icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Lately, it's all poetry, all the time for me...

On the Same Page is an inspiring delight once again

From Tuesday afternoon to Saturday lunch, we had wonderful literary overload here in West Jefferson with mesmerizing author presentations and insightful and inspiring workshops. Also, lots of great stuff to steal for my classes and books to bring to other readers and writers galore.


This year, our 11th, was no different in that the week before I was questioning my sanity. It's a lot of work. And, I volunteered to do the wrap-up discussion for the Festival Read book. I had such angst. Stupid, of course. It went fine. Everyone said so. But you know that old saying about the "expert from afar" it really is true. 


It was a really great festival. We had stellar attendance at every single event, and plenty of new people, too. Even though hurricane Florence was barreling down on NC, our only cancellation was our big draw, Tracy K. Smith, the poet laureate of the United States. She was rightly worried about getting the hell outta here when she was finished with us. She'll come another time late, and we'll make a big deal out of her again!


Now, it's raining buckets. It started just about the time we finished up yesterday. Looks like it'll continue through the night. I'm reading an advance copy of one of our Festival author's new books while it's pounding our roof. Henry says a huge limb has come down off our giant poplar tree out back. Guess that's what I heard fall when I was taking my marathon bubble bath this afternoon...after my nap. 

Be the first to comment

Park Road Books and the Charlotte Knights!

Look out Charlotte - here comes "The Love of Baseball" crew to make for an incredible weekend of baseball fun.


We'll be at Park Road Books at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 4. And when I say "we" I mean a bunch of us from the book!  Expect to see me, Henry Doss, Doug Butler, Nancy Gutierrez, Editor and Partner-in-Baseball-Crime Diana Nelson Jones, Caroline Kane Kenna, Rebecca Bratcher Laxton, Elizabeth Scott Leik, David Malehorn, Ellyn Ritterskamp, Victoria Stopp, and Stephen Ward.


Many of these wonderful contributors are coming from way out of town. So, give them some love and come on out.


THEN, if that wasn't enough fun, we'll all be at Charlotte Knights Park for a before-game book signing at 4:00 p.m.  Game starts at 5:05.  This August Sunday is Women in Baseball Day at Knights Park, so you couldn't ask for a better game to come on out to. 


See you in Charlotte in August.

Be the first to comment

Come out and see Love of Baseball gang!

Reading/Book Signing in Cornelius


Come to The Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. for "Play Ball," a reading & book signing for Love of Baseball Essays by Lifelong Fans, edited by Chris Arvidson and Diane Nelson Jones. Published by McFarland and Company in 2017, the book includes 30 essays from fans across the country.


Charlotte Writers' Club North is pleased to sponsor this event featuring Charlotte area contributors: Stephen Ward, Ellyn Ritterskamp, Rebecca Laxton, Caroline Kane Kenna, Henry Doss and editor Chris Arvidson. Written and edited by baseball fans, the collection follows the arc of a season from spring training when every team has the potential to be a winner, through the guts and grind of the regular season and the crowning of the World Series champion.


Join us as we celebrate America's pastime. Wear your favorite teams' colors, show your team spirit. There will be popcorn, peanuts and Crackerjacks and stories that take you to the ballpark.

Be the first to comment

It's That Time!

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.

Be the first to comment

Talking Love and Craft with Brendan

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!

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Talking with my man, DG Martin

Listen to my talk with DG Martin on his Chapel Hill radio station show!

Be the first to comment

From the Winston-Salem Journal:

(See the quick links for a direct link to the article)

Ashe County writer shares love of craft with others in the mountains
By Lisa O’Donnell Winston-Salem Journal Oct 11, 2017 (0)

Throughout her career, Chris Arvidson was the go-to person when someone needed something written well.

These days, Arvidson works at writing well for her own creative fulfillment.

A Michigan native who retired to West Jefferson with her husband several years ago, Arvidson is involved in several writing and literary projects in Ashe County while making sure she has plenty of time to devote to her own writing.

Her most recent project is an anthology of essays by baseball fans about their love of the game. She co-edited the collection, “The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans” with Diana Nelson Jones, a longtime reporter and columnist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Arvidson contributed her own essay, “Nothing Else Like It,” about the Detroit Tigers magical run to the World Series title in 1984.

The publisher of the book, McFarland, also published an earlier anthology she edited, “Reflections on the New River.”

It turns out that McFarland publishes a lot of books about baseball, and Arvidson just happens to be a self-described “freak” about the sport.

A baseball-themed book seemed a natural.

“Diana and I came up with a list of everyone we knew who were freaks and have good stories,” she said. “It was easy to come up with 30 people.”

Besides writing, Arvidson also helped start Wordkeepers, which gives local writers around Ashe County a chance to read their work.

“People can read whatever they want for five minutes,” she said.

The writing salons have been held every other month for about 10 years, routinely drawing 20 to 30 writers.

Arvidson, whose house faces Mount Jefferson and overlooks West Jefferson, tries to write every day, and meets frequently with a small group of writers for support and critiques.

Q: How would you describe your art?

Answer: I like to write about people and topics that I, and others, feel passionate about. I hope my writing projects reflect this.

Q: How have you evolved as an artist?

Answer: I have had several wonderful writing teachers who have helped me stop being timid with my work. Now, at this point in my life, there’s isn’t much I’m afraid to say or write about — a great gift for a writer. I have also begun writing poetry in the last few years.

Q: Who has influenced your art?

Answer: My mentors at Goucher College, where I did my MFA, were fantastic. I continue to look to them and my colleagues in the program. In fact, many Goucher “Gophers” are represented in the baseball book. I have also had the opportunity to get to know some terrific writers through working on Ashe County’s On the Same Page Literary Festival. We are able to attract first-rate authors to a small intimate event, so I’ve been able to develop some wonderful writer friendships through the festival.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Answer: Always, to keep moving forward. To stay on track. To put my butt in the seat and write!

Q: What does art do for you?

Answer: It’s the way I make sense of the world.

Q: Any advice for other artists?

Answer: As a writer, I’d say there’s no substitute for the good old “butt in seat.” And, don’t be afraid. I imagine this is really true for all kinds of creative endeavor. For writers in particular, I’d suggest finding yourself a support/writers group you can meet with regularly, and more importantly, be accountable to. It really helps in keeping your momentum.

Lisa O’Donnell writes about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to lodonnell@wsjournal.com or call 336-727-7420.
If you go

What: Ashe County writer Chris Arvidson will talk about "The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans" at Bookmarks, 634 W. Fourth St., 7 p.m., Oct. 25 as part of the Four on Fourth series, which will also feature Jennifer Bean Bower, Barbara Scott and Maura Way.

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Having a Wonderful Time!

I am having a wonderful time with the baseball book -- seeing friends, going to great bookstores, getting great pictures taken. What could be more fun? I get to go to great bookstores like Scuppernong in Greensboro and yak with baseball fans. I get to talk with friends on the radio like D.G.Martin (I'll post the link from his Chapel Hill radio station soon), and next week I'll be in DC seeing friends and signing books at Mike Fraioli and Carol Eickert's house. YAY!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Thank You Olivet!

So much fun this past weekend. I went to homecoming for my undergraduate college, Olivet, in Olivet, Michigan. Wonderful seeing friends from, gulp, 40 years ago. And they sure supported me -- buying 25 books. We also had a wonderful lunch and the chance to sing with old classmates. I'm not the pro that these folks were, so it was a pleasure to sing with such wonderful voices. Truly. We had the audience with the selections anyway, but when we got to the Olivet Hymn, I saw some teary faces out there. Fun after the football game included the Kathy Ford Band, a sorority sister who knows every 70s rock tune that we all listened to at the bar.

Speaking of "the bar," our old haunt, Garfield Lake Tavern, is sadly a "KEEP OUT" wreck. That more than anything made me feel a bit old. But, truly, my friends all looked fantastic and I think we've aged very well indeed.

So, thanks Olivet and all the great Olivet folks who forked over their bucks for books. You are the best! Read More 
Be the first to comment

Events coming up

Here's the events coming soon, friends!

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. Read More 
Be the first to comment