Saturday, August 19, 2017

NCWN speaks out on the White Cross Blog and I speak here

The North Carolina Writers' Network  posted on the White Cross Blog a statement for all writers.

All we have heard the past week has been the ugliness that took place in Charlottesville, VA, the murder of a young woman, the hateful voices of young people who evidently are ignorant of the terrible history of the organizations they espouse to promote. 

I grew up in a deeply segregated south where black people worked on our farm and in our house, but I never knew a black child my own age because we went to different schools, different churches, and even at the movies, the blacks had to sit in the balcony of the theater.

I was young when the world turned upside down in our town. I paid little attention to all the hoopla about blacks sitting at the counter in Woolworth's. Because I did not know any black people personally, I, as a sheltered white girl, did not feel their humiliation and pain when they were turned away because of their skin color. Like most of the white kids, I lived in my own little world which consisted of who I was dating on Saturday night and what I and my friends would be doing on the weekend. After all, I had my own cross to bear. I was a skinny girl who wore glasses. I had that to overcome! 

When I heard my father talk about a black man being lynched in Baker County and the sheriff condoned it, I was outraged at the injustice. How could a man of the law turn his back on a murder of someone? Why did he let the evil men get away with it? Why didn't good people do something about it? 

As I reflect on those times, I realize that white men like my father felt as helpless as the victims of these horrendous injustices. My father had no power. He had no money and no voice and if he did make a fuss, how would it affect him and his family? His first responsibility was to keep his own family safe. 

I am ashamed to say those things did not touch my personal life so I put them out of my mind. Looking back now I see the two separate worlds I grew up in -- seeing black people but not knowing them. Hearing of their hardships, but feeling I could do nothing to help them. 

I never heard any hate from my parents toward any other race. In fact my parents empathized with the black people in our community. But whites and blacks did not socialize. My brothers played corncob war with the neighboring black boys who were their age. That was before they were old enough to go with girls and go to parties.

Someone asked me how I could have grown up in the deep south and not be prejudiced. I had no reason to be prejudiced. No black person ever did anything that hurt me. In fact the maids that cleaned for my mother were sweet to me. I always felt a little guilty after I was in my teens to have someone come and do chores I should have been doing. I could never have felt hate or even dislike for those kind people. When I went with my mother to take the maid home, the sight of their housing and neighborhood bothered me. But I accepted it as just the way things were.

Unlike my peers who grew up more affluent than I, we did not have a nanny or live-in maid. Mother was lucky to have someone come once a week to help with the heavy house work. My friends who had a black woman help raise them, loved that woman and still believe she loved them. The feel their nanny was well taken care of by their parents. 

It has only been in recent years with movies made from the point of view of the Negroes of that time such as The Butler and The Help that I received an education about life from the other side. Now I can put myself in their shoes and feel empathy for all the hurt caused by white people. I think I saw some of that when I was younger and it made me angry when some cocky white man intentionally tried to make a person feel bad about himself. And I felt the frustration when the black person just laughed and did not defend himself. 

After I finished college and came home to Albany, Georgia where I grew up, emboldened by my knowledge gained while away, I called out a minister of my mother's church because of the racism I knew prevailed there. 
"No blacks will ever come to this church. We'll meet 'em at the door and send them packing." That was what I heard some members had said. 

I told him I could not believe the message preached each Sunday when I knew the congregation hated a group of people just because of their color. "What kind of church, what kind of minister would turn away those who would want to worship in your House of the Lord?"

I give that young preacher credit. He went back and talked to those folk, but it only caused problems for him. He was gone a short time later. The attitudes of the Christians I knew then had a great deal to do with my feelings about Christianity today. I am still scorned by some of my Baptist friends for being a Presbyterian, a more open-minded and inclusive denomination. 

I was brave as a first year teacher right out of college. I stood for my beliefs even though my father put me down for being too liberal. Within a  couple of years, I taught the first black student to enter our elementary school. The white children had no problem with her being there. They worked and played together just as they had always done with classmates. 

As a mature adult who lived in that other world, I can only speak out by writing about those days and urge others to bury their prejudice and hatred and accept all people, no matter their race or religion. 

I go back to my country roots now. If we don't reach out in kindness and understanding, our country is doomed to split apart like a rotten watermelon when dropped on the ground -- inside all the fruit is mushy and sour, the heart having given up. 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Richard Kraweic at Writers Circle. Register now.

Registration open now. Send fee by PayPal or mail check to 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC  28904. Just three weeks to register so  don't  wait.

Saturday, September 9, 2017, Writers Circle Studio, Hayesville, NC
Fee: $45.00
10:30 AM until 1:30 PM
Richard Krawiec

Revising and Organizing a Poetry Book, with Richard Krawiec

Often the difference between a manuscript's acceptance for publication, or rejection, is decided by its organization. A poetry book needs to be organized, it has to begin with the first poem and move you on a journey through the last one. 

It can be organized by theme, imagery, emotional development and other ways.  In this workshop we will explore how to identify the best way to organize your poems, and others, so that editors will give your book submissions a fair reading.  In looking at organization, we will also look at revision strategies, and ways to identify themes.  Information on submitting to literary publishers will also be discussed. Students should bring ten poems to the class.  If you don't have 10 poems that's okay - there will be samples available.

Richard Krawiec has published three books of poems, most recently Women Who Loved me Despite, Second Edition(Sable Books). His work appears in dozens of literary magazines, including New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Dublin Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Spillway, North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Fifth Review, etc. 

He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net multiple times. In addition to poetry, he has published 2 novels, Time Sharing and Faith in What?, a story collection, And Fools of God, and 4 plays. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NC Arts Council(twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 

As founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active publishing company, he publishes full-length collections, chapbooks, anthologies and an award-winning online magazine, One A hands-on editor, he has worked to edit and organize chapbooks and collections by, among others, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Betty Adcock, Jaki Shelton Green, and Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bottle Water or Filtered Tap Water?

I am not a big buyer of bottled water. I grew up on a  farm with wells that produced good water. When we moved to  the mountains, we enjoyed a well that also produced excellent drinking water with no chemicals. Still, I did not take water for granted.

I have read about the fights over water rights in the desert west. The  Colorado River is overused and demands continue to rage in California and other states over who should get water and who should not.

Just a few years ago, a confrontation arose in Georgia about the Flint River which runs through my hometown, Albany, GA. Lake Lanier became a focus of conflict as well.

As we do with so many things we are blessed to have at our fingertips, we think it will always be there. I learned the hard way, first when the well for my parents' home was tested and found to be contaminated. Filters were installed at the kitchen sink, but I often thought about the water in the bathrooms where people brushed their teeth. I avoided drinking or using the water from that well.

But about ten years after we bought our house in Hayesville, NC, our well went dry. What a  horror! We had no running water at all. That meant no using toilets, no ice maker, no drinking water and it meant I could not live in my house for two weeks because it took that long to have another well drilled. 

I was told that our well dried up because of the new houses built up above us on the mountain. I don't know if that is true, but I know other wells went dry in our area that year. You never know what you have until it is gone, and this experience made me even more concerned about our water in this country. 

While large corporations and businesses, farmers and others seem to constantly pollute our water sources with no repercussions, our government pays no attention. 
Over and over, I read about the communities where numbers of people die from cancer because their water has been ruined by a local company. What worries me is that often the big companies pay off the people in a settlement and make little to no effort to stop the damage done to rivers and creeks. 

It seems to me that the public reads about situations such as Flint Michigan and soon forgets it because it doesn't hit them personally. But those same issues are happening all over the United States. 

We are now urged to filter all water coming into our houses. 
I have a whole house filter and another filter for my  kitchen sink. The new well produces lots of trash in my water. Little black pellets fill up the house filter which I have to change often. Since I can't do these things myself, I ask friends or hire people to change them for me.

The article I reference above tells why we should use filters instead of buying bottled water. For one thing, it is much cheaper to  use our filtered tap water and in many cases safer. Some bottled water tests show that the bottles we purchase hold filtered tap water just as we can get at home.

This information is from the Environmental Workers Group, an organization that has proven over and over to look out for the consumer. It is not a government sponsored group and is not affiliated with any political party. Read the article and learn more about protecting yourself and your family.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Change of date - Thursday not Wednesday



Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Literary Hour at John C. Campbell Folk School - News Release

On Thursday evening, August 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM, John C. Campbell Folk School and North Carolina Writers Network West are sponsoring The Literary Hour, an hour of poetry and prose reading in the library of Keith House. This event is held on the third Thursday of the month, unless otherwise indicated.  It is free of charge and open to the public.  Glenda Beall, poet Glenda Barrett, and prose writer Jo Carolyn Beebe will be the featured readers. This month is unique in that we have three members of NCWN West entertaining during The Literary Hour.
Glenda Council Beall

Glenda Beall’s writing has been published in numerous literary journals including, Reunions Magazine, Main Street Rag Poetry Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Journal of Kentucky Studies and online, Your Daily Poem, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Wild Goose Poetry Review. Robert Brewer, editor at Writers Digest published one of her essays on his blog. She read her work with Carol Crawford on the Writer's Radio Program in Chattanooga, TN. 

Beall's poems have been anthologized in The Southern Poetry anthology: Volume VII: North Carolina 2014,  Lights in the Mountains, The Best of Poetry Hickory Series, 2011, Kakalak: North Carolina Poets of 2009, and Women’s Spaces, Women’s Places, among others. Her poems have won awards in the James Still Poetry Contest and the Clay County NC Poetry Contest. She serves as Program Coordinator of North Carolina Writers’ Network West and is also a Clay County Representative for NCWN West. In that capacity she hosts Coffee with the Poets and Writers once each month.

Glenda is Owner/Director of Writers Circle where she invites those interested in writing poetry or prose to her home studio for classes taught by some of the best poets and writers in North Carolina and Georgia.  Find her online at and 

 Glenda Barrett

Glenda Barrett, a native of Hiawassee, Georgia is an artist, poet and a visual writer.  Her work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and journals.  These include Country Women, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Farm and Ranch Living, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Deep South Magazine, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Woman’s World, Greensilk Journal and others.  Her Appalachian artwork is for sale on and her poetry chapbook was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008.  She now has a full-length poetry book titled, “The Beauty of Silence,” that was published in July of this year by Aldrich Press on

Jo Carolyn Beebe      

Jo Carolyn Beebe is a native of Mississippi. Many of her poems and stories are based on her recollections of conversations with her grandparents. Her Grandmother Anderson said, "The Bartletts are kin to Daniel Boone. They came through the Cumberland Gap with him." Great-grandfather Ricks showed her a greasy circle in his front yard where no grass would grow. "This is where the Indians cooked their food," he told her. 

She also has her own memories of life in a small, rural town. Her story, "The Way You Hypnotize a Chicken," really happened when she and a friend hypnotized one of Grandmother's hens. And where else but in a small town could two little girls play in the funeral home and pick out their everyday casket and their Sunday casket?

Jo Carolyn has been published in Main Street Rag, Clothes Lines, Women's Spaces Women's Places, Lonzie's Fried Chicken, Lights in the Mountains, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge and by Abingdon Press. She has been most gratified with her family history book The Beekeepers and Sons of Ander.

She is a graduate of Miami University, Oxford and has been a resident of Towns County for 21 years.