Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Look for Roger's page on the website

For those who enjoy Roger Carlton's articles, check out his page on this site.

His articles will appear every two weeks on his page. On the website, look for his name at the top of the home page. Let us know if you enjoy his writing.

Glenda Beall

Saturday, March 20, 2021

BLUE RIDGE WRITERS CONFERENCE IS VIRTUAL

Dear Writers,

I’m happy to announce that the Blue Ridge Writers Conference has gone VIRTUAL and WILL be held April 9 and 10, 2021.

I will certainly miss seeing everyone in person, but the upside is  - you can attend in your pajamas and still hear all our great speakers:

Melissa Fay Greene, Author of Praying for SheetrockThe Temple BombingLast Man OutThere is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Save her Country’s Children, No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, and The Underdogs.

Sheila Athens, Book coach, developmental editor, and author of The Truth about Love

G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 2008 – 2014, and author of Things New and Strange

Elizabeth Dulemba, Author and illustrator of more than 20 picture books and the novel A Bird on Water Street

Laura Newbern, Editor of Arts and Letters journal and author of Love and the Eye

Bonnie Robinson, Director of the University of North Georgia Press

Jennifer Jabaley, Panel moderator and author of Crush Control and Lipstick Apology

 

Find more info about our speakers at this link:

https://www.blueridgewritersconference.com/about-our-speakers.html

And here’s the link to register:

https://www.blueridgewritersconference.com/registration-form.html

Hope you will join us!

 Carol

 



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Phone:  706-633-6497
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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Make your memoir entertaining

When writing memoir or creative nonfiction the writer must think about her audience.

While writing about her life, she wants to be sure to entertain the reader. If the story is not entertaining or interesting enough to grab the reader, the memoir, which takes a long time and much work to create, will end up on a high shelf where no one thinks about it or reads it.

How does the writer do that? How does she make her life stories entertaining?
She uses the elements of fiction that draw readers to novels.

How to Hold Your Reader

Include dialogue in memoir. Readers don't skip dialogue. If they get bored with too much narration or description that goes on and on, they skip to the paragraphs of dialogue. Write in scenes as in a play or movie. Interaction between characters. Include action when possible.

Just as we write fiction, we want to grab our readers on the first page, in the first paragraph. Recently I heard editors say they choose a manuscript to publish by reading the first page.

Beginnings are important but first, get the story down. I teach my students to write true stories that could become part of their memoir, but the purpose of my classes is to learn the craft of writing. What is written in class might not end up in the final manuscript, but in the process the student is learning the best way to write his story.


WRITING YOUR MEMORIES INTO TRUE LIFE STORIES 
Glenda Beall, 6 Sessions, Tuesday, April 20 – May 25, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 
Cost: $20 

In today's busy world, grandparents seldom have the opportunity to spend quality time with their grandchildren, to tell them stories about what life was like in the twentieth century. Younger generations will not learn in history books what we can tell them. Did you grow up on a farm or in a city? Did you serve in the military and when? In this class, you will be encouraged to remember the important events of your life and write those memories in an entertaining and informative manner. 

Glenda C. Beall writes and teaches writing from her home in Hayesville, NC. She is the author of three books and has published poetry, memoir, and fiction in numerous journals and magazines. She is the program coordinator for NCWN-West, a program of the North Carolina Writers' Network. For over twenty years she has taught senior adults to write about their lives for their families. In early 2020, she learned to teach online and enjoys seeing her students on her screen. T

Click on this link for registration information: https://www.iclyhc.org/



Saturday, February 27, 2021

Time eludes me these days.


Several days at home doing what I feel like doing and what I enjoy, I forget the time. And now my clocks seem to have a mind of their own. One is an hour behind. Another has stopped at 9:00. 

I am beginning the weekend at home again because I don't want to go out in the rain. If the sun shines on Saturday, I will venture out to buy ink for my printer. 

As we age, time becomes more and more important and I hate to waste it.  

In order to better use my time, I am staying away from social media except for a few minutes each day when I check Facebook. Sitting at the computer is bad for my back, so I try to get up and move around every 20 - 30 minutes to loosen up my muscles. Sometimes I think I have to spend more time on keeping my body working properly than on anything else. Certain prescriptions, supplements, staying on a healthy diet, and deep breathing and meditation. Preparing good meals, cooking from scratch, and avoiding processed food is very time-consuming. 

I found that soup made with cabbage, fennel, and potatoes is good for the stomach, so I made a batch. It tastes good as well as being good for you. Fennel seeds are also good for digestion. I read that restaurants in France offer them after meals. I haven't had red meat in weeks because it is an inflammatory food. Prime rib is one of my favorite dishes. Changing my diet is a challenge, but I am up to it.

YouTube has become my classroom. Videos on every kind of health issue are there to see. I listen to Podcasts about functional health care and realize that even medical doctors are saying our western medicine has huge limitations. 

Now that I am in the senior age group, my primary care doctor and others think that my aches and pains, the health issues that I face, are to be expected "at my age." I recently had a procedure that required anesthesia. When I was in recovery, I asked a nurse, "How did I do?" She didn't look up from the paperwork she was doing. "You did well for someone your age." What does that mean? Did I almost die? Did something bad happen but they managed to save me?

When the hair grays, we are placed into a box that says "Old and unimportant." My brother is over 90 years old. My father and my sister lived to be almost 90. I plan to be around for at least that long.

I have found that the only way to stay well and keep strong is to learn as much as possible about the health care system, about my own health, and what my symptoms indicate. So, I now have a functional care doctor who is also an M.D. I also see a chiropractor who helps me with pain. 

If all the different types of health care were under one roof, worked together so they could combine their knowledge to treat the whole patient, it would be so much easier to maintain our quality of life as we get older. Recently I heard a doctor on a Podcast say that aging should be treated as a disease, and the medical profession should stop throwing prescription medicines at every symptom and begin to look for ways to help us heal, end our pain, and increase our bodies immune systems. 

My priorities now are healing and strengthening my body. This takes too much of my time, valuable time that I could use for things I enjoy, but it is necessary. Taking pills is not the answer.

I am grateful that I have the capability to research and learn about subjects that are important to me. I can talk intelligently to doctors about my health, and I am not patronized when I am assertive enough to make them listen. 

We have just so much time on this earth, and I want to use it in ways that make the world a bit better if I can. I must be healthy to do that, so I will continue to take care of my body, the mind that helps me take care of that body and helps me do what I can for others. 


Time in a Bottle


Song by Jim Croce
Share

Lyrics

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away...











Monday, February 8, 2021

How I created Writers Circle around the Table

Robert Brewer, the senior editor for Writers' Digest, taught this class in my studio

For ten years I opened my door to my writing studio and enjoyed the writing instructors and the writing students who entered. They became friends of mine and came back again and again for classes in my casual and informal setting. What a blessing it was for me after my dear husband passed away in July 2009. 

I was lost at first, wondering what to do with my life now that I was alone and my friend and loved one was no longer there to comfort me, support me and encourage me to follow my dreams.
My poetry book, Now Might as Well Be Then, published by Finishing Line Press in October 2009, should have been a very happy experience for me, but without Barry to share my joy, I felt empty. I don't remember even giving one reading from my book. Nothing mattered as I grieved my loss.

I took a big step for myself a few months after losing my husband. I registered for a week's retreat at Wildacres, north of Asheville, NC, near the town of Little Switzerland. The four-hour drive up to the mountain site where the lodges were located filled me with anxiety. For forty-five years, I never traveled far without Barry driving me. Most people might not relate to my hesitancy to pack up my clothes and head to a place where I knew no one and had no idea what to expect when I arrived. But it was new and scary for me. I was extremely aware of being alone.

The week I lived, wrote, and made friends at Wildacres Retreat, changed me and prepared me to begin a new life. That week, I decided to live and do what I most enjoyed -- take classes with excellent writing instructors and teach beginning writers what I had learned.

With help from good friends, my downstairs area, my daylight basement, became Writers Circle around the Table, my writing studio. I loved that space in my house. It had a private entrance with a deck and the inside had two windows that brought in light. The wall of sliding glass doors created an atmosphere of openness that everyone enjoyed. We had such good times there. The fees for classes were low because I knew most of the writers in the area had only so much to spend on their hobbies.  I was able to bring in teachers for little money because I provided them a place to stay while there. With a private bedroom and spacious bathroom, free wi-fi, and time to work on their own projects, most of them loved coming to my studio.

Some students urged me to teach more classes, and soon I was holding a three-hour class once a week. 
Again, this was successful and enjoyable for me and my students. For ten years I lived alone and looked forward to classes with my students and writing friends. 

Carol Crawford, standing beside the whiteboard, taught these students in my studio.

But my life became stressful with the illness of my older sister, deaths in my family, and the worry about my last living brother and his ill wife. I felt the world was closing in on me. Running the studio began to be overwhelming. The hardest part was the advertising and promotion of classes. My time was spent, not on my poetry or prose writing, but writing promotional articles and emails trying to encourage writers to come to the studio for my classes or the classes of other writing instructors. Collecting fees and keeping up with expenses seemed more trouble than it was worth. My writing suffered and almost became extinct.

I was also trying to keep NCWN-West, the mountain program for writers that had helped me begin publishing my poetry in 1996, viable and intact although we had no leader. I had resigned when Barry was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, but I remained an active member. We found ourselves with no  Program Coordinator, and I did not feel I was ready to take the job again.  

Soon I was grieving again as I lost beloved family members. My sister, June, died and my brother, Hal died while caring for his seriously ill wife. A month later, she passed away as well.

The effort to continue the studio became too much for me. My physical health faltered and going up and down the stairs to the studio grew more and more difficult. With sadness, I stopped using my studio, stopped holding classes there, and no longer taught. 

Today, in spite of some health issues, I feel good and am teaching again. 
I am grateful for Zoom and other online venues that enable me to teach wherever I am - in Roswell with my sister or at home in Hayesville. Today I learned that the North Carolina Writers' Network annual Spring Conference will be online. I can attend from my home and feel connected to writers from far away. I can see familiar faces without having to travel long distances, learn from instructors so I can be a better teacher for my students.

As time goes by, we can adapt to the changes and still live the life we enjoy.
I urge all who read this to find new ways to continue with what you like to do and also find new ventures that are fulfilling even when you can't go out among people. I find it amazing how folks have invented ways to reach out and connect online, to bring people together virtually, to see loved ones and talk with them.

We live in a world today where it seems the Media is doing its best to frighten us out of existence.
I am hopeful and believe that we will live through the pandemic, we will all be vaccinated and one day this virus will be under control. Being fearful makes me sick, depressed, and hopeless, so I am not going to be scared that tomorrow will never come. I will continue to wear masks, to use all the prevention measures I know, to avoid crowds of people, to safe distance myself, and take care of myself and my loved ones even after I have my second vaccination shot.  I have learned what to do this past year and now it is my new normal. 

I hope you, my readers, are doing the same. I want us to all be back here next year feeling good about what we accomplished during these tough times.
What do you think?




 







Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Skeleton at the Old Painted Mill by Celia Miles

If you want to sit back with a good book and push all the turmoil of the world news out of your mind, you want to read the latest book by Celia Miles, who writes and works in Asheville, NC. Her mysteries are popular and her fan base keeps growing. Celia is drawn to old mills here in Appalachia and around the world. They become settings for much of her writing.

Here are some of her titles found at 
https://celiamiles.com/

  • A Thyme for Love
  • ThymeTable Mill
  • Mattie’s Girl: An Appalachian Childhood
  • Sarranda 
  • Journey to Stenness
  • Sarranda’s Heart: A Love Story of Place
  • The Body at Wrapp’s Mill: A Marcy Dehanne Grist Mill Mystery 
  • The Body at StarShine Mill: A Marcy Dehanne Grist Mill Mystery 
  • Sarranda’s Legacy: 3rd installment of Sarranda’s saga
  • The Skeleton at the Old Painted Mill: A Marcy Dehanne Grist Mill Mystery 

Glenda Beall, left, and Celia Miles, right

She writes in various genres, and her fiction—all women-oriented—reflects her interests in old grist mills and Neolithic sites around the world.

She attended Brevard and Berea Colleges and has graduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and IUP in Pennsylvania. She taught at Brevard College and retired from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College as an instructor.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Washington Tragedy

 This post is by Roger Carlton, newspaper columnist, and my former writing student. We appreciate him sharing this column from last week's Graham Star Newspaper with us.


The best way to start a conversation is to make sure that both parties understand the keywords that will be used. Let's start with "demonstration." This means that people like environmentalist Greta Thunberg gather people together peacefully to call government to action. The second word is "protest." This means that people gather together peacefully or violently to oppose a governmental action. The Black Lives Matter protests come to mind. 

The third word is "insurrection." This means that a group of people gather with the purpose of stopping or overturning a governmental process. Insurrections are always violent. They are incited by someone or some group who want power or who have power and want to keep it. A fourth word is "incite." This means that through word or deed someone motivates a group to do something. Incite has a negative connotation usually tied to motivating a mob. 

The insurrection that happened in Washington last week was a blatant attempt to overthrow a lawful election validated by the courts. The final effort by our President to stay in power was to incite a mob to go to the Capitol to stop Congress from accepting the vote of the Electoral College. Words can be powerful and in this case, the power threatened our democracy. It doesn't take much to motivate an angry crowd to become a violent mob. The result was destruction and death in the Capitol of the greatest democracy ever known to mankind.

Who is at fault and what should be done?

Impeachment is a process that requires more time than the few days left for this president. Congress seems to be thinking bipartisan for the first time in years so why blow the opportunity that this presents for incoming President Biden to solve our many problems. The 25th Amendment requires that the Vice President and the majority of the Cabinet members vote to remove the President who can then appeal to Congress to get his/her job back. Again, a spineless Cabinet would have to vote and the President would probably want to force Congress to vote. Not worth the further divisiveness that would result.

The best approach would be for Congress to censure the President in his final days in office. It would require a quick vote on a simple question. Senator and Representative, do you vote for censuring the President for his actions to stop the Congressional vote on validating the decision of the Electoral College? A simple yes or no without equivocation. We all deserve to know where our elected officials stand on this issue. 

There are so many other issues to address.

Blaming the mob for not protesting peacefully is an excuse for ignoring the President's incitement. This is called transference which means that your own failure is someone else's fault. The role of social media in broadcasting the incitement raises the need for separating First Amendment protections for individual speech from the spreading of that speech by profit-making corporations. 

The utter failure of the various agencies to protect the Capitol raises issues that need investigation. The role of the media during the storming of the Capitol was very questionable. Reporters are supposed to report the facts without emotion. That did not happen. It was not helpful to have reporters a few years out of journalism school talking about the demise of democracy or the need to impeach the President.

Our democracy will survive. Will the whirling dervishes like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell who have gone from blind support to condemnation be held accountable? Was this past week a violent catharsis that will be repeated or do the tragic events call for the beginning of a reunification process? That depends on how much poison is left in the system.