Friday, October 29, 2010

Reading Scheduled

A Celebration Of Words:
Kaufmann, Allen To Read From Their Recent Work

Authors Zack Allen and Britt Kaufmann will hold a joint reading of their works at 7pm on November 11 in the Library Annex. All ages are welcome for this free reading of their stories and poetry.

Poet Britt Kaufmann’s chapbook of poetry was recently selected for publication by Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, KY). The collection of poems loosely chronicles her move from the Midwest to the mountains of Western North Carolina and calling a new place home. Included in the chapbook is the poem “These Lost Counties” which was written for and read at the 2008 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival.

Yancey County novelist Charles F. Price praises Kaufmann’s poems: “Transplanted to Southern Appalachia, she turns clear eyes on our abandoned tobacco barns, rock-ribbed heights, hardscrabble farms, tough good people. She sees a simple beauty in our rusticity. Whimsy, warm wisdom, a mother’s love, a good heart’s aspirations all live in these spare yet intricately woven lines; one hears unheard the four-part a capella harmony of her Indiana Sundays even as our mountain seasons turn, our rivers rise, our folk speak their highland talk.”

Kaufmann has lived in Yancey County for the last seven years and has served on the planning committee for the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival for five years. Her poems and prose have been published in Western North Carolina Woman, Now & Then, Main Street Rag, and among others.

She is currently working on a joint project with local photographer Alicia Jo McMahan to coincide with the release of chapbook in January of 2011. Additionally, she is revising her play An Uncivil Union (based on historical events that occurred in Burnsville curing the Civil War) which the Parkway Playhouse will put on as a part of their 2011 season.

Author of the recently published, Eggtown and Other Stories, Burnsville resident and Asheville native Zack Clark Allen, says he is “way too busy” to be retired. In this collection from his years as a journalist, his stories and poetic insights “capture the flavor and essence of other times and other places; of people and dreams; and of life, as an unfinished poem. “

About his new collection he says, “Some of the stories in this book take place in the rolling hills rising to the south of the Rocky River in northern Anson County, North Carolina. These are memory pieces and reflect on my years with the grandfather whose name I bear. These were simple times that impressed vivid and comforting memories upon the heart of a young boy.

“The other stories are reflections in the waters of the French Broad River, in Western North Carolina, and many were columns appearing on the Sunday editorial pages of the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“One thing became increasingly clear as I looked back at what I had written: a newspaper is not in the business of publishing timeless prose. Writing on deadline makes it the art of the unfinished. So this book is what it must be – a retrospective collection of stories and poems, linked only by vague themes of rivers, currents and passages in my life.”
Allen’s serial careers have taken him on a diverse odyssey. After college, he worked briefly as a chemist in synthetic fiber research before his talent for writing steered him toward a 20-year journey as a writer, editor and columnist. He has published literally hundreds of articles in major newspapers, wire services, and, through syndication, in dozens of other publications around the world. His stories and columns have earned him many awards including being honored as the top columnist in the state for two years in a row by the North Carolina Press Association in the major newspapers category.

He is married to Maggie Lauterer, recently retired pastor of Burnsville First Presbyterian Church, who shares his love of singing ballads and early American shape-note music. He has two daughters, Sydney, and Sarah Addison Allen, who is carrying on the family tradition of writing as the author of three published books: Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, and The Girl Who Chased the Moon, two of which have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List. Her fourth book, The Peach Keeper, will be published by Bantam Books next March.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frosty Mornings

The last few mornings we've seen light frost silver-gilding the grass, so decided to pick everything we had left in the garden rather than resort to tucking the vegetables in at night under blankets. Lots of hot peppers. Some of those will turn into my husband's bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese-stuffed jalapeƱo poppers. Yum. But I think we're going to try to can some sort of green tomato, pepper relish. Though I haven't found a recipe I like... Many of them ask you to blister and peel the peppers. Not only does that seem tedious, the pain potential seems entirely too high. I'm forever accidentally rubbing my eyes. Before we put any of these plans into effect, though, we need to get a few pair of rubber gloves!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Get yourself to the mountains!

I took this photo from the top of our property last weekend. But in the last week, this same view has turned golden. If you're thinking of visiting WNC to see the leaves, now is the time! I might even suggest a yummy meal in Asheville at The Southern.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why do writers write?

I meant to (re)post this last week, closer to the time it was actually written...

Friend/local writer Alan Gratz blogged last week about why he writes. It's worth reading, especially if you're a writer.

I'm not even close to being in the same position he is... he writes to make a living. Perhaps, if I also had that driving force/need behind my writing, I'd have a few novels under my belt as well. But I don't, and I don't, and so I can slack around doing other things. (Other productive things, though. Like having twins.)

Even before reading his post, the notion of being mindful to what we want to say Yes to had been on my mind. If we can really identify what we want to say yes to, it become easier to say no to the the things that do not align with our yeses. I agree, that if you want to write and publish, you have to say YES to long hours in a chair pecking away at a keyboard. For me, this is not always enjoyable. The rush is when I leave the chair and feel the sense of accomplishment. I felt that last Monday, when I finished a series of revisions on my play An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville which the Parkway Playhouse will produce next year. The playhouse is submitting it for a grant to help fund production and thus, some revisions were in order. (Though not the last set of revisions, I'm sure.)

I hope the grant board likes it.

Alan's post made me think, since I'm not writing for financial reasons, why am I writing? His observations about wanting an audience certainly rang true. Yes, I want an audience for my thoughts. I think I have something to say--a perspective on life--that more people need to consider. Perhaps this is a product of being an oldest child, a mom, and a former teacher. Perhaps it's plain old arrogance. It is also a fun mental exercise for me to pull from life the odd connections and synchronicities and try to re-represent them in writing so that others can see/feel the same interrelationships. In particular, that's what writing poetry is for me. As my audience as been pretty small thus far, we'll see if I successfully do that or not with the new chapbook. I'll probably never know though.

Anyway -- Thanks for being an audience. I'll try not to be heavy-handed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reading (Binge)

In the last four weeks I have read the following books:
The Blue Star Tony Earley
A Home on the Field Paul Cuadros
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress Rhoda Janzen
Catching Fire Suzanne Collins
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It Maile Meloy
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins
Dragonsbane Barbara Hambly

Now that the weather has turned cold, the time for climbing under a blanket with a book has begun. And of all the odd blessings... I haven't gotten addicted to any new TV shows this fall! Last night, while the ND football game was on, I happily sipped on my first gallon of spiced cider (made in the crock pot with an orange wheel sporting a cinnamon-stick axle and clove tread) and read about dragons, magic, and the plight of a 36 year-old woman caught between dedicating herself to her craft or loving her children and their father. Hmmmm. Though I don't get to turn into a dragon in the end--like she did.

I think a friend's going to lend me The Girl With A Dragon Tatoo too...