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Lots of writing, reading, signing, and painting going on around here...

November 1 is Here!

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?” Read More 
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WORDKEEPERS - Saturday, August 17

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.  Read More 
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Night of the Spoken Word 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. Read More 
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A Whole Year

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.  Read More 
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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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FEBRUARY WORDKEEPERS!

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 finally@skybest.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! Read More 
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Wordkeepers!

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.  Read More 
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Wow Wildacres

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. Read More 
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Off I Go

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). Read More 
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