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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25.

East Asheville history and sites

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The German experience settling WNC 1 Reply

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Mark de Castrique posted a blog post
Oct 13
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library.  Photo by author.            “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
Oct 8
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at MACA Authors' Booth

October 14, 2017 from 9:30am to 1:30pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be signing her new books A Part of Me and A Place That Was Home at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14, from 9:30-1:30. She will be located at the MACA Authors' booth on Main Street.See More
Oct 7
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Sample 8 Great Smokies Writers at Malaprop’s, Oct. 15

Writers in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP)read atMalaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Sun.,Oct. 15 Elizabeth Lutyens, editor of the GSWP’s Great Smokies Review, leads the Prose Master Class and will host the reading. ·        Ellen Carr, who works in the financial industry, will read excerpts from her novel of uneasy relationships, Unmanned. ·        Sarah Carter, an artist and photographer who will publish an excerpt of her novel, Jolene, Joe-Pye,…See More
Oct 6
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Oct 6
Mark de Castrique posted a blog post

How To Kill Your Reader

Danger is a crucial element in a mystery novel. A killer is on the loose and no one is safe. But sometimes the killer can be the writer, and the victim, the reader.I'm talking about when the author turns into a preacher and the story becomes a sermon. Now I am not against using a mystery novel for social commentary. Writing doesn't happen in a moral vacuum, and, after all, isn't a mystery a morality play? As fellow North Carolina author Margaret Maron said there is no topic that can't be dealt…See More
Oct 5
Mark de Castrique posted a video

Hidden Scars - A Sam Blackman Mystery

Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson investigate a 70-year-old death that unleashes a killer.
Oct 3
Mark de Castrique posted a discussion

Black Mountain College as Backdrop for Mystery

My new book, HIDDEN SCARS, is released Oct 3rd.  D.G. Martin notes the star of the story is Black Mountain College.  http://chapelboro.com/town-square/columns/one-on-one/one-one-lost-college-still-shinesSee More
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Upcoming book--Sacred Sites for Secular Times

Sacred Sites for Secular Times: 50 Commemorative Experiences in Western North Carolina by Rob Neufeld              Among the many sites dedicated to history, there are some—both overbooked and overlooked—that provide full and moving experiences.  They involve a physical component, connecting to landscape; an imaginative one, entering other times and minds; and an interactive one, maintaining relevance.             The entries in this book help create full experiences through descriptive…See More
Sep 25
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Susan Weinberg shared their event on Facebook
Sep 22
Susan Weinberg shared their event on Facebook
Sep 22
Kathryn Hall posted a blog post

Aim for Beauty

In honor of my blog Plant Whatever Brings You Joy's 10th Blogiversary I've posted a chapter from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. This particular chapter was also excerpted in Fairview's GreenPrints magazine, which was greatly appreciated. Read more here: http://plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com/aim-for-beauty/…See More
Sep 11
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

McCrumb ghost-opened world in The Unquiet Grave

McCrumb sees stories behind haunting ghost by Rob NeufeldPHOTO: Sharyn McCrumb and her dog Arthur, 2017.  Photo by Laura Palmer, courtesy, Sharyn McCrumb In “The Unquiet Grave,” Sharyn McCrumb once again demonstrates her mastery at turning a folktale into something larger, different, and greater.The legend of the…See More
Sep 10
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

James Vestus Miller

­HISTORIC PHOTO James Vester Miller James Vester Miller had been a boy when his mother, a Rutherfordton slave, had responded to Emancipation by taking her three children to Asheville and getting a job as a cook in a boardinghouse—some say Julia Wolfe’s boardinghouse, Old Kentucky Home.  Growing up, Miller hung…See More
Aug 26
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library.  Photo by author.            “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
Aug 25

Dance critic applies grace to every move

by Rob Neufeld

 

            It’s nice to find just the right word for something, especially when it sums up a main idea in your way of thinking.

            That was the case with Sarah Kaufman when she’d first felt moved, nine years ago, to write her new book, “The Art of Grace” (W.W. Norton).

            Kaufman, then a veteran dance critic for the “Washington Post,” had already expanded her coverage to include such dancelike subjects as the Tour de France and the Changing of the Guard.  Next, she’d decided, she’d write about Hollywood’s “Golden Age” movie stars, how they walked, faltered, and gestured.

            “The first movie I popped into my DVD,” she said in a recent interview with me, “was ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ and I knew instantly that the core of my essay was going to be about Cary Grant because that word—“grace”—just dropped into my mind when I saw him.”

            Kaufman presents her book at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville Saturday evening, Jan. 9..

 

Everyday contexts

 

            Kaufman’s subject has become a beacon to her, as she follows it to sports arenas, religious practices, restaurant kitchens, emergency rooms, and ice trucks.

            “There’s so much art all around us, so much beauty,” she explained compassionately—“you know, in the way people tend to fall into step when they walk together; or with an easy exchange in a coffee shop between a barista and a customer; or with a homeless person on the street corner.”

“Have you ever thought of creating—or have you created any choreography?” I asked Kaufman.

            “No, that’s not my art,” she replied.  However, her writing might find expression in a documentary, as “some people are working on it,” she said.

            Passages in “The Art of Grace” would make great filmed scenes, I think—for example, the restaurant kitchen Kaufman writes about in the chapter, “Everyday Grace.”

            “Eight cooks are squeezed together like a submarine crew,” she relates.  “Still, they swivel with graceful ease.”  They bend and spring.  “These toqued commandos glide calmly through the same motions again and again.  They’re a hairbreadth away from ruin, mere seconds from scorched shoat.”

            I had to stop at the word, “toqued.”  Did Kaufman mean “torqued”?  No, toque is the little hat, that’s funny.

            “The Art of Grace,” is a good mix of celebrity anecdotes; timely advice; exuberant story-telling; and delicious wit, though the word-love sometimes spirals into romantic moon-shots.

 

Longed-for expression

 

            From childhood, Kaufman had been a story-teller and seeker.  Dance became a main channel within that interest, partly because of a childhood experience.

            “Born with a heart defect that required surgery when I was seven,” she writes, “I was strictly kept away from physical exertion until a year after I’d had the operation.  I watched and absorbed vicariously all I could of others’ play and sports.  Ballet lessons...finally gave me a way in to the much-longed-for world of physical expression.”

            In the chapter, “To Become Unstuck,” Kaufman reports on a dance class for  people with Parkinson’s Disease at Mark Morris Dance Group’s headquarters.

            “If we think of grace as a magical combination of phrasing, fluidity, musicality, suspension, (and) the sense that one movement leads to the next—all that goes away with Parkinson’s,” Kaufman quotes David Leventhal, program director of “Dance for PD.”

            Beginning with repetitive gliding and expressiveness—not memorization of steps—the class leads participants to a new sense of themselves.

 

Kinds of grace

 

            The meaning of grace contains the ease of movement that people try to attain, the relief of revelation, the power of generosity, and the humility of good manners, Kaufman explicates.

            Kaufman’s saint of gracefulness and graciousness, Cary Grant, purposely flubbed his lines if his co-star’s delivery was off, so that the scene would have to be reshot without embarrassing his partner.

            When the House Un-American Activities Committee revoked Charlie Chaplin’s visa in 1952, Grant announced his retirement, stood up for Chaplin, and told the nation, “We should not go off the deep end.”  In 1940, Grant had donated his entire salary from “The Philadelphia Story” to the British war effort.

            Also that year, Grant had starred in “His Girl Friday” with Rosalind Russell.  Seated at lunch with his ex-wife and her new fiancé, Grant’s character delivers a cutting line that is full of play and pain. 

            The coup de grace in this exchange, Kaufman relates, occurs when an action “that starts in his neck and trickles across the top of his suit jacket shouts out loud and clear that Hildy (his ex) is making a stupid mistake...That liquid, nearly imperceptible roll of a muscle hangs there like an echo...a shiver in the emotional current.”

 

More of the interview

 

            “Your book has been a passion of yours for a long time,” I acknowledged in my interview with Kaufman.

            “It’s true,” she said.  “It’s a topic that I couldn’t find written about already in a way that tries to identify the grace that we see and experience in our everyday lives.”

            When she said she’d been a shy and somewhat socially inept person as a child, I asked her how grace had helped overcome that.

            “One thing to bear in mind,” she advised, “is to take the focus off yourself.  One of the 1930s manuals that I quote in the book said, ‘If you feel self-conscious, think of the other person, and you can’t hold two ideas in your mind at the same time.’”

            “Have you had an eye-opening experience of grace lately?” I wondered.

            “In fact, just a couple of weeks ago,” she recounted, “I was in a grocery store café, doing work on my laptop.  It was a quiet evening.  From across the room, a fellow started singing...the whole Beatles canon!  I was thinking to myself, ‘Why?  I was having such a good time here.’” 

“As I was listening to him,” she continued, “he got to ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and started singing the line, ‘All the lonely people.’  I felt a tear.  It was one of those moments of two impulses crashing up against each other—a little bit of frustration, and then a lot of compassion.   It was a moment of grace.”

 

AUTHOR EVENT

Sarah Kaufman presents her new book, “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well through Life,” 7 p.m., Sat., Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville (254-6734).

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