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
Showing posts with label writing classes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing classes. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Life Changing Experiences

Over a decade ago, I took a class at the John C Campbell Folk School that changed my life. I have learned that my experience is not unique. The Folk School is a place that changes many lives. No matter whether you take wood carving, weaving, cooking, painting or writing, it is likely you will never be the same. 

In later years when I taught writing classes at the folk school, I found that my classes often changed lives. One of my students, a retired dentist, told me he had decided to go back to school and study creative writing after spending a week at Orchard House, the photography and writing studio, writing and sharing his work with seven other people and me. 
Rebecca is on the back row in red

A young woman in her thirties discovered she could write and enjoyed writing while taking my class. She went on to earn money while writing about her walk on The Camino in Europe. She said now she is her family's historian as she writes about her life and her family for her blog, Renaissance Rebecca. She might never have done these things if she had not taken my writing class and others at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Presently she is living with her husband in Spain and her writing is filled with life there and the places she goes and the people she meets. 

She enjoys meeting and talking with strangers just as I do. She has that curiosity like me to learn about others because we all have stories to tell and I find them interesting. 

Today I read an interview with a man who visited the Folk School in Brasstown, NC to attend a wedding. Now he works for the school.

You can find a catalog online for the Folk School. Just go to their website,  

If you have taken classes there, write to me and tell me how it affected your life. It is almost a magical place.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Six Months of Healing and Learning

  Here I am back on my blog and back home in the NC mountains. 
For the past six months, I have lived in Roswell, GA while taking care of some health issues.

This week, I moved back and tonight is the first time in many months that I am alone. Lexie is snuggled in my chair beside me and I just finished my supper.

My writing studio, Carol Crawford next to the flip chart, taught this class in 2018.

I completed a writing class in March with Carol Crawford who was teaching online through the John C. Campbell Folk School. The title of the four sessions was Plot Your Memoir. The most important thing I learned was that I don't have one memoir but I have two. One is the story of my family and the other is my story with Barry. We had forty-five years together and our lives evolved in many ways. We began on the family farm in south Georgia and ended in the mountains of western North Carolina. 

I had divided my life into major turning points which included childhood, school, college, and marriage, etc. but now I will include childhood, school, and college in my family story as I tell the story of all my family from 1942 when our family moved to a farm on Fleming Road in Dougherty County Georgia. 

I enjoy writing classes and have taken many with Carol Crawford over the years I have known her. I always learn something in her classes. The folk school online courses are through a company called Lessonface, a platform that shares the Folk School’s approach to learning and was founded by former Folk School work-study student Claire Cunningham.

My plans for the summer include teaching again and completing at least one of my projects. What do you plan for the coming months? I hope you have a happy summer. I intend to. 


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Six Week Writing Course has Begun

I am happy to say I have an interesting class that started last Tuesday. 
With six adult students from California, Colorado, Wyoming, Asheville, NC and Winston Salem NC, I know this group will be a joy for me.

Once again, I am thankful for Zoom and the technology that allows those of us from differing states and towns, to come together and work together to help each other become the best writer each can be. I always learn from my students and that is why I enjoy my work.

This class is unlike my other classes because we only have one man in the group, and we have three people who are visually impaired. One of my students is Abbie Taylor whose blog I have followed for years. I admire her so much because her disability doesn't slow her down.

I have taught people who had visual issues in the past, but this is the first time I have had three students who could not see normally. The wonderful thing I am learning is how through new technology they don't miss a thing. Each of them is equipped with products that enable them to read what I put on my screen and they handle their computers with ease.

Writing has always been my favorite way to communicate, and now I can meet and talk with and share writing with people from far away places while I sit in my little cabin in the Appalachian mountains.

It is particularly important to me now because I can't travel and hold classes in different places like the local college campuses. My home is my classroom and my computer brings these writers into my house. For ten years I held classes in my downstairs studio where some of the best poets and writers came, taught, and slept overnight. Those are happy memories now. 

When I move to Roswell, GA I will be able to continue to hold my online classes. That is a comfort to me. 

In spite of all the stress lately, I am a very fortunate woman and I count my blessings every night.
I hope you have a good week. It will be too hot for me but I am grateful I have air conditioning. How did I ever stand it growing up in southwest Georgia with no AC? 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Writers continue to meet in Glenda' s Studio in 2022

As we begin a new year, 2022, we will continue to hold classes from my studio and beyond. You know that I love stories. I like to write true stories and I like to write fiction. In years past, I often invited fiction and nonfiction writers to teach at my studio. We had some wonderful poets at Writers Circle around the Table.

This is a photo of a class sitting around the table in my studio a few years ago. Carol Crawford was the instructor.

Life has changed for all of us with COVID spreading everywhere. I will not ask anyone to come together with others at this time because we want to be as safe as possible from becoming exposed to this horrible virus.

But, that doesn't stop us from meeting online and that is what we will do this year. I might not be in Hayesville where my physical studio is located, but with Zoom, I can hold classes from my apartment in Roswell, GA.
You can attend the classes from your home or wherever you have a good Internet connection. 

The first class I will be teaching this year on Zoom is for the Carl Sandburg Home Historic site located in Flat Rock, NC. Guess what? This class is FREE

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Glenda Beall will lead a virtual writing workshop titled, "Inform, Enlighten and Entertain with Your True Life Stories" on Tuesday, March 22, from 7:00-9:00 pm ET.

This workshop is open to writers of all skill levels and is a fun way to find inspiration from a new prompt or revise current work. It is hosted by the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara and will use Zoom for the virtual connection.

Each of us has a unique life story. While our children and grandchildren show little interest now in our past, there will come a time when they will be thankful we wrote down and preserved our history. Many times we hear someone, after losing a father or mother, say, "I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I knew more about my parents' lives." We will discuss how to decide what to write and how to write it so it will be read and appreciated.

For more information and to register for this class, click on this link.

 A link will be sent to participants by 2:00pm on the day of the program. Please check your junk/spam emails if you don't receive the link in your INbox.


This spring, I will teach again for the Institute of Continuing Learning (ICL). Last year we held several classes online and had great attendance and participation. 
This class will begin on Tuesday, April 5, 2:00 - 4:00 PM and continue once each week until May 10. They will soon be taking registrations for this class. Check the website,
The fees for classes at ICL are more than reasonable.

I hope to offer more classes and more opportunities for writers online this year. If you are interested in teaching a class, holding a writing event, or if you want me to invite someone you want to hear more from, please let me know. I look forward to using the Zoom platform to bring more writers together in the coming months.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Happy 2022

 Happy 2022, Readers and Friends,

I have been very busy with my sister and brother-in-law, Gay and Stu, moving my belongings into the lovely apartment they created in their home for me. Although I have a bedroom suite that belongs to them, I have no living room or dining room furniture yet.

We made a trip to Hayesville this past weekend and brought back more furnishings. Gradually it is looking like a real home. 

This is the time for me to begin scheduling for Writers Circle Around the Table.
My plans for the coming year include inviting other writers to teach workshops and classes on writing - poetry, creative writing, creative nonfiction, and marketing writing. From 2010 until 2019, we held face-to-face writing events in my home studio. 

We can no longer meet in person, but we can continue our classes and workshops with writers who like to meet on Zoom. Our classes last year were well attended and received excellent evaluations. With the ability to teach online, instructors will not have to travel long distances and can live anywhere they have Zoom availability. 

Today I received an email from a former student who said she had joined the NC Poetry Society, and she gave my classes credit for her doing so. 

I am excited about the future and where this new year will take us. Possibilities avail! Let's see where we go. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Now taking registration for Creative Writing Class at Writers Circle around the Table


Creative Writing Class

Instructor: Glenda C. Beall
Tuesday afternoons, 2 - 5 PM 
August 14 - September 24

Six weeks of three hour classes at Writers Circle around the Table, Hayesville, North Carolina

Write small before you write large. We write 1500 word stories, both true and fiction, each week and get feedback from instructor and fellow students.

Learn the craft of writing. Basics will be taught that will make your prose stand out and get the attention it deserves. 
Most students praise the place and the knowledge they gain in my classes. Sign up now as space is limited.

For registration information, Contact Glenda Beall

Phone: 828-389-4441
Fee  $48, includes handouts

Use PayPal or personal check.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

These writers came to Carol Crawford's workshop today

Photo by Carol Crawford
It is a joy to take a class with Carol Crawford and to have her come to my studio is even better. The photo above was taken today, Saturday, at Writers Circle around the Table.
 From left is Anne Bowman, Carol Gladders, Me, Diane Payne on the far end, Jerry Stripling, Nancy Meyers and Ayer Gresham. All of these people have taken my classes at my studio. They said they enjoy coming and getting to know other writers as well as learning.

Carol's workshop was fun and full of good information. She gave us writing assignments to do in class that helped us get away from the cliché and made us think of the best way to describe someone without the every day "drivers license" description--five feet, two inches tall, with black hair.

photo by Glenda Beall
Carol is standing at the far end of the table by the board. 

The writing assignment spurred me on to write about a family member. This often happens in workshops. We find that we become motivated to write, to get those words on paper now. Some of my best poems have come to light in a poetry class.
Isn't that what we want, to be inspired to write? 

I decided I could work in another six week course at the studio beginning on August 14. We will meet Tuesday afternoons, 2 - 5 PM. This creative writing course is 18 hours of class time. We write something fresh and new each week and we share it with our classmates. We are taking registration now.
Contact me at if you want to register and I will give you information for sending a check.
Visit and click on the Studio Schedule page for a class description.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Craft of Writing

My students at the ICL class going on at this time are already good writers. Those who studied with me in the past have improved and become quite knowledgeable about the craft.

I've been told that talented writers don't need to take writing classes. "If a person has talent, he shouldn't need to study writing."  Well, I disagree.

A person might be talented in visual arts - painting and drawing - but he needs help to learn about the colors and kinds of paint, the brushes he might need if he is painting a miniature instead of an 18 x 20 canvas. He might get this information from someone in a store or a friend, but somewhere he will need some help in the craft of painting.

Back in 1976, I decided to follow a goal of becoming a painter. I had not done any painting, so I found the perfect teacher for me. Her name was Verna. She was a fabulous teacher and I learned how to use oil paints, to use a fan brush, to use tools other than brushes for painting, how to create shimmering water and so much more. I enjoyed my classes and also enjoyed painting scenes from our farm in south Georgia.

Yes, talent is important, but it also takes time and perseverance to learn how to write. In my classes, I help my students make their stories entertaining as well as informative for the readers. How many want to read a book filled with facts that doesn't entertain us as well.

Two prompts I give my students to motivate them to write involve sketching. First I ask them to list all the houses they remember living in and then choose one to visit in detail. They draw an outline of the house and then draw in the rooms, just boxes on paper. The student goes through the house and in each space he notes the memories that come to him. In the kitchen he writes notes on who he sees there and what he smells and hears in that room. He goes on through this house and each room provokes memories of people and events that happened to him at a certain age.

One drawing like this will bring on a flood of memories that beg to be told. My mother is gone now, but I can see her in the kitchen making biscuits. I can see and smell the food, hear the radio playing in the other room just loud enough for Mother to keep up with the game show.

To be a good writer one must read, and I suggest read what you like to write. After taking classes, we learn to read in a different way. When we begin to read like writers we see so many things in books that surprise us, that open our eyes to what the author is saying, and that we remember.

Wherever you live, try to find a good writing teacher and good classes where you can grow and expand your own work.  Ask at the library or a local college. We need the right tools to write well. Sometimes taking one class will motivate a writer to jump in and begin that novel or memoir she has always wanted to write.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Now Taking Registration


Writing Classes at Writers Circle around the Table

Hayesville, NC
Don't wait until the last minute to register for a class. If we don't have a minimum five days before the start of the class, we cancel the workshop.

To Register for classes, Email or call Glenda Beall. gcbmountaingirl@gmail or 828-389-4441. You may also pay online with PayPal for this class.

 Writing Classes at the studio with Glenda Beall 

Tuesdays, 2 - 5 p.m.  Six weeks of classes in comfortable setting, casual and fun. We welcome beginners and those who feel they still need some instruction to help them be the best they can be.

June 5 - June 26  and July 10 and 17
Fee: $48.00                Limit 10 students

Creative Writing for Fiction and Nonfiction 

Creative Writing for beginning writers and intermediate writers who want motivation and inspiration. We share our work and gain feedback from other students.
  • Prompts are offered but no one is required to follow them. 
  • Students are asked to write a short piece each week and bring copies to share. 
  • Receive instruction in dialogue, content and copy editing, transitions and basic writing tips to make your work polished and ready for submission.
Glenda Beall is a published writer and poet. She is a seasoned teacher of writing memoir, short stories, personal essays and poetry. Glenda has taught for the EAGLE program in Sautee, GA; the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC; Tri-County Community college, Murphy, NC and the Institute of Continuing Learning at Young Harris College, Young Harris, Georgia. Her students have gone on to publish books and to publish poetry and creative nonfiction in magazines and journals. See testimonials

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.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writing and Writers

Back row: Roger Carlson and MC Brooks
Front row: Dottie Wershing, Carol Gladders and Brenda Kay Ledford

In the photo above you see five of the eight students who were enrolled in my memoir writing class this fall at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC

Four of these students have taken my classes several times. It is inspiring to see the improvement each has made since that first class. Two of them published this summer. Roger submitted an op-ed piece to his local newspaper and it was accepted. MC Brooks submitted one of her family stories to an anthology, It's All Relative, Tales from the Tree, edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham. You can find MC's personal narrative on page 29. 

In this class all students were intermediate or advanced. When students come back again and again to take my classes, I consider it a great compliment to my skills and my ability to help them enjoy learning. I was once told that one of my greatest talents was creating an environment of safety and comfort that enabled new writers to share their poems or stories without fear. 

I know that is important because I have been that new writer, that new poet, who felt terrified when asked to read my work out loud to a group. I have been that person who was not sure if my writing had any promise. Sharing writing is a bit like handing off your first-born to a stranger and hoping he will handle her with love and care. 

I also know that even the most experienced, published writer still sweats out each new submission whether it is a short story or a manuscript for a book. No one wants to face rejection. Once I learned that, I became much stronger when faced with rejection of my work. We have to know that an editor's rejection is not personal and we must not have our feelings hurt. The rejection is probably because the work doesn't fit the editor or publisher's needs at the time. 

A beginning writer faces the challenge of submitting work with no previous publications on his resume'. He hopes an editor will read his story or essay and like  it enough to give him a chance. Today we hear that editors Google a writer's name first to  see if he has anything online that shows the editor that he will bring readers to the publication. That seems unfair. 

Some publishers, however, say they don't want to know what you have published, they want your writing to impress them and if it does,  it will be accepted. I wonder if that is the exception.

We write because we love it and sometimes because we can't not write. I know excellent writers and poets who don't care about seeing their work in a book other than for their family. Whether we publish our work or write for our own satisfaction, we write. But to have our work read and appreciated by other people is the goal of most writers. I hope to communicate with readers whether in my family essays, short stories, poetry or on this blog. 

I appreciate your reading my posts. I hope you enjoy them and I love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or send an email.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Here Is what is coming

Classes at  Writers  Circle are filling for the  summer. I have had many interested in Dr. Steven Harvey's class for Saturday, but our class is full with a waiting list.

Tara Lynne Groth's marketing and publishing class for August 22 has two places open now. This is an important class for serious writers who want to publish and sell their books. The deadline for registering for Groth's class is July 1. 

Michael Diebert, Poetry Editor for the Chattahoochee Review, a  literary journal, is teaching once again at Writers Circle studio. His subject is salvaging your poetry, using those bits and pieces of poems you have in your files to create new poems. Those who attend will go home with new poems they will be happy to submit for publication. 
Registration is now open

In September we will host Scott Owens, a favorite poet and instructor in our region. 

In October, Karen Holmes, poet and author of the  popular poetry collection, Untying the Knot will teach a class at Writers Circle.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to be a Successful Author

What makes a successful author?                 

Why do some writers become successful authors and some do not? What is the secret? How do we learn it?
  1. Successful authors set themselves a personal mission. They feel a deep need to share their thoughts, their story, with the world.
  2. Successful authors develop an attitude of persistence.  They do not let setbacks or rejection stop them. Persistence is absolutely necessary for one to be successful as a writer.  
  3. Successful authors recognize that education about their craft and the publishing industry is key to their success. They subscribe to writing magazines and e-zines. They attend writers' conferences and workshops, and take writing classes or join writers' critique groups.
  4. Successful authors invest in programs where they get professional feedback on their work. They understand that critique is helpful and they keep themselves open to the feedback they receive.
  5. Successful authors have an upbeat attitude. They don't offer a laundry list of excuses to explain why they are not successful. They don’t give up but learn to figure out a way around the obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

The writers I know who publish and continue to write manuscript after manuscript, sit in their chair day after day, pound on the keys over and over until the end, are the ones who turn out the work no matter what twists and turns life throws in their path. They approach writing like anyone with a job who goes to work each day.

Anyone can develop the characteristics of a successful author. It's up to the writer to do the work. One can choose to put his efforts into other endeavors and enjoy writing simply for the pleasure of it. That is perfectly acceptable. But, if a writer is driven to see his name in print or on a book cover, then he should start now to develop the traits of a successful author.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writers Circle will Continue into November

Carol Crawford
We had a week full of good instruction for writers at Writers Circle around the Table. Carol Crawford, poet, writer and editor had us writing and creating an essay that we hope to have ready for submitting this coming Thursday when she will hold the second session of this workshop.

Carol has taught writing for years and is a favorite instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School and here at Writers Circle. Carol has been coordinating the annual Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia for many years. It has become one of the best conferences and I was thrilled to be on the faculty last year. 

Scott Owens, who teaches every year at Writers Circle, was one of the instructors at the Blue Ridge conference a couple of years ago. His poetry workshop Saturday here at my studio inspired seven poets who, I'm sure, went home filled with more ideas for poems than they could have imagined if they had not been present.
Scott Owens, poet

Several poets, as they were leaving, praised Scott and said this was one of the best workshops they have attended. After five years, I am fortunate to have been able to interest good writers like Scott and Carol in coming to Writers Circle. And our local attendees have expressed their gratitude to me for bringing in high caliber artists and for keeping the fees reasonable. As long as I can make enough to keep the lights on and keep the doors open as well as pay our instructors a decent honorarium for their work, I will continue as we have been doing. 

I owe much of the  success of Writers Circle to my volunteer work with NCWN West. For several years I wrote articles about writers for the newspapers as part of my publicity duties.  I met many peopole around our region just by talking to them on the  phone. In 2007 I  became the Program Coordinator for Netwest. I attended the Spring and Fall Conferences and met members of the literary community from all across the state. I began the Netwest Writers blog in 2007 which enlarged our circle even more. 

My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, and I had to  curtail my duties with Netwest. When he died in 2009, I resigned. Overcome with grief and exhaustion of care-giving, I knew it would be impossible for me to continue to do what needed to be done as program coordinator. 

In 2010, needing to do something useful and helpful to others, I started Writers Circle downstairs in my house. We had outstanding writers like Maureen Ryan Griffin stay overnight in my guest room and teach a Saturday morning class. Maureen's successful WordPlay classes are well-known, and she teaches at John C. Campbell Folk School in their writing program each year. She gave me advice and was willing to help me get my business off the ground. I am forever indebted to her. 

The past five years have been filled with writing time, classes in writing, discussions with authors and enjoyment of having friends feel at home sitting around the table in my studio. I am never happier than being with writers and talking about writing. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Writing Class at Tri-County Community College - four two hour classes

I always suggest to beginning writers to write small before writing large. In other  words, try short stories before starting a novel. In a post on Alice Osborn 's blog, you will find many good reasons to do this. Click here.

In August, I will teach a class at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC. We will write short stories, and short nonfiction pieces. When we refer to short fiction, we call it short stories. Nonfiction short pieces can be personal essays, memoir, articles or any true stories.

 Write What You Like: Fiction, Memoir, Articles – Fulfilling Writing Dreams; Goals, Creating New Writing, Revising; Polishing Your WritingThis class is designed to fulfill your writing dreams and projects. You'll also get feedback on your work and learn revision tools. We'll discuss the errors most writers make over and over, the little things we don't know that make a difference, the main mistakes editors see in our manuscripts. Each week, writing prompts will generate material for new writing or further a piece in process. By the end of the month, you will have learned something new and important to your writing success.

The class will begin Tuesday, August 5 at 6:00 p.m. and continue each Tuesday through August 26. We chose this time so people could get home from work and have time to take the two hour class and still be home by 8:30 p.m. 

Years ago when I began taking classes with Nancy Simpson at the college, she taught night classes. We always had a large class and most of them went on to be published poets and  writers. Now our local area is filled with poets because that was Nancy's love.

I want to help our prose writers learn all they can to make their work ready for publication. 

Read the above article to see what a beginning writer needs to do. 

To register for this class at Tri-County College, call Lisa Thompson at 828-835-4313. Tell her you want to register for the writing class in August with Glenda Beall.

  Lisa Thompson Long at 828- 835-4313.

Glenda Beall's published short fiction and personal essays:
How We Met – Forks in the Road -Anthology
Mother's Reunion – Reunions Magazine, Spring 1999, Vol.9 No.3

Tar, Tallow and Prayer -- Moonshine and Blind Mules and other Western North Carolina Tales, 2006
Confrontation  --Muscadine Lines; A Southern Journal - 2009
What Did You Say? - Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - April, 2010
The Trillium -- Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Essays, stories and poems by writers living in and inspired by the southern Applachian Mountains.
Pass it on - Breath and Shadow, online journal, July 15 issue,; ICL Newsletter, 2011, Clay County Progress Newspaper
Buck, My Brother Ned and the Snake - Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal - 2011     
Public Domain - Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - April 2012  
Keeping Up - 234Journal - October 10, 2013        
Profiles and Pedigrees, Thomas C. Council and his Descendants - family history book published in 1998.   Available for purchase at City Lights Books in Sylva, NC                   -

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What is happening in these mountains this spring!

Aren't we lucky to live in Western NC and North Georgia?

2014 Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference
When: April 4-5
Where: Historic Fannin County Courthouse at 420 West Main Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.
17th Annual Conference for writers
…to learn to write well, we need other writers and mentors and teachers.  We have many wonderful writers in our area, and they are always striving to improve.  The Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference is an opportunity for them to meet professionals in the industry and get accurate information about how to publish a book or find an online market or get an article accepted somewhere.  It’s also a chance to meet other writers and network with them. 
                ---Carol Crawford, Conference Coordinator for Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference

When: April 25-26
Where: Blue Ridge Community College, 180 W. Campus Dr., Flat Rock, NC
Join us at the 6th Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest.  Preliminary list of authors: Bill Ramsey, Renee Kumor, Joe Perrone, Jr. The Featured Speakers are Ken Grossman, co-founder of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and author of Beyond the Pale, and Cassandra King, author of Moonrise and four other Southern novels.

When: Saturday, May 10, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Where: Jackson County Library, 310 Keener St. Sylva, NC
Judy Goldman will be our Keynote Speaker in the morning, and will lead an afternoon workshop on writing creative nonfiction.  (We hope to have more information on this event soon)

We are fortunate to live in an area where so many literary events bring us together where we can learn and meet other writers and people in the literary field. I try to take advantage of every opportunity to attend and support these organizations. I have learned that other areas, even in large cities, have few affordable conferences and workshops for local writers. I urge all of you within traveling distance to attend at least one of these events this spring. 
If you live far away, look for similar opportunities in your area. Check with libraries, book stores, colleges and online. Contact writers in your town and ask them about literary events you might attend. Start with attending a writer or poet speaking at a local college. You might hear of something near you or you might meet another writer who takes classes. The best way to improve your own writing is to attend workshops and classes by good teachers and by writing as often as you can. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

John Campbell Folk School Festival was Fun

In 1996 I signed up for my first writing class at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. If you have never been to this special place nestled in the beautiful mountains between Chattanooga, TN, Asheville, NC, and Atlanta GA, please add taking a class at JCCFS to your bucket list.

This weekend my sister and BIL, Stu, came up and we had the greatest time. Saturday afternoon we drove over to Brasstown and found ourselves caught up in a traffic jam. Who would have thought we'd have a traffic jam on Settawig Road? Cars were bumper to bumper and we had become discouraged by the time we reached the parking area on the campus. Stu dropped off Gay and me at the entrance near the Gift Shop. Thousands of people come from all over the country and I'm sure from other parts of the world to visit JCCFS on festival day.

This is a place where I always see people I know. We made sure we arrived in time to see Butternut Creek and Friends, a great singing group that includes Steve Harvey who plays banjo, ukulele, guitar and he sings.
We have been fans of the group for over sixteen years. Steve is an essayist and will be teaching a class at the Ridgeline Conference this weekend.

We didn't want to miss seeing the lovely twins, The Pressley Girls, who have blossomed into quite a singing group backed by their grandpa, their mother and their uncle. The girls belong to Tipper of Blind Pig and the Acorn.

The folk school holds many good memories for me from my first class there with Nancy Simpson, poet, to my first opportunity to teach a writing class. I was asked to sub for a weekend class. I had taught some classes already, but this was my first time at John C. Campbell Folk School.

I'll never forget the emotion that rolled over me as I turned the key to the door of the room where we would gather. I thought I would burst with gratitude, and I wanted to laugh and to cry at the same time. I felt I'd reached a milestone. I hoped I could give my students the same feeling I had in my first class at this magical place.

Years have passed since that day and many men and women have sat before me in writing classes at the folk school, at classes in church fellowship halls, at Tri-County Community College, at ICL classes held at Young Harris College and in my own studio. But I never forget that my life changed forever the day I took my first writing class at John C. Campbell Folk School.