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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

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

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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
yesterday
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Oct 12
Nancy Sutton replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Metamorphoses
"Poignant in so many ways!   "
Oct 3
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
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

First Drumbeat

First Drumbeat(Part of Living Poem) The time has come.Call it a drum,Or a crumb,What’s left of life. I used to tell a jokeWhen my life was wide,And I was a stud,And not a dud—I knowI’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,A dad.  But everyone mustRebut the dud chargeAt summing up time. Oh yeah, the joke,A trademark one for meIn that it’s not funny. I used to say I’ll never retireFrom writingBecause if I’m ever…See More
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks for the prompt, Joan!  I have attached the whole work in progress as a doc at the bottom of the table of contents page: http://thereadonwnc.ning.com/special/living-poem"
Sep 22
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Is there a way from this website to print everything or might you send me such a document to bayjh@icloud.com?"
Sep 22
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event
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Julia Nunnally Duncan at Marion Branch McDowell County Public Library

October 24, 2018 from 4pm to 5pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be launching her new poetry collection A Neighborhood Changes (Finishing Line Press, 2018) at a book presentation and signing to be held at the McDowell County Public Library in Marion on October 24.See More
Sep 21

First Drumbeat

(Part of Living Poem)

 

The time has come.

Call it a drum,

Or a crumb,

What’s left of life.

 

I used to tell a joke

When my life was wide,

And I was a stud,

And not a dud—I know

I’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,

A dad.  But everyone must

Rebut the dud charge

At summing up time.

 

Oh yeah, the joke,

A trademark one for me

In that it’s not funny.

 

I used to say I’ll never retire

From writing

Because if I’m ever paralyzed

Except for my eyes,

I will blink Morse code

To a stenographer.

 

Wit’s the weapon, the needle

Wielded by the Incredible Shrinking Man.

 

The worst part of dying is delivering

Lopping news of loss to dear ones.

 

Henry.  Hey, Henry,

Gotta be a little heavy here,

Says me in the first-found-out days,

Feeling, acting cavalier.  You and Nathan

Don’t yet know of my condition.

Reading this poem comes after that revelation.

 

What do you call it when walls fall

And love of others’ beauty and appeal

Comes with knowing you’ll lose them

As grips slip and you sail into the future?

 

What is that feeling that fills eyes

That is both harrowing and holy

That can’t be dismissed by thin lies

And that cries for words, concepts, melody?

 

That’s a long way around back to poetry

From the sad place, the fairyland of regret.

I haven’t found the right words yet

For the reality that’s buried by reality.

 

Still, words are like shards carried away

From the mythical world of chimeras,

And like passports stamped for re-entry they

Cast back into reflections, like mirrors.

 

Chimera’s a curious shard.  It means an illusion.

In biology, it’s two creatures mashed together

Like “Mix and Match.”  The root is “gheim,”

Meaning “winter,” thus a winter-old she-goat

On Mount Olympus, which when combined

With a lion and dragon becomes one of those foes

A king sends a rival to fight and lose his life to.

 

Guess who the ill-fated champion was.  The grandson

Of Sisyphus, Bellerophon, who summoned Pegasus

And flew in and shoved a hunk of lead in the goat’s

Fire-breathing throat, choking it with the flux.

 

I think this is a story like the Golem, in this case

A mountain people taking their symbol of prosperity,

A doe goat ready to breed, and giving it monstrosity.

Thus, Bellerophon represents the dominant culture,

A demon-killer who goes rogue.  When he spurs

Pegasus to Olympus to challenge the gods,

Saying, I don’t believe in you who favor villains,

Zeus stings Pegasus with a gadfly, causing the rider

To fall on thorns and go blind…  A gadfly!

 

What about the word, “multifarious”—having variety?

Multi, many; farious, from fariam,

From the Indo-European dhē, meaning

“So be it!”  “So be it” for every facet’s facet.

 

So be it your multifarious mind.

 

You once asked me for the magic words

To tame anxiety and let you be boss.

It may end up being the misplaced item

We both seek, and you find.

 

I have come to think that the main cause

Of anxiety is crying voices

That make it hard to relax and focus,

That justify a state of high alert.

 

Something has set off alarms.

If they would just quiet, give a space

At least for gathering data

It would be enough.  But how escape?

 

I am with you, thinking to retreat

To the seat positioned by the stream

Where birds bathe and ruffle their feathers

Beneath shrubs in a woodland theater.

 

Our house is in view, half-hidden

By greenery, and so it’s easy to let go

Of concerns and commune with the oratorio

Of birds conducting life on a high level.

 

There’s another place I want to go,

The campfire setting that you propose.

Gather ‘round, hunker down because

Guess what, we’re just talking, bro’.

 

So I asked God, “How am I doing?

Because when God heard me boast

About the blinking eye, God said,

‘Oh, so I can spend my health chips

On someone else.’” 

 

“Thanks!”

 

“Everyone’s special,” God pronounced,

And he went off to pamper a platypus.

 

What is the point of saying “I exist!”

Existence is amiss. 

And my position is to—what—fix

The slippage daily, like Sisyphus?

His grandson rode to the gods on Pegasus,

Striving, like Icarus, to be proud,

And striving too hard and burning out.

Failure is the earnest person’s curse.

Blind faith is ludicrous, but not worse

Than agony.  Dear Lord, though I walk in the murk

Of uncertainty, and make errors that cause hurts,

Give me a strong heart and clear mind to assert

Stratagems and dutifully do beautiful work.

 

Maybe this book will sell big and help support Bev.

Will you please help support Bev and buy this book?

“Hello?  I don’t need support.  Damn it, Rob.”

And we sit and laugh like nattering nabobs.

 

Bev, if this makes you laugh,

I’m going to give you some more of it.

 

Like that time in Boston, the wind whooshed my cap,

Which rolled and rolled through Boston Commons.

A Cap for Sale panicking like the Gingerbread Man.

We laughed and laughed like Iowans in a subway.

 

Or that time house-shopping in our new burg

With Gloria and Ken, stopping at For Sale signs,

You running down driveways to espy

Backyards and returning with slanted yard arms

 

And cute legs filling shorts to the waist, as in

Spain, your valentine face beside a giant key

Handed us by a castle-keeper, charmed, evidently,

By you and the El Greco guy you married.

 

Always, we join in our lives to dwell on

Those loveliest of creatures, our sons,

Such good-hearted stars, and rightful goons.

 

“Goon” becomes a term because Nathan, you’ve

Called me that, and I called you, “Son of Goon.”

 

Now we’re set, Nathan,

We’ve laid the groundwork.

The game’s called Goon, and the object

Is to get to Good, with one condition:

Unkindness is not permitted.

 

The game plays on a dynamic board.

The goal is empathy, which as a tool,

Spawns spins, not wins, that go toward

Appreciation scores.    Isn’t it cool

That we own this knowledge core?

 

I need to talk as if I’m in decline

While upholding hope at the same time.

The two come together to intensify

Each moment in a show of “Hello, I’m.”

 

You may recognize that quip as a kind

Of rhyme-tweaking joke from “Ononis:

A Hare’s Tale.”  But I digress.

 

You see I’m back to my antic self,

And looking outward.  And “What else?”

 

This morning at breakfast,

Bev tells about an accountant

Who subbed as emergency goalie

For injured Blackhawk goalies

In the playoffs, and became MVP.

 

Henry said he’d never go to Urgent Care

To get the wood chip out of his eye

Because they can’t do anything urgent.

 

No moment is immaterial.

Flash in the pan, grit in the glue: ethereal.

--Rob Neufeld, Sept. 22, 2018

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