KlinesLast weekend I had the pleasure of teaching at the WV Writers Conference in Ripley, WV. The last time I was at Cedar Lakes Conference Center I was attending Conservation Camp and I was 11 or 12-years-old.

It was even better being there this time around!

In addition to leading some classes, I got to take some. One was led by Michael and Carrie Kline. Musicians and folklorists they hosted a class titled “Listening for a Change: Gathering Local Memory and Wisdom.” Well. That sounded like my cup of tea!

And it was! The focus was on interview techniques to get at the stories of everyday people. My favorite! I got started writing because I needed a vehicle for the stories I’d been hearing all my life. And the Klines guided us through the process of drawing those stories out in a way that invites folks to share their hearts. No agenda. No preconceived notions, just a listening ear. It was delightful. (Plus, their music is wonderful!)

And now I want to go up and down the street trying those techniques on every Appalachian native I know! Oh, if only my grandparents were still with us. There’s such a wealth of stories in the people we talk to every day. And I get to draw them out.

If you’d like to hear some of the stories the Klines have drawn out, check out their Talking Across the Lines podcasts at www.folktalk.org. Their curated stories certainly made my drive from WV back to NC fly!