Tag Archives: north carolina

Creative Writing Events Near You!

Are you wriwritingting short stories? How about creative nonfiction or true-life essays? And let’s not forget about the third leg of this literary stool — poetry! Are you ready to submit your work?

No matter what you’re writing, revising or preparing to submit, you’re bound to find a local special event that may help you in your creative endeavors, from readings to classes, talks, and more! And some events are free! By attending, you’ll also meet other like-minded writers who can help you in your journey. Writing is by nature a solitary act, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.

As a special note, in addition to teaching a class at Central Carolina Community College this fall, I’m also honored to be presenting two workshops at Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc. later this fall and in January. I look forward to working with and meeting writers in the Charlotte metro area.

Hope to see you at one of these events. In the meantime, keep writing and delighting!

Click here to view the latest list of Upcoming Events.

Listen for the Wood Thrush!

wood thrushHave you heard the wood thrush this summer? He is an unassuming little bird in terms of appearance, but don’t be deceived! The wood thrush is unique for his Y-shaped voice box! This means that his voice magically splits and harmonizes with itself on the final notes of his trademark song, what humans have anthropomorphized as follows: Come to me. Here I am. Right near you. 

The wood thrush spends his summers in the Eastern U.S., where he sings to attract a mate and together they raise their young in the deep woods, where he is far more likely to be heard than seen. We have a very vocal wood thrush in the woods outside our house and his voice sails through the air like the first notes of a flute, which makes him stand out from the cacophony of the other birds. Click here to hear him sing.

For all of these reasons, I chose to feature the wood thrush in the title poem of my first-ever poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, which is being published by Finishing Line Press and has been described by celebrated poet and fiction writer Ruth Moose as “Witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives….”

Waiting for the Wood Thrush is now available for pre-order through September 13 by the publisher, Finishing Line Press. Pre-order sales help the author and publisher because they help determine the quantity of the first press run. As a personal favor, I hope you’ll order my book soon, but I wouldn’t ask you unless I believed you might enjoy it.

Memory_Ashley_COV_EMClick here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. You may also order by sending a check for $14.99 (please include $2.99 per copy for shipping) to Finishing Line Press at P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

If you’ve ordered a copy already, I sincerely thank you. Finishing Line Press will be shipping all copies around November 8, which means it will arrive well in time for your holiday shopping.

And who wouldn’t like to get a book of poetry for Christmas? 🙂

 

Happy National Camera Day, Etc!

cravengraveIt’s June 29, and the National Day Calendar tells me it’s National Camera Day, National Almond Buttercrunch Day, and National Waffle Iron Day!

So how did we celebrate such momentous occasions? First, we took a little field trip  to scenic Concord Cemetery in Coleridge, N.C. This site has been on my history bucket list for some time, as I’m a descendant (through my mother, Margaret Jane Craven) of Peter Craven, one of the early settlers of Randolph County. He settled here in 1750, back when our county was still part of Orange County, and well before our nation’s independence.

Peter had six sons and his descendants are now scattered across the U.S., but many of the original family members, including my great-great-great-great-great grandfather Thomas Craven, Esquire, Peter Craven’s eldest son, are buried here. Both Peter and Thomas served in the Revolutionary War and became renowned for their pottery.  The bright sunshine, verdant hills, and blue sky made today a perfect day for snapping pictures, such as the one above memorializing our patriarch.

Later, at home, I remembered that it was also Almond Buttercrunch Day. Luckily, I happened to some chocolate-covered toffee cookies stowed away in the freezer.

cookie

Okay, the flavor wasn’t quite almond buttercrunch, but I figured it was close enough, right?

The only thing left to commemorate is National Waffle Iron Day, but I have to tell you that after just two cookies, I’m already full. I love waffles, so maybe I’ll get out the waffle iron later. These long summer days make anything possible.

By the way, the National Day Calendar is a terrific resource for writers (and anybody else who just wants another reason to be happy!).

So have a little fun, and I hope you celebrate your favorite special day with style…..

 

Bored? Write about it….

snow.jpgAs we recover from the early December snowfall, trapped at home due to icy roads, it’s easy to feel bored.

There are only so many ways you can reorganize your pantry and entertain house-bound dogs, and yes, even watching movies gets old pretty quickly. And reading, while always stimulating, feels self-indulgent to me after days on end.

I need to be writing! New material, not just editing. As good as it feels to whittle and sculpt, there’s no substitute to the high you get by rolling out new pearls. So, on to new stuff….

When writing creative nonfiction, it’s easy to be intimidated by all the great prose out there. I recently read essays by a woman visited by the ghost of her mother, an environmentalist who protests exploitation of sea life by robbing coastal souvenir shops with his father, and a piece by George Orwell about a wild elephant on the rampage in Burma. Do you ever feel that your own experience, while certainly special to you, seems inferior when stacked up against that of others?

Don’t! Just because you haven’t survived a harrowing incident recently, been the victim of a crime (thank goodness), or saved a baby from drowning, you still have an extraordinary life, and I promise, you can find something inspirational to write about.

And on that subject, one of my favorite prompts came from a Women on Writing  newsletter. It goes like this: “Take a small, boring moment that happened and write as much as you can about it. Go overboard describing it, and make this boring moment exciting by describing it in intense detail with ecstatic prose.”

So while we all might not have an earth-shattering event at our fingertips, we all do have a seemingly boring incident to write about AND possibly elevate. You just have to be creative about it. Such an assignment might also be fun — at the very least, it’s certainly good practice to flex those creative muscles and push yourself in this way.

Humm…reorganizing my pantry is suddenly exciting again. And didn’t one of the dogs do something silly this afternoon on a walk through the neighborhood….

 

 

 

Poem #25 – About the State Bird

cardinalToday, in honor of my dear friend Jen Kretchmar and our numerous road trips together, I share a poem about our beloved state bird. The Northern Cardinal inspired Poem #25.

To catch up on my progress, I hope you’ll breeze through the daily list to read the poems posted so far. Just five more poems to go!

If you love poetry, I hope you’ll consider supporting a poet this month. Scroll  down read my work (and those of the other poets) if you can, and consider supporting me with a small donation. Supportive comments on this blog are also very welcome because they inspire me to keep going!

Many, many thanks to all of you have contributed to the cause so far — either through a monetary donation or moral support, which are equally valuable.

Please know that your contributions are going to a great cause. Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, and for 17 years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.

Poem #20 – Little Town of Ether

etherYou don’t have to open a book to plunge into the history of our state. Try visiting a little town like Ether. Although they often fell victim to North Carolina’s all-too-brief gold rush or the decline of our textile mills, these little communities are coping in their own way. And even with tiny populations, many of these towns still have enough life to make a visit a rewarding and poignant experience.

The little town of Ether, Montgomery County, N.C., inspired my poem for today.

To catch up on my progress so far, I hope you’ll breeze through the daily list to read:
#19 – The Harry She Loved
#18 – RU OK?
#17 – Small Failures
#16 – Small Miracles
#15 – Inclined to Mischief

You’ll also enjoy reading the work of my fellow poets, which inspire me every day. If you love poetry, I hope you’ll consider supporting a poet this month. Scroll  down read my work (and those of the other poets) if you can, and consider supporting me with a small donation. Supportive comments on this blog are also very welcome because they inspire me to keep going!

Many, many thanks to all of you have contributed to the cause so far — either through a monetary donation or moral support, which are equally valuable.

Please know that your contributions are going to a great cause. Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, and for 17 years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.