I’m SO excited to be presenting at this year’s WV Writers Summer Conference! I so enjoy talking writing and sharing what I’ve learned thus far, but to do it back home in West Virginia . . . well, you can’t beat that with a stick! PLUS, I’m hoping I can sit in on sessions being led by some of the […]
I’ve loved Robert Frost’s poem Nothing Gold Can Stay since I first saw The Outsiders movie. I think that’s the hardest I’ve ever cried at a movie. The poem is so gorgeously bittersweet. To me, it’s always spoken of that moment in autumn when nature is at it’s most perfect. You just want to seize the instant and somehow preserve […]
This seems to be my year for collections. While I don’t have a full-length novel coming out in 2018, I do get to be part of two collections releasing on October 1st and 2nd. I’ve already written about The Christmas Heirloom novella collection releasing 10.2.18, but Vinegar and Char is something else altogether. When it comes to writing, my first […]
I had a wonderful time at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest this past weekend. I had a chance to teach a class, sit on a panel, and interact with readers (and writers!). Some of my favorite things to do! On Friday I sat in on a poetry workshop with former Wisconsin poet laureate and Kentucky native Max Garland. It took me back to my first love–poetry. It’s such fun to sit with a group of other folks who are passionate about stringing words together in a meaningful way. Which made me realize I’ve never shared my favorite poem (of mine) with you. So here you go–one of my earliest published poems that appeared in Appalachian Heritage way back in 2006. SAD STREAKS AND WEEPY MERINGUES Illness, death, disease and even divorce bring out the mixing bowls, the spoons, the flour, the sugar and the speckled brown eggs. Good women converge in kitchens on far sides of town, all for the expression of love and sorrow, sadness and hope. They consult stained cookbooks, faded cards and memories sharpened with use to concoct something that will stave off the hunger for knowing what comes next—what comes after we get through this . . . And when the pound cake isn’t quite done, with a soft, moist middle that invites us to sink down and find an almost peace— When the sugar in the meringue doesn’t quite melt, and caramel drops bloom like […]
No, not the states below the Mason Dixon Line. I’m talking about the cooperative store started by farmers in Virginia. When I was a kid, we’d go to Southern States to buy things like cattle feed, bulk dog food, bag balm, seeds, medicine for cattle, and SPRING CHICKS. Mostly, going to Southern States wasn’t all that exciting. The store had […]
We all have special people in our lives. Folks who have an impact on us–whether fleeting or long term. I’ve been thinking lately about how many of those people in my life are gone now–Grandma Burla, Aunt Bess, Dusan & Marsha, Aunt Dorothy & Uncle Willis, Smutt & Anna, Grandma Ginny . . . the list goes on. But maybe, […]
While folks living further to the north have no illusions about winter being over and folks further to the south rarely get the full-on winter experience, we here in the middle–the Appalachians–are suffering that in-between season. We just had a major hit of snow and while we KNOW spring is a long ways off today is . . . warm. It’s downright mild. The sun’s been shining, the snow is mostly gone, and those fool robins keep dancing around in our yards. It’s enough to give a person hope. At least for a minute. FALSE SPRING The yard is full of robins. Fat and quick they flutter like snowflakes falling before the storm really arrives. Just enough to draw my attention—to make me look. A frog is awake in the pond below the house—he sounds like a chicken clucking, like children squabbling, like spring. Just enough to turn my head— to make me listen. A neighbor works in his yard, moving rocks and dirt and sticks. He stirs the soil like plowing, like planting the first promise of the year. Just enough to tickle my nose— to make me breathe . . . again. But the calendar doesn’t lie the way a day in February can. Those tips of green will soon send their regrets and bow down under the weight of stillborn hope. And the robins will scatter to the wind.