Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baby Foxes from the Window

This  past week I visited a friend and had a wonderful experience. A fox had dug out a den under  my friend's back deck. I stood at the  kitchen window and  watched four baby foxes play like little kittens on the deck, in the flower pots and planters and in the back yard. Mother fox sat like she was posing in her soft black and  brown fur, her head erect turning left and right. Obviously she kept a sharp alertness for any movement of danger while her kits were getting their afternoon exercise.

We don't often get such a close up view of wild animals in their natural state. My friend's house is on a wooded lot and a big open field is near by. Her back yard is secluded with a wall on the far side. 

My friend said she  discovered the baby foxes in her yard soon after her father passed away about a week ago. I know that watching the new life, the babies in the back yard, helped her family deal with the loss of such a fine man and father. 

It is always  hard to lose a loved one, especially the last living parent, and realize that now there is no one who loves us as unconditionally as a mother or father. Sometimes it seems we have far more sadness in our lives that we can handle, but we manage to go on and do what is expected of us. The adversity we face usually makes us stronger. I think when we get through the first major loss without coming apart at the seams we are surprised and relieved to  know we can do this. We know we will live and one day be whole again, but it takes time to heal. 
I hope that watching the foxes from the window helps with  the healing of my friend.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Autumn at Yellowstone 2004

I often use prompts in my classes and one of the best prompts is a photograph. I have written a number of poems prompted by pictures of loved ones or photos of places.

Tonight I came upon some photos taken when we vacationed at Yellowstone National Park.

The photos reminded me of several poems I wrote about the bison roaming the prairie and the roads. I'll share one of them and three photos taken by my brother-in-law, Stu Moring.

Autumn at Yellowstone 2004

Is it the fire or maybe just September
that paints the park in shades of brown?
A herd of bold, shaggy bison crop
amber prairie grass waving below
rocky mountain peaks.
Do the small calves by their side face
certain death from winter’s blizzards?

I reach from my car window,
touch the sloughing coat of one
historic survivor marching like a tired soldier
down the highway’s center line.
In the distance hobbling on three legs,
no longer able to keep up ―
a potential dinner for wolves.

It was September and all was gold and brown

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tables - dining tables, family tables and round tables

Our prompt about tables brought out some interesting comments. Some you can read on the blog and others were emailed to me.

I was reminded that William Everett, poet, writer and blogger, makes very special tables.Visit his website to read his poetry and see photos of the various tables he makes for use in worship service. His artist wife, Sylvia, creates pieces used for worship as well.

Bill developed a ministry called the Roundtable Project.  

On his blog, he says, "The Roundtable Project emerged out of my long interest in the relation of ethics and worship....Beginning with the creation of round tables as the central focal point for worship, it now embraces roundtable worship forms and the cultivation of circle conversation groups to help people deal with difficult issues."

It seems that round tables help us best reconcile our differences. Perhaps government leaders should sit at a round table instead of long rectangular tables when they pursue common goals.  

William Everett says of the Communion Tables he builds:
"The roundtable links the experience of communion to the work of reconciliation in our world. "

"The roundtable symbolizes in our time the way in which people seek to reconcile their differences through mutual counsel. It also symbolizes a place of nurture where we can all share in the bounty of God's earth."

Read more here. 

Family Tables - round, oblong, rectangular or square    

When we moved to North Carolina from our home in south Georgia, I sold the large dining room table that was in this house. I had always wanted a round table for Barry and me. We found it in Atlanta -- a  round oak table with two leaves to make it oblong if we needed more room. It is the perfect size for two or four people to sit or we can seat six comfortably. My chairs were special-ordered. They are upholstered with casters. So comfortable. My friends often tell me how much they like my chairs because the casters make it easier to push away from the table and the arms on each chair are helpful for rising.

My family, after all us brothers and sisters were older, sat around the table, sometimes for hours, after a meal. (Upholstered chairs would have been appreciated.) Our most memorable conversations took place there. Perhaps that is why my four brothers and my father could work together for decades. They reconciled any differences while seated together around that table. On holidays, before my parents and brothers died, the leaves expanded the surface to hold places for 10 or twelve of us.  A kids' table was set in another room.

When I was growing up our entire family of nine sat down to supper every night. We called our mid-day meal dinner. It was the large meal of the day. I can still see my sun-browned father at the head of the table. Mother sat on his right. Baby Gay occupied the well-worn high chair between Mother and Daddy and I sat on Mother's right side. My brothers filled in around the table with Ray, the oldest brother, next to Daddy.

After the meal my father enthralled us with stories from his childhood and his baseball playing days. He enjoyed retelling the tales as much as we loved hearing them.

My four brothers inherited the storytelling gene. When they grew up, they regaled us with laughter at their mischievous antics and pranks on friends, even on their wives. Max, my only living brother, is still a great storyteller.
A farm table similar to the one we had when I was a child.

Tables, like the one Pat Davis mentions in comments in the last post, are platforms for many tales we can dredge up in our memories. .

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What is your table like?

My writing studio is called Writers Circle around the Table. That is what we do  here. We sit around a large table and write, tell stories, write stories, write poems, and discuss words, language, lines and passages by famous writers.

Tables, especially sitting around a table, has been a basic part of my life since I can remember.
Some of earliest memories take place at the large dinner table with my parents and my brothers and sisters. 

My brother Max always asks for a round table when we go out to eat. He  says round tables make for better conversations,  and talking while seated around a table is the important part of a meal.

What does the word table mean to you? What memories does it invoke? Is your table a kitchen table, a large table with matching chairs, a Formica covered table with mismatched chairs? Is your table in a favorite restaurant, a  picnic table, a side table, a conference room table, or is it a work table?

Write a story or poem that comes from the thought of a table.
Would love to share it here on this blog. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm sharing tunes you might like to see and hear.

Feeling sluggish and down, just click on the Scotty Brothers and listen. It will make you move.

The Scotty Brothers
The spoon players reminded me of an awesome older fellow in Nova Scotia when I was there last year. He entertained a room full of people for about an hour. The waitress didn't know his name, but said he came every afternoon and played in for the diners.

These men played some great Celtic music at a distillery in Nova Scotia

The next video has a banjo picker and spoon lady, both with fingers flying and hands flying. They are in Asheville, NC, I believe.
I could not keep my feet still when I listened to them.

Maybe I like this music because it comes from my ancestors who hailed from England and Scotland. I hope we had a little Irish in there somewhere, too. 

Let me know if you like this music. Share a link to your favorite You Tube video. We need more fun in our lives and music can be so much fun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rebecca recommends Dana Wildsmith's class - Register now

Rebecca Gallo, writer, blogger and world traveler said this about Dana Wildsmith.

My second writing class at JCCFS was with Dana Wildsmith (my first was with Glenda Beall).
As an experienced teacher, Dana comes to class extremely prepared and organized. Her lessons are well thought-out and come from her years of experience as a writer and poet. In addition to learning a lot and writing a lot, I got valuable feedback from both Dana and my other classmates that helped to improve my writing. I'd highly recommend a class with Dana Wildsmith. 

Dana teaches at Writers Circle in  Hayesville, NC on April 25, Saturday, 10 - 1:00 p.m.
Words are all we have - title of Dana's class for all genre writers. 
$35.00 for three hour class. Contact Glenda Beall - 

Friday, April 10, 2015


Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 - 1:00 p.m.


Mail check for $35.00  to Writers Circle, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904

Call 828-389-4441 for more information. 

Words Are All We Have

Samuel Coleridge once defined prose as "words in the best order," and poetry as "the best words in the best order." Whichever you're working on, prose or poetry, it all comes down to making the right word choices and putting them in an effective order. 

In this multi-level workshop for writers of prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, we will spend some time talking about how to make the wisest word choices we can, and then how to arrange those words in the best possible order. 
We'll preface and follow discussion with short writing prompts. Bring your questions, your problems and your ideas!

Come out and meet Dana on Friday, April 24, 4:30 p.m. Joe's Coffee Shop, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904. She will talk about her writing, answer your questions, and read some of her work. This is free and open to  the public

  • Dana Wildsmith's environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving with An Old Farm in the New South, was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. 
  • She is the author of five collections of poetry, including most recently, Christmas in Bethlehem
  • Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park, as Writer-in-Residence for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and she is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Coffee with the Poets and Writers at Joe's Coffee Shop in Hayesville

April is poetry month and there is no finer way to celebrate than attending Coffee with the Poets, a monthly event held at Joe’s Coffee Shop and Trading Post, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC. North Carolina Writers Network-West sponsors this event which meets at10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Recently a visitor to our area said, "This should be on a list of things to do here!"

Featured Poet is Nancy Simpson, co-founder of NCWN West. Her poetry is widely published in journals, anthologies and in her three poetry books. Her latest collection is Living above the Frost Line. See Nancy's blog:

Guests are invited to  read a poem or two at Open Mic and prose writers can bring a short story or creative nonfiction no longer than 1000 words. 

The public is invited to enjoy this  hour with writers and with Cindy, hostess at Joe's who will make you a great cup of coffee or tea. Bagels and more will be on sale. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monster Memories: Why Bad Memories Can Be Good for You

We are so happy to have an old friend, Steve Harvey, author of a well-written new memoir, visit Hayesville on Saturday afternoon, March 28, to chat with us about his book and his writing. We will gather at our new home for writers in Clay County, Joe's Coffee House and Trading Post at 82 Main Street, at 4:30 p.m. where in a casual setting, we will drink coffee or tea, and listen to this learned man talk about writing on the subject of his mother's suicide. 

This is the title of Steve's talk.
 Monster Memories:  Why Bad Memories Can Be Good for You.

"There is a reason why we can’t let go of our memories and they can’t let go of us. It is not just that they are monstrous, haunting, and disturbing events from our past. They are also part of us. Memories, especially bad ones, can be clues to who we really are and pondering them can help us sharpen our understanding of the meaning and purposes of our lives."

He will read passages from his new memoir, The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, and lead a discussion on why memories, even bad ones, are our friends.

Read about Steve's book

North Georgia Author Dr. Steven Harvey will Speak in Hayesville

Saturday, March 28, 4:30 p.m. Joe’s Coffee House and Trading Post, in Hayesville, NC will host Dr. Steven Harvey, author, retired from Young Harris College, who will talk about his new memoir, The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, a memoir about coming to terms with the suicide of his mother when he was a young boy. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The book was published by Ovenbird Books as part of the “Judith Kitchen Select” series. A section of the memoir appeared in The Best American Essays 2013 selected by Cheryl Strayed. He is also the author of three books of personal essays. A Geometry of Lilies, Lost in Translation, and Bound for Shady Grove and edited an anthology of essays written by men on middle age called In a Dark Wood.

He is a professor emeritus of English and creative writing at Young Harris College, a member of the nonfiction faculty in the Ashland University MFA program in creative writing, and a senior editor for River Teeth magazine. He is the creator of The Humble Essayist, a website designed to promote literary nonfiction.

He lives in the north Georgia mountains. You can learn more about Steve and his work at his web site: .

This program is sponsored by Writers Circle around the Table. Contact Glenda Beall, 828-389-4441 for more information. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anne R. Allen on how to sell your books

If you haven't looked at the blog list on my sidebar, I suggest you read Anne R. Allen's post today.
Her advice on selling books is the best I've seen lately. She separates the fiction from the nonfiction tips and there is a reason to do so.
Anne says that slow-blogging for fiction writers, once a week, is fine, but she believes writers of nonfiction should post twice a week.
After you read her blog, come back and let me know what you think is the best way to sell books in today's world.