reserve your spot if you want to share a 5-minute bit of your own original writing.
May 24, 2013
Saturday, May 25, is Night of the Spoken Word here in Ashe County. An annual event, it spawned Wordkeepers and the Mountain Memoirs Anthology that Scot Pope, Julie Townsend and I began a few years ago.
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
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…)
January 4, 2013
We're on the books again for 2013 WORDKEEPERS at the Arts Center in West Jefferson, NC. The highly successful (we think!) writers and listeners salon, now into its third year, continues to bring new writers and readers together.
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
It's Wordkeepers time again. Saturday, December 15. We start with music at 3:00 p.m.; at 4:00 p.m. we begin the 5-minute open mic readings.
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
The next Wordkeepers salon is Saturday, February 18, at the Ashe Arts Council, 303 School Street. Henry and Scot will warm the crowd up with their singer-songwriter magic at 3:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m. writers will begin the open mic readings. Refreshments will be provided. For February's Wordkeepers, writers should email Julie Townsend at email@example.com to reserve your open mic spot. I will miss this month's salon because I'll be in El Salvador with my Charlotte Habitat for Humanity crew. Pictures will follow!
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
Great fun and work and fellowship at the Wildacres Fall Gathering. Talking about writing, doing some writing, listening to people read their writing - what a great way to start November.
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
What a great week at Wildacres. Thank to Mike and the whole crew. I got to eat with the staff each day, and that was a treat. Thanks also to the Blumenthal Foundation and family who make it possible for writers and artists to have this rare opportunity to work.
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
I'm just about all packed up for my Wildacres Residency. I head over there after lunch tomorrow. It's only about 90 minutes away, but from my preparations you'd think I was making a 2 week European tour.
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
I've been at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC, this week. It was the Spring Gathering when about 100 people from all over the country come to write, think, paint, make pots and jewelry and music. It's a wonderful place with miles of mountain trails. I wrote this essay on Monday, after Henry and I went on our first hike of the week along Deer Lick Gap Trail. I read it at the open reading Monday night, too.
(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
Ashe County Arts Council holds a "Night of the Spoken Word" each year. They invite area writers to read the latest of their work to a very nice audience of 100 or so. The event, which is very well-received, and which I participated in last year as well, was the inspiration for me, Julie Townsend, Scot Pope to create "Wordkeepers" writing salon during the winter months, which I've posted about here on my blog.
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
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.
November 12, 2010
There is no end to how I can pressure myself. I have successfully done it again royally.
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
Today I mailed off a set of excerpts from my manuscript "No I Don't Want to Hold Your Baby." Along with those 20 pages was a newly constructed cover letter and a one-page synopsis. The package with its two crisp and clean copies is now on its way to the NC Writers Network Manuscript Mart folks. They will assign them to an agent who I'll meet with for an assigned half hour at the upcoming NCWN conference in Charlotte. (more…)
September 22, 2010
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…)
September 9, 2010
We're hard at preparations for this year's (the 3rd annual) On the Same Page Literary Festival which begins next week, September 14. OTSP brings a fabulous array of out-sized talent to our little mountain corner of the world: David Wallace, Robert Morgan, DG Martin, Fred Chappell, Georgeann Eubanks -- are you kidding!?
Organizing and minding (more…)
May 15, 2010
At the On the Same Page Literary Festival last fall here in Ashe County, Jill McCorkle told us about the box she keeps in her office. It's her writing stash. The clips and drips of thought that might someday turn into stories - even novels - she deposits in a box of idea treasures. (more…)
December 9, 2009
I'm not usually up at this hour. It's after midnight and normally I'd have been wracked out for a few hours by now. A crap cold and a medicinal paradox effect seem to be at work.
You'd think I could find a cheesy Christmas movie on cable this time of year/night, but I (more…)
September 26, 2009
The reading went great last night. To start, I had an entourage of Henry, Sam, Anne Knight, Susan, Bill & Alex. They did a great job cheering me on. (You really find out who your friends are when you're moving, or when you're doing a reading at a bookstore.) And, I got to go first, (more…)
September 25, 2009
We're running around this morning, in typical manic leave-taking fashion. Before 8 a.m. we'd already been to the county dump to empty the massive collection of recyclables that threatened to impede the door into the garage. I realized that we hadn't made that trip since before the New River Expedition. It was time for sure.
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
I'm slowly getting back into the outside world as I recover from my back injury. Sometimes I feel like it's a slow go, but this is actually only week five of the saga, and from all I've heard from others who have dealt with degenerative disc disease and disc ruptures, I've nothing to whine about.