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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

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Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Intermission

IntermissionHear audio by clicking mp3 attachment!(Part of poem, "Coalescence") I thought I might take a break at this point to look around,Now that I’m in the business of making things resound.It’s so nice to have the luxury of being carefree. If you stop and sit back and try to take in everything,It stuns you and you can’t focus on anythingUntil something crops up, and what…See More
Jan 16
Joan Henehan replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Coalescence
"It's an odyssey..."
Jan 8
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Coalescence

Coalescence (part of  Living Poem)by Rob Neufeld Intro Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a flower,A disaster streaming off extremes it breedsEverywhere and in our minds, disabling our power.) Distractions are good, puzzles that teaseAnd please and fill the main scene,…See More
Dec 11, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Sultan's Dream

The Sultan’s Dream (Part of Living Poem) When it comes to walking, the jig’s up.No more fit lad sitting at the pub.No more flim-flam smiling with a limp. See how the legs totter and the torso leans.Do you know what a lame sultan dreams?Of reclining on a divan wearing pantaloons, Comparing his plight to a mountaineer’sNegotiating an icy bluff in a fierce wind,And then lounging in a tent to unwind. Which…See More
Nov 15, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Tale of Ononis

The Tale of Ononis by Rob Neufeld Part 1: The Making of a Celebrity ❧  Hare Begins His Tale  Ononis was my region’s name.People now call it Never-the-same.I’ll start with the day a delivery came. The package I got was a devil’s dare,Swaddled and knotted in Swamp Bloat hairAnd bearing, in red, one word: “Beware!” Bloats are creatures from the Land of Mud Pies,Wallowing in waste with tightly closed eyesUntil fears bring tears and the bleary bloats rise.   ❧  Hare’s Colleagues  I asked my boss,…See More
Nov 9, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Drop Your Troubles: A Solo Storytelling Performance with Connie Regan-Blake at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

December 1, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join this internationally renowned storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she transforms a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends with old-timey charm, wisdom, and humor. We’ll also welcome the Singer of  Stories, Donna Marie Todd, who will perform her original story, “The Amazing Zicafoose Sisters.” Connie’s last two shows at BMCA have sold…See More
Nov 6, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Explore the Landscapes of Story and Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Nov 6, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
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Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Oct 28, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” The event will be hosted by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, just a short drive from Asheville nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding the area. Call the Center for advance tickets (828) 669-0930 or order…See More
Oct 28, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive, affirming…See More
Oct 28, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Let’s say every word is precious

Let’s say every word is precious (Part of Living Poem) Let’s say every word is precious.Say every word is precious.Every word is precious.Every word precious.Every word.Word.--Rob Neufeld, Oct. 16, 2018See More
Oct 17, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Oct 12, 2018
Nancy Sutton replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Metamorphoses
"Poignant in so many ways!   "
Oct 3, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses (Part of Living Poem)Hear audio: Metamorphoses%20181004_0192.MP3 So Apollo committed the first rape.He’d come back from exterminating Python,The Bane of Humanity, now his arrow-victim,And stopped to mock…See More
Oct 2, 2018
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Sep 22, 2018

12 Notables of WNC by Jack Prather; and Grateful Steps Foundation

Jack Prather celebrates greats with Grateful Steps

by Rob Neufeld

 

Grateful Steps, one of the generators of this region’s literary vitality, is reaching out in many directions to fulfill its mission of diversity in publishing.

On Aug. 4, the non-profit foundation and publisher hosts its “biggest event ever,” says Grateful Steps owner Micki Cabaniss, as Jack Prather, along with notables celebrated in his new book, “Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina,” gather in the foundation bookstore

Three of the notables—musician-storyteller David Holt; poet Glenis Redmond; and Doug Orr (President Emeritus, Warren Wilson College)—will perform.

 

Prodigious

 

Grateful Steps has published 50 books since its founding in 2004. Forty more are in production; 100 more on a waiting list.

One upcoming book, “Why the Clown Wouldn’t Smile,” is by a Prather notable, Dr. Olson Huff.  It features artwork by disabled children Huff has known through five decades of pediatric caring.

“Dr. Huff is the consummate child advocate and everyone’s role model community pediatrician,” Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, testifies in a quote that opens Prather’s 29-page chapter on Huff.

In each chapter, testimonials lead to bulleted biographical notes and substantial interviews.  Prather’s notables, selected through recommendations and research, give themselves over to the generous space Prather provides them.

Prather’s journey started with Joe Epley, novelist and public relations all-star, whom Prather had met at a Public Relations Society Meeting in 2004.  Epley led Prather to Huff.

David Potorti, N.C. Arts Council Literature Director, led Prather to basket artist Billie Ruth Sudduth and studio glass artist Richard Ritter.

“When I started glassblowing,” Ritter told Prather on a tour of his studio, “There were no furnaces or equipment commercially available, do you had to build your own.”

Ritter had attended Penland School of the Arts in 1971, and served as its Artist-in-Residence from 1972-76.  A few years later, he and wife, artist Jan Williams, had moved to a house a few miles away.

“I wanted to get to know my neighbors,” Ritter says, “and I also wanted to join the Volunteer Fire Department.  As a kid I always wanted to be a fireman.”  He eventually became chief of that organization.

 

Halo effect

 

“I’m pacing a bit,” Prather writes, describing his excitement before interviewing Dr. Huff.  “Suddenly striding my way,” he narrates, “is a spry septuagenarian with Carl Sandburg-like hair and bright smiling eyes.”

“Doctor Huff, please share with me how you stay so trim and fit,” Prather asks when they settle in Huff’s office.

The ensuing conversation touches upon Huff’s childhood in hardscrabble Kentucky; his discovery of medicine as a career; Vietnam War service; “Country Remedy,” the movie based on his book about a pediatrician; Smart Start; childhood obesity; MAHEC; Mission Children’s Hospital; and faith.

“My life began in a religious environment that was pretty restrictive,” Huff responded with frankness to Prather’s admiring inquiries.  Influenced by caring parents and role models, Huff stated, he “began to look more at the broadness of what it means to have a faith.”

He identified with the role of healer.

 

In step

 

Prather published the book through his own company, Future Now Publishing; and connected with Grateful Steps to promote and sell it.

Grateful Steps Foundation embraced the “Twelve Notables” message; and its publishing house applied parts of its full-service (edit-design-promote-distribute) operation.

“All our books are top quality,” Cabaniss attests.  “We work one-on-one with the authors sometimes for years.

“We bring voices to the community that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.”

The bookstore, opened a year-and-a-half ago, helps get out the word, and includes consignment books, representing other publishers. 

Additional collaborative efforts include providing space to writing classes, Tek Kids, and Creative College; support of Wordfest, the annual Asheville poetry festival directed by Laura Hope Gill, Grateful Steps’ marketing director; and interfaith book discussions.

 

Mission

 

This past January, Grateful Steps Foundation received non-profit status.

“Just like Hub City Press in Spartanburg,” Cabaniss relates, “we are a non-profit publishing company with a book shop…There are some highly respected non-profit publishing companies outside of universities and religious organizations” she notes, also citing Graywolf Press in Minneapolis and Sarabande Books in Louisville. 

Grateful Steps’ mission statement identifies its guidelines: to publish under-represented voices; preserve and teach the history of Appalachia; and to promote multicultural, interfaith and economic community development.

The interfaith focus connects to a spiritual foundation.

“We have crosses on our logo,” Cabaniss states.  “We have a Christian base to our company.  People here have a Christian base to their personal lives, and we start our days with prayer.

“We feel it’s a ministry of sorts to open the door respectfully to others’ beliefs, and to share with them ours.”

 

The books speak

 

The message is in the diversity of Grateful Steps’ books.

One book, soon to go to press, is by an inmate who turned his life around and became a chef and now a novelist.

“Near Death” by Steven Cox portrays evil-doers who are brainwashed by a tribunal to believe that they have died, faced judgment, and been given a second chance at life.  When they discover the scam, many years later, they have second thoughts about their fates.

Here is a sampling of other Grateful Steps books:

  • The Other Half of My Soul by Bahia Abrams (2008)—a novel about a romance between a Syrian-American Jewish woman and a passionate Syrian Muslim.
  • My Brother Is Like a Baby Bird by Amy Tiller (hardcover, 2009)—a picture book by the mother of extremely premature twins, revealing animal lessons about caring.
  • Meigs Line by Dwight McCarter and Joe Kelley (2009)—the story of the authors’ explorations along the Cherokee-American 1802 boundary.
  • Look Up Asheville: An Architectural Journey (2010), to be followed by Look Up Asheville Collection II, by author Laura Hope Gill and photographer Michael Oppenheim.
  • Sharks on My Fin Tips by Simone Lipscomb (2011)—described as “journeys deep into the wilds of nature and her own instinctual self.”
  • Traveling to Marshall by Jack Thomas (2011)—a look back at the mountain town by a retired pastor.
  • The Cow That Meowed by Hal Mahan, owner of The Compleat Naturalist in Biltmore Village, and illustrator Susan Peterson (Dec. 2011)—a parable about tolerance.
  • The Asheville Art Book—a new project, featuring area artists and gorgeous photos, now seeking sponsors.

 

THE EVENT & BOOK

Jack Prather launches his book, “Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina,” 7 p.m., Aug. 4, at Grateful Steps, 159 South Lexington Ave., Asheville.  He will be joined by notables Dr. Olson Huff, Joe Epley, David Holt, Doug Orr, Glenis Redmond, and Rev. Dan Matthews.   

Learn more about the event, the publisher, and Prather’s notables.

Part of the proceeds of the sale of the book will go to the Warren Wilson College Young Writers Scholarship, to be awarded annually to an incoming freshman majoring in Creative Writing.

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