You provide a valuable service, and I wanted to express my gratitude for getting to be part of it.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Registration for A Day for Writers is now Closed.

Registration is now closed for A Day for Writers, the one day conference in Sylva, NC on Saturday, August 24.

Thanks to all who have registered and plan to be with us on Saturday. We will have a wonderful day.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Meeting a Poet Laureate unaware

I can’t imagine a writer in North Carolina or a reader who doesn’t know or recognize the name, Fred Chappell. He is 83 now and has come out with a new poetry collection. He read at City Lights Books in Sylva recently. Wish I had known. I might have made the trip over the mountain to see him and hear him speak.

Fred Chappell
When I was new to these mountains, twenty years ago, my husband Barry and I attended a Bookfest in Waynesville, NC. I was thrilled to be in the  room with so very many authors and their books. I stopped at every table and struck up a conversation with the man or woman who sat there. They were real authors who had published books! The energy was contagious and set my mood soaring.
Barry followed behind me, his camera strap around his neck. I remember meeting Vicki Lane, novelist, that day and some other good writers. But the writer who made the biggest impression on me was Fred Chappell. I didn’t know he was Fred Chappell. I had never seen him or even a picture of him.

He was standing with other men in a room off to the side of where the most activity was taking place. Several tables stacked with books by various authors drew me in. I don’t know how he happened to come over to us. Maybe my enthusiasm caught his attention. But he was suddenly beside me and talking with me. He was being humorous and when he asked me my name, I introduced myself and told him I was with Netwest.

He said, “Oh, yes. That’s Nancy Simpson’s group.”

I guess that was what the NC Writers’ Network –West was thought to be – Nancy Simpson’s group. She was the person who was responsible for holding it all together for all those years.

Fred joked and kidded me and I, not realizing he was a celebrity in the literary world, said to Barry, “Take a picture of me with Fred Chappell.”

I didn’t ask if he would make a picture with me, I just assumed he would. I know now that was rude and presumptuous of me. Barry grabbed his Nikon and Fred grabbed me around the neck and had me laughing when Barry took the photo. It was a memorable moment that I treasure. (But I can't find the photo for this blog.)

Some years later I had the opportunity to take a workshop with him and was very impressed with his warmth, his down-to-earth manner. He told all of us in the group that we could send him a poem if we wanted his help.

I did send a poem. The title was About Jack.  I liked the poem because it sent a subtle message about parents who were too busy to give a child the attention he needed. Fred gave me a good critique, but I could tell he did not like the poem and said he really thought I needed a new title for it.

By then, I had heard from Nancy how revered he was in this state, having been  Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997 - 2002, and had won all kinds of accolades. But to me he was just a nice man who had a sense of humor and did not let me know how foolish I was being when I first met him.

Later, I submitted the poem About Jack to a literary journal and it was published. In fact, almost every time anyone reads the poem or hears me read it, they say how much they like it.

About Jack
by Glenda C. Beall

Squeaking brakes, Bus 37 drops Jack home.
He races inside to pour out news from third grade
around bites of PB&J and a mug of milk.

Sherry threw up on her reader!
Alex brought some cool,
long worms to school.
Miss Cook hugged me -- twice.
His nubbin nose crinkles.

Grandma sits at the table with him,
wishing she could bottle this moment;
his grape-stained face, the light of the sky
in his eyes, the impassioned voice
proclaiming events that rival the evening news.

She would give the bottle to Jack's mom
who hurries in from a twelve-hour day at the diner,
flings her first words, like flaming arrows, at him.
Turn that damn thing down!

Jack never looks up, engrossed in Power Rangers,
laser noises, death battles on TV.

I was tempted to write Fred Chappell a note and tell him it was published and with that title he hated. But I didn’t. Many years have passed since then and I have not seen him again. I am happy he has a new poetry book, As If It Were, and I certainly will order a copy.

Read more of Fred’s words in this interview done with the Smoky Mountain News recently.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


If anyone has entered this poetry contest in the past, tell us what you think about it.
Leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Let's Remember Lee Iacocca

Our guest today is Roger Carlton.
Roger retired to Robbinsville, NC and now is a columnist for the Graham Star. Thanks Roger for letting us post this article.

If you believe that this area of the world is Ford Country. If you lusted after a Ford Mustang or possessed the joy of owning one of these Pony Cars. If you know who Carroll Shelby is. If you drive the macho Ram pickup. Or if you know today's SUV's morphed from the Chrysler K cars and minivans then you should mourn the passing at age 94 of Lee Iacocca whose innovation and marketing genius created all these American automobile icons.

Lee was born Lido Anthony Iacocca, the son of Italian immigrants. His family lost everything in the Great Depression which gave him his drive for economic success. He attended Lehigh University in the steel producing area of Pennsylvania and eventually earned a Masters Degree in engineering from Princeton. His mentor was Robert McNamara who had been named President of Ford Motor Company and within a year was tapped by President Kennedy to become Secretary of Defense.

My first experience driving a Mustang occured in 1964 when this amazing vehicle debuted. As a high school kid, I worked on weekends at a company on Miami Beach that sold sheet music to music stores and marching bands throughout the United States. The company had exclusive rights to the Beatles sheet music and the Mary Poppins tunes so we were very busy. My boss had a 1964 Mustang convertible with the 289 V8. He handed me the keys and said "bring this package to the company president's house and be careful with my car." The top was down and off I went...hooked forever on fast cars with lots of horsepower. To this date one horsepower is called a "pony" derived from the Mustang name and badge. To be declared a "muscle car" requires 0ne horsepower per ten pounds of vehicle. More than 400,000 units were sold the first year. It took General Motors three years to catch up with the Pontiac Firebird and the Chevy Camaro.

Eventually Lee's ego and abrasive manner put him in conflict with Henry Ford's grandson who had become CEO of the company and he was fired. Chrysler was on the ropes and close to bankruptcy. Lee was hired and he turned Chrysler around with the K cars and minivans. The federal government loaned Chrysler $1.5 billion to develop the K cars and that loan was repaid seven years early. Lee's ads on TV were very popular with his slogan "If you can find a better car buy it." He also wrote a very successful book entitled "Iacocca An Autobiography." In 1992 he retired from Chrysler after acquiring American Motors to capture their Jeep brand.

He was courted to run for President and thankfully took the advice of his friend Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill and did not get involved in politics. He also declined an appointment to the US Senate.

If you love fast cars or macho pickups and respect titans of industry who innovate and save their near-dead companies, stop for a moment and mourn the passing of Lee Iacocca.

First published July 11, 2019, Graham Star Newspaper