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OMG It's September

WORDKEEPERS 2013 Dates

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. Read More 
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Wordkeepers - December 15

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. Read More 
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Books are out there now!

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 (mountain-memoirs.com) 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  Read More 
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We are launched!

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.  Read More 
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It's Here!

It's here! There are boxes stacked up in my laundry room. Each one has 44 copies of "Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology inside. Thank you, Henry, for carrying them in the house. I drove to Mint Hill to pick them up at the publisher this morning. So happy we have books in hand for the big launch next week at the On the Same Page Literary Festival (www.onthesamepagefestival.org).

Wow. It feels tremendous to hold this puppy in my hands. The cover, featuring fellow editor Scot Pope's photo, is really beautiful. And it's got my frickin' name on it and everything.

I am very proud of myself today.

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Small World

Here's a great picture I had a friend take at our Friends of the Library meeting here at the Ashe County Public Library this morning. The awesome lady in the photo with me is Iris Morphew. Iris is a volunteer extraordinaire here in Ashe County and we see each other a good bit a various library and arts events and meetings. Let me tell you the "it's a small world" story that goes along with this photo.

Back in high school I hung out with music kids. We were in all the bands and choirs and we played guitars and pianos in each others' basements and on stages around the area sometimes, too. One of these music buddies was Jim Morphew. Jim went to high school with some of my friends from a local church and played guitar and sang. He was also cute, cute, cute. If I can dig up a picture of him, I'll post it for you. Suffice it to say he was all long white blond hair, big blue eyes, and an incredible smile.

My sister, not being slow on the uptake or anything, was Jim's girlfriend in high school. I think he was her first big heartbreak. When he went off to college, he left my sister in the high school dust. Read More 
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ORDER IT NOW AND GET A DISCOUNT!!!

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:  Read More 
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It's All Perspective

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the day with an amazing young woman. Patty works for Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador. Back in 2007, on my first building trip there with Habitat Charlotte, Patty had just started working for the organization. She was our "minder" our "handler" for the week.

Even though she'd worked there a only handful of weeks, she did an incredible job with our group of gringos, taking perfect care of all the details, devoting reassuring attention to us, ensuring we had a productive and rewarding time in her country and that in addition to building, we got a chance to learn a little bit about the culture and the wonderful people. She briefed us on appropriate toilet etiquette, made sure we were safely ensconced in our hotel, and fed sufficiently each day. Everyone who has been to El Salvador for a work project, from all over the world, knows some of Patty's rules: 1. Walk around only in groups -- two is not a group! 2. Don't pet the dogs. 3. Don't eat food from street vendors. 4. Don't drink the water from the faucet, etc.

I also met Kendal Stewart that week, another new employee at Habitat El Salvador. Kendal is a North Carolina native and a Davidson College grad who stayed in the country after an internship there. Both Patty and Kendal are taking on ever more professional duties at Habitat El Salvador since back in 2007; it's no surprise. Habitat is lucky to have two such outstanding and inspiring people working with them.

This week, the dynamic duo are visiting North Carolina. It's Patty's first trip here. Having been in town a couple of whirlwind days, we had the chance to hang out, eat a long lunch, and do a little shopping. It was a small breather for Patty, just about the only one she's likely to get on this trip, which is jam-packed with meetings and tours all across the state.

Do you know what this incredible woman said to me? She said that after seeing how beautiful this place is she was more impressed than ever with us -- that we would come to El Salvador and give up all we have here for 10 days to work on houses there.

Whhaaat? I about drove off the road.

It made me think of what I told Henry when I got back from that first trip in 2007. I told him how incredibly nice the people were... how we here in the United States have everything, and we whine about it. Why are they so nice? -- I'm not sure I'd like me if I were them.

Right. And Patty lays on me how impressed she is with US. Makes you think, don't it?
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A small meditation...

The Teacup


I realized this morning that my favorite teacup is just like me.

A crack runs all the way down the side

Still, it doesn’t leak.

The china is bit stained from its many uses.

There’s a lovely floral design on the outside

With a peony – a favorite.

Or maybe it’s a rose.

Fushia wind around the display

In an odd somewhat artificial color combination.

There’s a small repeat of the flower motif on the inside, too.

You can tell that it used to be a very pretty cup. Read More 
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Trip to the Alps - Extraordinary

We have returned from our trip of a lifetime. To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary we booked a trip with Wilderness Travel for snowshoeing in the Alps. Friends who have been on trips with the company highly recommended them and we were ready to go for it.

Since early November, we worked on, working up to, this trip. Diets and keeping strict track of all food (myfitnesspal.com) kicked off our process. By two months out, we were doing daily workouts or hikes. I even wore my boots on the elliptical. It really paid off. We were in top shape and did very well physically - no injuries, little soreness, etc. By the end of the days, we were tired, but a good tired. Read More 
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