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

Accepting what is to come

You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

City Lights Books in Sylva


See what is happening at City Lights Books in Sylva, NC 

5/18  Poetry Reading with Jane Hicks & Thomas Alan Holmes
Poets Jane Hicks & Thomas Alan Holmes will visit City Lights...

5/22  Brent Martin: A Hiker's Guide to the Bartram Trail
Local author Brent Martin visits City Lights on May 22nd at 6:00pm...

5/23  Terah Shelton Harris: Long After We Are Gone
Terah Shelton Harris visits City Lights Bookstore on May 23rd...

5/31  Benjamin Cutler Book Launch: Wild Silence
Benjamin Cutler is launching his new book of poetry, WILD SILENCE,...

6/6  Zelda Lockhart: In Conversation with Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
Zelda Lockhart visits City Lights Bookstore on June 6th at 7:00pm...

6/8  Jim Costa: Darwin and the Art of Botany
Local author Jim Costa visits City Lights Bookstore on Saturday,...

6/15  David Yamane: Gun Curious
David Yamane visits City Lights Bookstore on June 15th at 3:00pm...

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Interview with a YouTube Success Hostess

Tonight I am reposting an interview I did with Tipper Pressley a few years ago. Tipper and I have been friends for many years. She helped me back in 2007 when I created my first Blog, Netwest Writers. 

Read the interview, and read the comments from her fans. She has touched many lives with first, her blog, Blind Pig and the Acorn, and now with her entertaining and enlightening YouTube videos. Celebrating Appalachia. She has inspired me to plant potatoes in my deck garden. 

Tipper has had some tough times lately first with her mother-in-law passing away and now her own mother, Granny, has been very sick and in the hospital for a long time. She also has become a grandmother since we did this interview.
Read it and leave your comment.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Recovery and Anxious to Teach Again

Young Glenda who thought she was too thin.

I look forward to teaching more memoir classes in June
. The classes will be on Zoom and I will continue with six or more students in two and one half hour sessions. 

In my last classes, I was delighted with my students and how they shared their life stories. They have said they will sign up again. Many of their narratives are publishable in the right venue.

By the second week in June, I will have my house on the market with a good realtor. I know someone will want my home which is privately set on a lot with no neighbors around it but the turkeys, the deer, and lots of birds. I see Pileated Woodpeckers from my living room. A small owl perched all day on my downstairs deck and hummingbirds flock to my feeders. In an old birdhouse in front, a pair of bluebirds hatch their young every spring. Wrens and other small birds like my deck garden where they build nests and teach their fledglings how to fly. 
1995 when we moved to our home
in the mountains

Everyone says my house will sell and sell quickly. I tear up at the thought of leaving a place where I spent some of the happiest times of my life with my husband of 45 years. But I am resetting my sails to deal with the winds of aging and health issues. Some things we have no control over, however, I constantly work at being able to write, teach, and to see loved ones. My sister, Gay, and I find things to laugh about every day and many of those things involve our misspoken names, words, or foolish things we do. We laugh at ourselves. I believe laughter is healing and love is, also. 

I will hold writing classes on Tuesdays,  6 - 8:30 PM, June 4,11,18.

See the Writing Classes for 2024 page for more information about the classes.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Going back to NC

Readers, if you are still with me after such a long absence, I appreciate you very much.

I look forward to going back to NC next week.

Scott Owens, the fabulous poet from Hickory, NC will come to our area on Thursday, April 18 to speak and read some of his outstanding poetry. He is always interesting to listen to and he will have some of his books for sale at the John C. Campbell Folk School in the Keith House where we will meet at 7:00 PM.

I will also speak and read prose that evening. As many of you know, I write poetry and prose, but at this meeting, Scott will share his poetry and I will share a short story or a nonfiction narrative from the many I have written over the years.

All of us who know Scott and his work will be happy to have him stay over to teach a workshop on Friday afternoon 1:30 – 4:00 at the Moss Library in Hayesville. You can read more about this event at

Although we need fees to pay Scott for coming so far, we cannot ask for them because the library’s rules say we can only ask for donations and must be open to the public. But we ask for donations of at least $40 and registration sent to Sandy Benson 310 Quail Cove Cir.  Warne NC 28909

If someone wants to attend and cannot make a donation, we will welcome them. It is helpful to know who and how many will be attending so we hope to hear from you if you plan to be there.

Contact me at if you have any questions.

Meanwhile, I am happy to finally take off the sling I have worn for six weeks because of my surgery. I am still doing physical therapy three times a week and can’t use my left arm much, but was told I have healed very well and will have good range of motion if I stay with PT. Thanks to those who sent me good wishes and said prayers for me. I am very fortunate to be here with my sister and brother-in-law who are so good to me. Without their love and care, I don’t know how I would have managed.

If you live within driving range, I hope to see you on April 18, at the folk school with Scott Owens. And if you write or want to learn to write poetry, be sure to register for the workshop on Friday, April 19 at the Moss Library in Hayesville, NC.

Until next time, stay well and be generous. Even giving a smile away to others is a gift much appreciated.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Brandy, My Miracle Dog


        Brandy, my miniature black poodle, rode with his front paws firmly planted on the top of the Honda motorcycle, his little rear end on the seat between my legs as I sped down the farm road. His long ears waved behind him in the wind like two black flags. Together we leaned into the curves and he never once lost his balance.

            My husband Barry gave Brandy to me as a wedding present one week after we married. I should have been aware that the puppy would own me before too long. He was a tiny curly ball of fur, jet black and shiny. Only six weeks old. His face with a pink tongue peeping from his smiling mouth and his two inquisitive eyes should have been a hint that he would lead us on a merry chase as we came to adore him.

            I loved his new puppy smell as I buried my face in his coat.  He licked my face and I knew we were meant for each other. That first night we made him a bed in a box in the kitchen complete with a soft blanket, a ticking clock, and old socks. We went to bed feeling like proud parents. It turned out to be a long night, and in the morning, the puppy was sleeping on my pillow.

            For the first three months of Brandy's life, he and I were inseparable. He ran free in our small furnished apartment and behaved himself surprisingly well most of the time.

            In September I went back to work teaching fourth grade. We left him alone for the first time, confined to the dining room just in case he grew bored or had an accident being left inside for such a long time. Although he cried when I closed the door on my way out, I felt certain he would settle down once he saw I was not coming back.

            To my dismay, Brandy met me at the back door that afternoon. I looked down and saw this tiny dog standing in an explosion of foam rubber strewn from the back door to the living room and all over the kitchen. After a brief survey, it was obvious. Brandy had jumped up on a chair and from there to the dining room table.  From the table, he leaped through the spindles of a wall divider into the living room. That was where he proceeded to destroy three sofa cushions and then to chew each of the legs of the coffee table.     

That escapade was expensive, and we knew we had to do something right away. We replaced the ruined furniture and made a decision that became a turning point in our lives. We moved to the farm where I had grown up and where my parents still lived.

On the farm, Brandy ran free when we were home. He chased cows, and made friends with my horse, although he was somewhat jealous of her. He nipped her on the nose. He was content to be fenced when we were gone.

One Sunday afternoon, Barry climbed up on the roof to repair a television antenna. In a rush to watch a football game, he left the ladder leaning against the house and forgot about it.

Early the next morning, we left for work in different cars. I arrived home around four o'clock in the afternoon. As I drove up I couldn't believe my eyes. Brandy came running, as he always did when he saw me, but this time he was running up on the roof. I clambered out of the car knowing, in his eagerness to reach me, he was going to jump.

My heart pounded. I ran toward him. But Brandy, far more intelligent than I realized at the time, scampered over to the ladder, scurried down, head first, never missing a step until he was three feet from the ground. At that point, he jumped. I heaved a sigh of relief, gathered him up in my arms, and hugged him. I looked up and wondered why he decided to climb the ladder? How long had he been up there? Over the years of living with him, I became aware that Brandy was an unusual dog. We had more to come.

Thursday, February 29, 2024


As I recover from shoulder surgery, I have had to cancel my ZOOM writing classes. We had six students who were writing and bonding and I look forward to continuing later this year, maybe in April or May.

Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting with writers and poets who knew Raven Chiong, when I return to Hayesville in March.  

In April I plan to read at the Literary Hour at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.
Our special guest that evening is Scott Owens, a wonderful poet, from Hickory, NC.
The date is April 18, Thursday, 7:00 PM in the Keith House.  

Friday, April 19, Scott will hold a workshop for poets at Moss Memorial Library, Hayesville, NC.

donations requested.

Saturday, January 27, 2024



Congratulations to Joseph Bathanti, friend and poet from Western North Carolina. 

He has been our featured guest on Netwest’s Zoom programs and our one-day writing conference. Joseph is always so gracious when we invite him. He will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame along with Ron Rash and Kaye Gibbons two authors who have written many excellent books and received many awards. There are several more outstanding writers on this list.

Bathanti was the Poet Laureate of NorthCarolina from 2012 to 2014 and has received both the North Carolina Award for Literature and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He is the author or editor of more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism. Since 2001 he has taught at Appalachian State University in Boone.

I hope Joseph will teach a poetry class for our NCWN-West poets in 2024. We would all gain so much from having him with us even if on Zoom.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Writing classes for 2024 Instructor Glenda Beall

Classes are taught via Zoom - Register to receive your invitation to participate.

Instructor: Glenda Council Beall

Glenda is a very capable, empathic, and insightful writing teacher, who creates and sustains a safe, warm space for students to learn and become successful writers.

Most of her students are beginning writers, and Glenda wants them to feel comfortable when they share their writing with others. She is a firm believer in encouragement rather than criticism but always finds ways to help writers improve their work without embarrassing them or making them feel defeated. 

Writing Your Memories into Stories for Your Family or for Publication

Tuesdays – 6:00 – 8:00 PM - January 23 and 30 - February 13

Fee: 60.00  for three classes

Online with Zoom

There are reasons why certain memories stay with us. We don’t remember everything that has happened in our lives, but we remember those things that made a difference.

Why are they important to us? 

Who are the people in our lives we want to remember and tell their stories so our children and grandchildren will know them as well?

What do you want your family to know about your life and why? Today young people hardly know their grandparents’ history, where they were born, what they did for work, and what tragedies or successes they had. We don’t sit on the porch and talk like our parents once did. Unless you write your unique story, no one will know it.  

We all have individual stories, and we can learn to write them to inform and enlighten our readers.  You might think your family is not interested in your story, but one day they will be so glad you took the time to write it.

In class, we share our stories and receive feedback from our peers that help us know what is good and what might need some more work. Each student gets individual attention from me with suggestions on how to make his/her story the best it can be.

My classes are for beginning and intermediate writers, published or non-published.

For registration information: