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OMG It's September

Don't miss this dynamite line-up of writers, story tellers, and musicians.

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. Read More 
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We're #2!

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! Read More 
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So Crazy Good

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!-  Read More 
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Coming Down to It...

Well, Julie, Scot and I went through every word of the new book. I read out loud and Julie or Scot sat there with a red pen and the print-out of the final copy from the publisher.

It's really going to happen.

I delivered all our marked pages to McFarland Publishers in Jefferson and then rolled down the windows in the car, turned up the radio (there was some early Fleetwood Mac playing), and cruised the few miles home with a satisfying grin on my face.

Now comes the cat wrangling. Our plan for selling this puppy includes as many readings/signings as we can line up in all three states that the New River flows through, and with as many of the authors as we can schedule. We've got such a wonderful group of contributors, I know they are going to have lots of suggestions, and hopefully, they'll help out with some of the leg work involved in setting this kind of stuff up.

Let the games begin. It's going to be a busy summer. Read More 
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Back From El Salvador

I'm back early this morning from my Habitat Charlotte trip to El Salvador. This annual "attitude adjustment" trip is always so rewarding, such a pleasure, and lots of hard work. I spent many months preparing at the gym, knowing as I do, that being in the best shape possible always makes for a better trip. I was, if I do say so myself, quite studly this year and suffered no injuries, didn't fall down on the site, and with the help of a little Advil P.M., not even sore during the week of hard work. For mi compadres, I wrote this poem, which came to me as I was going to sleep on our last night in the country.

And Then

And then they started to leave.
At first just a couple
Who don't enjoy the beach.

And then we all pack up
Our fabulously dirty clothes
Crusted with the week's sweat and work

And then we have our last hugs
And disperse throughout the airport
To our respective gates and cities.

And then we fly away home to our loved ones
Dreaming of next year,
Leaving behind those we love, too. Read More 
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The Pre-Order link is above right - click it!

Well, it's scheduled for spring/summer 2015. What that means in terms of an actual date, we just don't yet know, but we'll keep you posted.

I expect we will set up a book webpage when we get a publication date, and, I'll be getting back to all of my writing and reading friends about setting up readings and signings all along the New River.

Stay tuned - and go on and order one!  Read More 
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IT'S HERE!!! We have a title and a cover!!!!

Look what appeared in my email this afternoon. The book cover and the title! In the next couple of weeks I'll be able to post a link to the publisher's catalogue for pre-orders, too. It's all feeling real now.

We don't have a publication date yet, right now they're still saying spring/summer 2015, and we haven't seen a proof yet, but it looks like the price will be $19.95 which is very pleasing -- we wanted to keep it as low as possible.

YAY! Read More 
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NANO Day 13

OK, so I'm not keep up quite as much as proscribed by NANO rules, but I am working! I figure it's gotta be OK with a broken leg right? That's what I'm going for.

Anyway: Here's some words for you:

My little town, just about 5 miles up the road from the university center, afforded us a comfortable hide out. We contributed civically, served on boards, made nice with everyone really, without ill regard toward those with that “what church do you go to?” state of mind. Hell, we laughed those people off. They were kind of quaint, really, if sometimes annoying, in their persistence in the Jesus way of going about life.
Sure, sometimes I bristled at public meetings where Jesus was invoked in what I regarded as civic, not religious business. I tired of hearing the church bells, frankly. What seemed a delightful, small-town interlude on Sunday mornings, eventually seemed intrusive. Who were these “Christian Soldiers” and what were they moving “onward” to, anyway?
But, those of us academics here in the self-satisfied in town, along with our brethren cloistered up the road in the enclave of academe, we were above it all. Frankly, we didn’t pay enough attention -- beyond being annoyed. While we weren’t looking, beyond our own little snug homes and careers, those Christian soldiers were swiping things off us, and we weren’t just looking the other way, we were paying no attention at all. Read More 
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NANO DAY 9

Hanging tough, laying low, doing the Christmas movie/writing thing friends. Leg is up, computer is on my lap. So, here are some of my words from Day 9 of National Novel Writing Month:

“I know, James. The truth is, the shriller people got, the more I just wanted them to shut up. It’s not that I didn’t agree, I just didn’t see how getting all riled up was going to make any difference. I still don’t see what we can do about it. In fact, I told Rita this morning…”

“Rita! Holy shit, she must be having a stroke. Did she stand up and start hollering at the President during the meeting?” James was, I’m sure, remembering the tenure “discussion” at the last Faculty Senate meeting. Rita had launched a monumental harangue at that meeting, and she’d been met with silence, even from her own colleagues, who by that time had simply felt ineffectual at best — scared of their own jobs at worst.

“That’s the other news I have, James. Rita wasn’t at the meeting. She was home packing. She’s gone.” I just dropped the bomb. Boom. James just stared at me dumbfounded, pushing the floppy hair off his face, his mouth, literally hanging open. Read More 
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NANO DAY 8

Day 8 started out poopy. My leg was hurting and there was new swelling in my foot and ankle. I went in to the orthopedic doc's office, instead of waiting for the appointment schedule for the 17th. Of course, I was just paranoid - read too many entries on Web MD. or something. So, I dragged Henry to Boone, even though he is feeling crap with a terrible cold (timing is everything) himself. They x-rayed my leg and confirmed the fracture. The swelling is within the normal range. So, I got a new ace bandage, instructions to take the pain meds as prescribed, ice/heat alternating, lay low, use the walker at least to next week when I can probably switch to a cane, no driving for now… Like I said, poopy.

Anyway, I have done my words today anyway. Just as a kind of "F you" to the fractured-bone universe. Here's a few for you:

“Hey, Ivan, what’s the pup’s name?”

“Good morning, Rita. Hope you slept well and that it’s not too early. We’re early risers — we both always had 8 a.m. classes.”

“Ha, and here I thought you were early risers because you were farmers.”

“The dog is Ole’s, but I like him, too. His name is Doug. After the Douglas Fir tree - it’s one of Ole’s favorites. I told him that was a dumb name for a dog, but now that I’ve lived with him, I have to say, it suits the furry bastard.”

“Come here, Doug, and say hi.” The big standard poodle happily trotted over and enjoyed getting his thick curly head rubbed. Somehow, Doug was the perfect name for the big brown beast.

“God, Ivan, do you have to make this dog wear an orange vest during hunting season? He could completely be mistaken for a deer or a bear.”

“As a matter of fact…” Ole came into the kitchen, his scruffy graying hair gone haywire and sticking up everywhere, Doug’s got an orange vest he wore last fall.”  Read More 
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