Sunday, December 4, 2016

Making your way without an MFA?

So you don't have an MFA and are not likely to ever have one, can you still be a writer, a poet and successfully express yourself in words? Read this article and see what this poet says.

I like that Sonja  Johanson says MFA courses don't teach  craft and we can find craft classes on our own without paying tons of money for a college degree. I spent many years studying the writing craft in classes at John C. Campbell Folk School and at Tri-County Community College as well as other workshops and classes in the region. Most of the good poets I know have done the same. 
Read Sonja's article and let us know what you think.

Monday, November 28, 2016

2017 is almost here. Who will be teaching at Writers Circle?

It will soon be time to start scheduling 2017 classes for Writers Circle around the Table.

Because our writing program, NCWN-West will hold a writers conference on Saturday, May 6, in Sylva, NC at the library, we will not begin our classes until June. 

We will hold at least one class each month from June through September. We might hold an online course this year. If you are new to  Writers Circle as I know some of you are, we bring in poets and writers who teach three hour workshops usually on Saturdays. 

You can see on this site some of the fine writers who have taught at Writers Circle in Hayesville NC. In 2016, Steven Harvey was one of our instructors. He also teaches an MFA program at Ashland College. Tara Lynne Groth taught a class on using social media for  writers. 

Subscribe to  this site by  going to the sidebar on the right and giving us your email address where you see the invitation to  subscribe. This is free and you will not be bombarded with email. You only get the latest post which will be a writing tip or an announcement for our classes.  You can unsubscribe any time.

So happy to have you reading this post, Leave a comment if you wish. We love to  hear from you. We have a contact form to make it easy to email me.

Monday, November 21, 2016

For Novelists - words from Claire Cook

Claire Cook writes about publishing and becoming an Indie Author.

If you write novels and plan to publish novels, I advise you to read this post on Jane Friedman's site. It is by Claire Cook, author of Must Love Dogs and many other books. I met Claire at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia a few years ago. She  has built her readership mostly on Twitter, I think, and she is a  popular author.

In this article, she explains how the traditional publishing world failed her and why she left her agent who had been with her for years. She is a hybrid author, having published traditionally and now she controls her publishing with her own company. She is an independent author.

Claire gives us a picture of what is happening in the world of publishing today and why many authors are choosing to self-publish even though they have been with traditional publishers for many years. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Reading at the John C. Campbell Folk School on November 16 - Beall and Bell

Staci Lynn Bell and Glenda Council Beall are featured readers at the John C. Campbell Folk School on Wednesday evening, November 16, 7:00 p.m. in the living room at the Keith House.  The Folk School is located in Brasstown, NC in Clay County.

Staci Lynn Bell 

It is always an honor to be invited to read at the Folk School. As a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network-West, a program of the state organization, NCWN, I have read there many times over the years. Students from all over the world attend classes at the folk school where they learn crafts of all kinds and where a writing program was added to the curriculum about 20 years ago.

I was fortunate to be given a scholarship in 1995 to a poetry class taught by Nancy Simpson. From that class I went on to study at the folk school with Kathryn Stripling Byer, Steven Harvey, Carol Crawford, Maureen Ryan Griffin and many, many more outstanding poets and writers. 

Thanks to that writing program where Nancy Simpson was writer in residence for a number of years, my education in writing was begun there. I went on to take as many workshops and attend as many conferences as possible to enhance my knowledge and skills.
Glenda Beall

The day I walked in as a teacher at JCCFS, was one of the highlights of my life. 

Reading with me on Wednesday evening, November 16, is an up and coming poet and writer, Staci Lynn Bell, a Chicago native who attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was a radio and TV personality in Florida for twenty-five years before moving to the mountains of North Carolina.

Staci writes stories and poems that tug at the heartstrings. Her passion is dogs and she writes about them and about wolves as well as human relationships.
Staci has published in a number of anthologies and her poetry has appeared in Wild Goose Poetry Review. She has a poem in the new Kakalak 2016 anthology of North Carolina poets which will be out the end of this year. 

Staci and I would love for you to come to our reading if you are in this area. It is free and the public is invited. I promise you will not be bored.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Callaghan, a singer from the United Kingdom

Callaghan is a young woman singer from the UK who has a voice that reminds me of singers like Emmy Lou Harris back in the sixties.

Callaghan, that is the only name she uses, held a concert in Asheville recently in a very small venue, Altamont theater. She plays piano and guitar but it is her voice that is haunting. Her lyrics are like poetry.

She writes her own songs and they are based on her life, her thoughts and  ideas. Some are uplifting tunes about enjoying life as it is today. She also wrote a sweet song for her nephew, Noah.

"We are all, right now, writing a story which will one day fascinate someone," Callaghan says. "The way we live, the decisions we make, and the moments of hope, grief and happiness which punctuate all our lives will one day make someone stop, think and wonder. All of us are writing our own 'history of now.’”

Most of my writing is autobiographical and I teach memoir writing, so I agree with her. Every life is unique and each of us has a story. She sings her stories. I write mine as poetry or personal essays.

You can find lyrics to one of her songs here.

My sister and brother-in-law, Gay and Stu, and I had no idea what to  expect when we paid for our tickets. We heard a little bit of a song by Callaghan online and decided her show sounded better than anything else in Asheville on a Thursday evening. She was accompanied by Mike Gallagher who played electric guitar and bass with his foot. I think he used a synthesizer.

We learned that this tall beautiful woman with long dark hair came to Atlanta to record an album—and she stayed. Now she tours all over the states and has made several albums.

We were so impressed with her music and her personality, we plan to go see her again when she appears at Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth, GA, Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at 8:00  pm for Callaghan's Birthday Show.    

This song LOST (Callaghan) is about losing someone you love. It could be my song. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Evaluation request declined

There is no scale to evaluate the brightness of a soul,
Only the reflection you receive as you view your own.

There is no scale to measure the heartfelt caring
that comes with the gift of giving encouragement to others.

There is no scale to judge the value of Glenda's Beall's worth,
as she inspires writers, new and old, to reach for the stars.

Therefore, I respectfully decline this assignment.  😊

With love and thanks,
Kathy Knapp

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Evaluation Sensation by Roger Carlton

When asked to write an evaluation of my classes at Tri-County Community College, Roger, who now writes articles for the Graham Star, felt poetic and gave me a chuckle with his verse.


A great and worrisome darkness
Settled on the land of Wes-Nor-Caro
Intelligent and interesting writers
Were no-more-o
Good writing was a-dwindling
And most deserved to be kindling

Seeking to fulfill its mission of enlightenment
The gods of Mount TCCC-us
Sent out missionaries to find someone to teach-us
Like Socrates they held a lantern
Like the prince they held a glass slipper
Like conservatives they sought a Gipper
Like a jacket they sought a zipper

One day there appeared a North Star and they were guided
To a ray of light multi-sided
Approached to teach she consented
And to an extra tuition they relented

And the word went out across the land
That new skills would be provided
Flock they did to where she resided
Wondrous stories of railroad cars, beloved squirrels
Rusty Ramblers and beloved Irish grandmas were provided

Then from Mount TCCC-us came a pronouncement
 In the form of an announcement
The muse of words synonymous
Must no longer remain anonymous
Evaluate her for transfer of enlightenment
And do this with excitement

So from me to Mount TCCC-us
Let it be known that Glenda was illuminous
My skills from poor to great they went
And many thanks to Glenda are sent

Written by Roger Carlton
October 11, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Animal Hospital late at night

Wednesday, July 27 

I sat on plastic covered benches waiting for word on my sister's little dog, Smokie, who had quickly become very, very sick that afternoon. When her regular vet's receptionist told me they could not see her until the next afternoon, I rushed her to  the emergency animal hospital. (Just a  word of warning. If you have to do this, bring lots and lots of money.)

After the doctor had spent an hour examining Smokie, he came out and told me it would take a while to do lab work and diagnose her.
I sat and listened to Bill Clinton speak on TV. A noisy family arrived with their dog that had been bitten by a copperhead snake. They had just moved to the area and were immigrants from the far east. The children spoke English fluently,  but the father spoke with a heavy accent. 

While he cut tall grass that afternoon, he disturbed a snake, and the dog attacked it. Bad idea. The father did not see the bite, but heard the dog yelp. He killed the snake and identified it. 

The vet said he would keep the pet and watch it over night to see if he needed to give anti-venom. I  thought if anyone was bitten by a snake, the cure was to give anti-venom. 

The father spoke loud to be heard above the five kids who were jabbering like magpies. "I never saw where the snake bit him, but I heard him yelp.
The doctor said a copperhead bite was painful and not as deadly as a rattlesnake or some other snakes." 

I never thought I'd get a lesson in snake bites while sitting in an animal hospital at 10 o'clock at night. 

The receptionist, an older woman smiled and spoke in a gentle voice, understanding of my situation. We talked for a time. She didn't need to tell me she enjoyed her job.  She had quit work a couple of years ago, but could not handle retirement. She came back to the pet hospital and works all night, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.. As I  listened to  her on the telephone and with people who came in with their pets, I wished our young people who work in a situation where they must communicate with the public could take lessons from this lovely woman. 

 I heard that her husband died when he was 49 years old and left her with two small children. She said she thought she was going to die, and without help from her family, she was not sure she would have made it. My heart hurt for her. 

I picked up Smokie at 7:30 a.m. this morning. She still had bloody feces and I was given a bag full of fluids for her regular doctor to continue her care. I was told to take her directly there where her records are in their files. The Emergency Hospital FAXED a  report.  

I arrived at the vet's office before it opened. I stood there holding the little Schnauzer in a  blanket in my arms. When the doors opened at 8:00 the young woman behind the desk told me the veterinarian would not see her until later because I didn't have an appointment for the morning.

"Would you like to leave her with us?" She asked.

"I was told by the people at the emergency hospital to bring her here now and they would FAX her records over. Do you have her records?"

"Oh, let me see." She  pulled some papers off a machine and read them as if  she wasn't sure what they were.

"Is this  Smokie?" 

"Yes," I said, tired from having climbed a long ramp carrying Smokie to get to the door. No one offered to  help. 

I was  shown to a room and after talking to another young woman who put notes into her computer, Smokie was taken from me. I asked to speak to the doctor, but was told she was not available. I was told that I would be called later.

I wish the older woman at the ER could take the first young woman and give her some lessons in how to behave to a client, how to communicate with a caring attitude, and how to recognize when an older person is in distress. 

I would hire a receptionist with people skills to represent the face of the business. I never met the veterinarian, but her staff did not make a good impression. I pray that she is a good doctor and that Smokie will get all the help she needs. 

I was called by one of the techs to pick up Smokie that afternoon. I still did not see the veterinarian or even get a call from her. Thankfully, by the time my sister and brother-in-law got home from their vacation, Smokie was doing fine. After they heard my story, Gay and Stu sought another doctor for their dogs, one  they feel is caring and understands the owners as well as the pets. And - they like the staff.

What do you look for in a doctor's office staff, for you or for your pet?