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I try, but mostly I can't shut up...


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. Scot, Julie and I generally read first, then we open it up in an open mic format; folks email me and sign up ahead of time. We have first-timers, young writers, and local favorites turn up, too. We've got people coming from Charlotte and the rest of the High Country. Some of our nervous first time readers are now seasoned veterans, bringing outstanding work to our audience. One has been inspired to pursue her MFA writing dreams and was just accepted to her program of choice.

Anna Carter and her friend Luis came over today. They were in Pineola for the weekend. Anna is an old friend from my Habitat Charlotte days back in the early 90s. Anna read from some of her work - what a great treat! In the last few years, Anna has been inspired by her Habitat work in El Salvador to get certification and an M.A. in Spanish translation. She read a piece she wrote about taking pictures in El Salvador, and one about her son and, let's say, his use of "language."

Scot is also a musician, and he teams up with my husband Henry, a singer-songwriter, and warms up the group with an hour of music before we get started with the readings. We have some refreshments and spend a few hours with some of the most interesting people in our area. You should come on out next time if you can. It's February 18, 3:00 p.m. music and 4:00 p.m. readings, at the Arts Center in West Jefferson, on School Street. I promise you'll come away with what one of our Wordkeepers presenters called a "mental doggy bag" of thoughts and ideas.

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