Big news! I am honored and delighted to inform you that, as of July 1, I will be the Writer-In-Residence at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. LMU is located an hour north of Knoxville, Tennessee and five minutes from Cumberland Gap, where Tennessee, Kentucky, and my home-state of Virginia come together. William and I are thrilled at the prospect of living in those beautiful mountains.
Lincoln Memorial University has a long and rich literary heritage, including graduates such as writers Jesse Stuart, James Still, Don West, and others. Other writers-in-residence have included Emma Bell Miles and, most recently, Silas House.
While at LMU, Silas House, along with co-director Denton Loving, founded the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, now in its sixth year. The festival will be held this year on June 11, 12, and 13, and boasts an impressive list of staff and guests: Gurney Norman, Caroline Herring, Ann Pancake, Anne Shelby, Ron Houchin, Sue Massek, Kate Larken, Amy Greene, Bev May, Linda Parsons Marion, Jeff Daniel Marion, Judy DiGregorio, Maurice Manning, Silas House, and Denton Loving, with help from Sylvia Lynch and me, Darnell Arnoult. Additional expected literary sightings include the likes of novelist Pamela Duncan. For more information about the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, visit: www.lmunet.edu/mhlf/
Silas leaves big shoes to fill. Fortunately he’s not really leaving; he’s just moving up the road to Berea College, where he will hold the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies beginning August of 2010. Silas will be stirring up some more literary magic across the line in Kentucky. We at LMU, however, will keep hold of his wrist or ankle or pinkie finger. House has agreed to remain a co-director of the festival, and he and I hope to find additional ways to foster collaboration between LMU and Berea creative writing programs.
Silas recently co-founded, with Jason Howard and Marianne Worthington, the online literary journal Still: The Journal, based in Berea and named in part for LMU graduate and well-loved author of the novel River of Earth, James Still. The current issue of this fine journal may be found at http://www.stilljournal.net/.
Here is a photograph of the writer’s house at LMU, where I’ll be staying until William and I can find a new home for his forge and welding studio and we can get ourselves and our dogs relocated—I hope on a nice piece of property large enough for a couple of good horses. William is pleased we won’t be any farther from The Big South Fork, and he’s already heard rumors there’s good riding in the Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area on the peninsula surrounded by the waters of Norris Lake.
I’m already making short-term and long-range plans to get more folks invovled in creative writing at LMU. Keep checking Dancing with the Gorilla for more about the LMU Writer’s House and what’s on the calendar and on deck for creative writing at LMU!
For more information about Lincoln Memorial University and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, visit www.lmunet.edu.
Today’s Scene Storm Word List comes from Mountain Heritage Literary Festival guest fiction writer Ann Pancake’s novel Strange As This Weather Has Been:
Change is always a shock at first. But change almost always brings opportunity. When we recognize that sizzle and spark of new energy, amazing things can happen.
Some of you know I’ve been on the Duke Writers Workshop faculty since the early 90s. I loved that workshop, it’s spirit, and the gifted teachers, students, and staff with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work. This year Duke University Contintuing Studies Program has decided to focus on professional certificate programs and cut it’s creative writing program. So there will not be a Duke Writers Workshop this fall. BUT NEVER FEAR! Our leader, long-time director Georgann Eubanks, has rallied and we are reinventing this workshop as TABLE ROCK WRITERS WORKSHOP, named for the striking geographical feature visible from Wildacres, the workshop’s retreat center home perched at the top of a mountain in the North Carolina highlands near Little Switzerland.
We’ll have the same great leadership, the same dynamic faculty, and lots of new energy sizzling around our new name and our rededication to making this workshop an outstanding week-long event that includes both nurture and challange for its participants. For more on this workshop, please read Georgann’s blog post at: http://tablerockwriters.wordpress.com/
That’s just one product of this new energy. We now have a blog!
Assignment: Look around for learning opportunities in the area of creative writing. Every writer needs to invest in his or her craft. Workshops are a great way for unpublished and published writers alike to push themselves to new levels of work. Do your reseaerch and come up with three writers workshops, festivals, or writing events that you’d like to participate in over the next two years. Then, make it happen.
I’m ushering in National Poetry Month by sharing a list sent to me by my good friend and the former North Carolina Poet Laureate, Kathryn Stripling Byer. Kay grew up in North Georgia. She received her MFA from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For years she’s lived in Cullowhee, NC. Her books include: Catching Light (LSU Press, 2002); Black Shawl (1998); Wildwood Flower (1992), which was the 1992 Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets; and The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest (1986), which was published in the Associated Writing Programs award series.
Kay’s other claim to fame is that she’s my husband’s favorite poet. Now let’s think about that a minute, shall we.
When I asked Kay if she wanted to say anything about National Poetry Month, since I was osting her list at the beginning of April, her response went like this: “Poetry shouldn’t be enjoyed for only one lousy month, even if it is April, the cruelist month–why poets like T.S. Eliot like it, I reckon. Every month should be poetry month.” Continue Reading »
I first met JT Ellison at a writers’ lunch in downtown Nashville. This tall blonde came striding in a few minutes late, and all heads turned her way. I knew from the get-go she was someone to pay attention to, and not just because she was tall and blonde. I have since discovered JT is a wise and generous writer, meaning her success as a now best-selling “thriller chick” (her Twitter handle) hasn’t diminished her willingness to help other writers. For example, check Continue Reading »
It’s hump day and I’m recovering. Recovering from a crazy week last week including two trips with William to the hospital (all is well) and a trip with William to the Fearrington Folk Art Festival this weekend. (See yesterday’s post for more info on the Masking Tape Guy. I love his work!) We got back yesterday evening in time to unload our stuff, pick up the dogs, and then sit down until bedtime. Continue Reading »
This week’s list ties into my theme of water. See Ron Houchin’s #3 and Serenity Gerbman’s #5. And of course all good writing ties into the idea of perseverance in some way or another. Continue Reading »
I’m here at the folks school trying to keep my healthy eating regime, but they have desert at every meal except breakfast! Fruit! Fruit! Where’s the fruit? Oh, darn. There it is.
John C. Campbell Folk School website: www.folkschool.org
In keeping with my goals to become better at new and social media, here’s the list of tools mentioned at the Southern Social Networking Summit. If you want to be more proficient at social media and Web 2.0 activities, try out these handy dandy tools and resources. See what helps you in your social networking quest to be both engaged and efficient. Continue Reading »
Recently, I’ve been practicing procrastination in the area of new media, particularly social media. I was just getting email under control when I heard about Facebook. I was afraid Facebook and Twitter and other such activities would eat up my time, keep me distracted, and give me a way to procrastinate on other things, like writing my novel. (Anybody out there ever had a problem with Free Cell?) It’s time to get past that block (not Free Cell, the other stuff). Here’s why. Continue Reading »