So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca

Friday, March 3, 2023

Found Treasures in your home hold stories you can share.

As I go through items I have kept for sentimental reasons, I find that each one has a story. The story is the reason I kept the paperweight Barry gave his mother. The lovely green jar I gave Mother has a special place in my heart. The old trunk that belonged to my grandmother is very special to me and has its story, too, passed down to me by my mother.

Recently Nancy Rowland, food columnist for the Clay County Progress newspaper, featured me and my sister, Gay, in an article. Along with the recipes she printed was a photo of my sister, June's, recipe box. 
June's Recipe Box

I don't have the box in my possession. Gay has it and it is filled with many excellent recipes June used to make. Unlike Mother, June used recipes, and many of them she enhanced or altered to suit her taste. Some of the ones I like best are her Lasagna, and a dish simply called More.

In my writing classes, I often ask my students to find something in their homes, something they have kept for a long time, and write the story that goes with the object. If you write, try this prompt. Look around and find special objects you have kept for a long time. Write their stories. Include where and when you acquired it. Who gave it to you or who did it belong to in the past? Did this once belong to your grandmother or grandfather? Did a dear aunt give you a gift that you treasure? 

When we look at our keepsakes, memories usually flood our brains. We can tell about the person, the place, and the feelings evoked when we hold or look at these items.

My mother kept newspaper clippings about family members. I found wedding announcements and obituaries as well as feature articles about my siblings when they were young. 

Do you have any objects you have kept for years? Write the story that it tells you. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Falling in love when I was a child

Pretty Thing was my horse. Gay, my sister, created this portrait of her. This special horse lived to be 32 years old. She was two years old when she came to me. 

I fell in love with horses when I was a small child. I liked the way they looked,  they smelled, and I liked the way I felt so high on their backs.
In this poem you read about the first horse I fell in love with.

My Father's Horse  

Stickers tear my legs, bare and tan from summer sun.
Long black braids fly behind me as I sprint
like a Derby winner down the path.


Harnessed with hames, bridle, and blinders, Charlie plods down the farm road. Tired and wet with sweat, he's perfume to my nostrils. 


My father swings me up. I bury my hands in the tangled mane. My thighs stick to leather and damp white hair high above the ground. 


I want to sing in glorious joy,  but only croon a child's nonsensical tune, grinning for a hundred yards between field and barn. 


My father's arms are strong.  His hands are gentle. The horse is all we ever share. For he has sons and I am just a daughter.

                      ---Glenda Council Beall

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dealing with hard times and memories of good times

It seems that every day I hear bad news about someone I know. It comes with age, I suppose, that others in my generation are ending their worldly journeys. 

But seems the children of those I know and love are dealing with sickness and hard times. I hate to see my dear friends worrying and fearful for their adult children. My nieces and nephews that I babysat when I was a teen are now dealing with illnesses such as heart trouble and other issues. 

Hearing that President Jimmy Carter is now in Hospice care brought tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart. He is 98 years old and has lived a good life, doing so much for so many in this world. He is the only politician I have ever totally admired and felt a kinship with. He grew up in Plains, Georgia just a short drive from my home in Dougherty County. Barry and I were big supporters. I have Carter pins and a Carter hat in a drawer at home. Barry and his friends set up a Ham Radio station in Plains on the night of the election and broadcast all over the world that Jimmy Carter was the next president of the United States.

We often drove to Plains on weekends to see the activities going on there. We heard all the Billy Carter stories and I read everything I could find about Jimmy, his mother, Miss Lillian, and the sad stories of the deaths in the family from pancreatic cancer. 

When Jimmy Carter was governor of Georgia, I was busy with my young life and hardly paid any attention. But when he decided that he, a south Georgia peanut farmer, was running for president of the United States, we all sat up and paid attention. My brother, Hal, knew him through the Lions Club. Hal was once the District Governor of his region and so was Jimmy Carter. 

I recently learned that the future president got into politics because of the harsh statements of Georgia leadership about segregation
Carter did not like or believe that schools and public places should be separated between white and black people. The black population had very poor schools, often having to use worn-out books from the white schools if they even had books. The buildings were subpar and in bad shape.

I think when the racist Atlanta restaurant owner was elected governor of Georgia, Carter felt he must do something if he could. President Carter has always championed the underdog or the people who were unjustly mistreated in our society. He appointed more women and black people to office when he was president than all his predecessors combined. 

I recently listened to his TED talk about the mistreatment of women all over the world. He was adamant about the rise in sex trafficking of girls and women and I know he has done all he could to stop that horrible crime. If only we had more Jimmy Carters in this world. He used the influence gained from being the president to do fantastic things for third-world countries. His work with the Carter Center in Atlanta is outstanding.  

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

I have several of his books and I highly recommend them. I ordered two more of them tonight. You can find them on  

I heard President Carter say that he has confidence in our country in spite of the past few years of upheaval. He said he had confidence in the American people and I trust he is right. I know he has been a role model for others and I hope his inspiration helps create many good men and women who follow in his footsteps. 
We need them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Never too late - Make your change today!

In May 1995, Barry and I moved to Hayesville, NC having no idea how our lives would change.
A few months later, I would meet Nancy Simpson on the phone after I registered for membership in the North Carolina Writers' Network. She invited me to take the poetry class she taught at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

I had not planned to take a writing class, especially not poetry, but had hoped I could learn more about writing in North Carolina from the quarterly newsletter mailed to me by NC Writers' Network. I knew nothing about the folk school which was only a twenty-minute drive from my new home in the mountains.

Although I had been writing most of my life starting with stories in high school and a poem or two in class. My English teacher liked a poem I turned in for an assignment, and told me I should submit it to a magazine. That was all I was told and since I had no idea what magazine might accept my poem, I did nothing with it and was pleased she thought I had written something worthy of publication.

I had not shared my writing with anyone and did not know if I could write or not.
But Nancy talked me into taking her class. "It's free," she said. "I'm offering you a scholarship." Nancy had seen my name on a list of new members of  NCWN-West, a program she headed and helped create in the far western part of the state.

How could I possibly turn down such an invitation? Nervous and self-conscious, I attended the first class. It was taught in the Orchard House, one of the old farmhouses on the campus that served as a dormitory for students and also classrooms for writers and photographers. I fell in love with the living room right away. We sat on a sofa and overstuffed chairs as well as plain wood straight chairs. I immediately felt at home.

That day, that class, that place, and Nancy Simpson changed my life completely.
That was my first writing class but not my last. I registered for many classes at the folk school with great teachers who came from other places in North Carolina and from other states. Nancy knew so many writers and she invited them to come to John C. Campbell Folk School to teach.

Because I was a local resident and didn't require sleeping quarters, my tuition was discounted. That was the reason I could afford to take classes there. I began publishing my work the next year after taking classes and joining the network. As years passed, I began teaching beginning writers sharing what I had learned.

Nancy Simpson was the Writer in Residence at the folk school. She called me one day and asked if I would teach a weekend class. The original instructor had to cancel.

The day I turned the lock and walked into a classroom to teach for the first time at the folk school, I almost wept with gratitude. I will always remember the students who came and who were disappointed that the instructor who was originally listed for that weekend, was not coming. 

But the evaluation sheets handed in after class gave me high praise for knowing my subject well and all seemed very satisfied with my class. I knew another door had been opened for me. Soon I was teaching a weeklong class every year at JCCFS and teaching adult education for writers in the local junior college.

My first weeklong class taught at John C. Campbell Folk School

If you like to write and want to further your education in writing poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, I urge you to start with classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  You will never regret it.
See this information from the folk school website:

Local Discount Program Information

For Our Neighbors:

The Folk School is proud to offer 25% off tuition and a guaranteed spot upon registration to people living in the following counties:

North Carolina: Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Swain, and Graham
Georgia: Fannin, Towns, Union
Tennessee: Polk

Those looking to receive this benefit are required to present one of the following, showing proof of local address: a valid driver’s license, voter registration card, tax bill, or utility bill.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A New Experience Tomorrow

Tomorrow I must arise early and head to the hospital to have my knee replaced. Sounds weird to me, replacing a knee. I have had several surgeries in my life, but never have I had anything replaced - just removed. In recent weeks I have been so busy having tests, attending meetings to learn about what is going to happen to me, how I should prepare, and what I can expect when it is over.

Tonight after I shower, I will wipe my entire body down with special wipes that will sanitize me from head to toe. I will arise at 6 AM and be at the hospital at 7:00 AM. The drive will take at least thirty minutes. The surgery will take place around 8:00 AM.

What has amazed me is that I will not stay even one night in a hospital. I will be back to sleep in my own bed tomorrow night. I was told I will walk out of the hospital on my own two feet with my new knee already working. 

Lexie under the covers

Because I have to be so clean tonight, Lexie cannot stay with me. 
She would be sleeping right against me under the sheet and she is not too sanitized although she is pretty clean. Needless to say, this is a brand new experience for me and I will be most happy when it is done even though the pain will begin then.

I am the most fortunate person in the world because my dear sister, Gay, will be with me for as long as it takes to recover. She has found all the right medical equipment I need. She has laundered my sheets, clothes I will wear tomorrow, gowns and pajamas, and she has gone with me to classes that were mandatory for both of us to attend.

I should never complain again about anything! I have a wonderful life, loving family and friends, and I am not afraid or worried about the outcome of this operation because lots of people are sending up prayers for me. 

I will be back on this blog in a few days, I'm sure, and I will write more about this new experience. 

My sister, Gay, in Hawaii

Thursday, January 12, 2023

2023 has begun and I think it will be good!

I am excited about the new year. I have begun scheduling events and workshops for the NCWN-West region where I live in western North Carolina. 

I am a planner, a scheduler, and a list maker. Like my father, I like to plan what I am going to do today, tomorrow, and in the months ahead. I am happy when I get my new yearly calendar book. The first thing I do is go through and mark all the dates I know I have something planned. I mark birthdays and special days in the year to come.

Perhaps it is a way to promise myself that I will be here for the next year. I think my adrenaline rises when I make plans for the future. Barry used to say I had more fun planning our vacation than I did when I actually went on vacation.

Last year was a bummer. It is a year I don't want to remember because I was stressed out with health issues -  health issues that were not as severe as the test results led me to believe. If I could I would like to sue the medical facility that caused me so much stress and worry. 

Tonight here in my apartment in Roswell, GA, we had tornado warnings and were told we would have severe weather, thunderstorms, and lots of rain. I guess it still might come, but this afternoon when the rains came it seemed no worse than any summer storm.

It seems the media is all about scaring us to death and the medical world is just as bad. 

Celebration time for football fans

I am not a football fan, but my husband and my brothers were big fans. I wish they were here to enjoy the National Championship won by their Georgia Bulldogs. My father was also a huge fan and listened to every ball game on the radio unless it was televised. I can imagine the smile on Barry's face as he shouted at the TV when the red shirts dominated the game. I didn't watch it and I am not a fan of the game which is too violent for me, but I feel happy for my loved ones who were devoted to the Dawgs. Even my brother-in-law, Stu, was pulling for the bulldogs and he is a Georgia Tech graduate. I am a graduate of UGA but never enjoyed football. 

Recently I read my words written back in 1990 and 1991. Those were fairly traumatic years for my family and for me. I kept my diaries filled with all the angst I felt as our family had to take back the family business we had sold because the buyer couldn't pay for it. It reminded me how troubled I was at the time and how worried I was about my brother, Ray, the oldest, who had begun to have health issues. 

No one wanted to take back a failing business but we had to. In my diary, I said there was a recession going on and no one was making any money. In one place I wrote, "Ray said the company must make four million dollars in the next four years." 

Looking back now I realized again, how grateful I should be, and I am, for having brothers and Barry turn that business around and sell it again. I don't know if they made the four million goal, but they did sell the plant a second time and all seven of us Council kids were saved from bankruptcy. One thing my father did well - raised his offspring to work hard and never give up.
However, that stress took a toll and in a couple of years, Ray was diagnosed with cancer. 

But, we are going into a new year now -War is raging, politics is rotten and mean, the government is a place where infighting seems to be the new way to govern, and our society is divided while wanting the same things. We all want freedom, we want peace, we want our families to be safe and secure, and we want to be united. But someone or some people keep stirring the pot doing all they can to scare us into believing our way of life is disappearing and we must blame our neighbors and friends. 

I don't believe that because I see kindness and caring every day. If I didn't see the news or read the headlines, I would be as happy as a lark because I seem to only see good and kind people. Cynicism and nasty comments on social media seem to have disappeared from the pages I see on Facebook. I see hope and faith and joy on the pages I read. Even some of the news programs are showing more kindness and love than they used to. 

I want to believe that others see this, too. I plan to have a good year -- right after I recover from a complete knee replacement. 

How about you? Do you look forward with hope or fear? Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Christmas - The Season Begins

The Christmas season is upon us. Stores are filled with shoppers, but I am not one of them

Many people I know are sick with flu, COVID, or other viruses and I don't want to be one of them.

Recently in my mountain town, the Methodist Church had to cancel or postpone their Christmas cantata because so many of the choir were sick. Recently my county and the county next to mine were both mentioned as being very high risk for COVID. Out of all the western NC counties these rated highest in the number of people sick with coronavirus. I was there last weekend and we only ventured out one time to have lunch with a friend. 

I am not surprised that this region is still getting ill. Many of those living there were deniers of COVID when it first began to spread. We were told this fall and winter would be hit hard with all this illness because people had quit wearing masks and were gathering inside for parties and family reunions. In Clay and Cherokee Counties many never wore a mask and many were sick and died. 

I have had COVID-19 twice and was very ill but because I did have the vaccines the second time, I did not end up in the hospital. For that, I am most grateful. I am a high-risk person because of my age and health issues, so I must be careful. My friends and family try to keep me from being exposed to the flu and other respiratory ailments. 

I still wear a mask when I go out in public, but where I am now, in the city, I can order from a restaurant and have my meal delivered curbside. I only go to Publix or Target where I can ride in an electric cart and I wear a mask. Thanks to my family I am not lonely even though I don't go out much. 

Barry's last Christmas standing in front of Gay's decorated fireplace. 

I will continue to enjoy this beautifully decorated house thanks to my sister and her husband. 
In the last decade, I have spent the holidays with Gay and Stu and often tell them Christmas begins when I walk in their front door. 

We have many happy memories of Christmas when our parents and siblings were still with us. Wonderful meals, family reunions with local aunts and uncles and cousins, and always spending Christmas day together at Mother and Daddy's house. All of them are gone now except for my sister and me. I am glad we have those dear memories to reflect on even when they bring forth tears. 

I notice my nieces and nephews share their memories of their childhood Christmases on our family Facebook page. I sometimes can't believe I held them when they were babies and now some of them are grandparents. Where did those times go? How did they go so quickly? 

The last week our days have been rainy and miserable, but we expect some nicer days to come. As long as my loved ones remain healthy, I am happy and hope to see some of them in the coming months.

Stu plays Santa on Christmas morning. He loves Christmas, too. 

I hope your holiday season is going well and you are enjoying life. Stay well and be grateful. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Writers are enjoying community in far west Netwest region

One thing writers usually know or realize is that we all need a community of writers. 
Whether online or in person, we crave the company of and conversation with others who write. For most of my life, I wrote alone with no other writers with whom I could share my work. I didn't know any other writer when I lived in south Georgia. For years I wrote personal essays, some poetry and short stories which no one ever saw. I had no one except family to read my work. I believe family is of no help with deciding if my writing is good or not. My poetry was criticized because it did not rhyme. No one in my family group enjoyed free verse poetry. My true stories were criticized because I didn't include my siblings in the narration. 

Nancy Simpson, Program Coordinator and co-founder of NCWN-West

But, when I moved to North Carolina in 1995, and joined the NC Writers' Network- West, I automatically became a part of a fantastic writing community. Nancy Simpson, poet and teacher, founder and Program Coordinator of NCWN-West, encouraged me, advised me, and supported me in writing and in taking leadership roles. The others in the poetry groups and prose group did the same. I took classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School with excellent writers who were instructors. I began publishing my poetry the year after I arrived in the mountains of North Carolina.

Some have said that writers don't need NCWN-West now because we have the Internet, but they are wrong. Here in the mountains of Appalachia, we need the community of writers who live near us. We have always been a very generous group that wants to help each other improve and get published. 

We have a monthly poetry group that meets in Young Harris, Georgia. We also have a monthly poetry group that meets in Hayesville, NC. 

Coffee with the Poets and Writers meets monthly at the library in Hayesville, NC. All groups are open to the public. 

When the pandemic hit, we had to stop meeting in person for two years. We moved to Zoom to hold meetings online. Our monthly Writers' Night Out has become a Zoom event with writers from distant states joining us. 

Mountain Wordsmiths meets monthly, on Zoom, at 10:30 AM and has become popular with our members from all nine NC counties and north Georgia counties. 

I am happy we were able to keep our community going through Zoom meetings even though some of our members have not been that comfortable going online. It was of utmost importance to keep our members safe during the worst of COVID-19. Now that we can get vaccinated and practice social distancing and wearing masks, it is safer to meet in person. 

I think our writing community has survived the pandemic and it will continue to be a stable program for writers in the remote mountain areas of North Carolina and north Georgia.