Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis. The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
The Main Show: a mythic story-poem stage presentation(part of Living Poem)Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) 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,…See More
In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood. Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood. In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview. But....was this really…See More
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
The Main Show: A Story Poem Cycle(formerly, Coalescence) (part of Living Poem)The Main Show Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) 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…See More
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
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
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
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
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
I'm amazed at how speech shows a richer and richer vocabulary the more you go into its country. Not only southern mountain talk, but also the talk of Western North Carolina, and communities within WNC. Then, there are cross-currents of rich language--such as the talk of specialized occupations.
I'm reading "The Life of the Skies" by Jonathan Rosen. He talks about falling in love with birders' vocabulary--the range of descriptions of colors; the species names. The English name, "yellow-rumped warbler," focuses on a "colorful patch on its ass," whereas the Latin, Dendroica coronata, chooses to point out the bird's crown.
Yeah, that's right, the warbler-namers are scientists, and they can focus on an ass or a noggin without fear of seeming vulgar.
I just recently spoke with a teen who says vulgar is okay because the words are in the dictionary. I might have encouraged him to get more dictionaries and expand his vocabulary. But the real answer to his point is the question, "Where do you use common speech?" For instance, web blogs and forums are casual and smart; whereas, high school papers and grown-up board rooms are as formal as a urologist with test results.
Sometimes you can't be real or funny without vulgarities. I remember the joke in McCabe in Mrs Miller. An eagle swallowed a worm, flew up into the clouds, and worked the worm through its system. The worm's head poked out the eagle's other end. "Where am I?" the worm inquired. "10,000 feet above the ground," the eagle replied, which prompted the worm to gasp, "You wouldn't sh-t me now, would you?"
I'm not so impressed by dialects as I am language in general. My favorite word is naught, which means "nothing." The derivation is OE which was fathered by Old High Geman and most likely Welsh--since English and German had a little snuggle-tickle down yonder. The modern German term for nothing is nichts, where only a slight repositioning of the tongue changes the vowel. Just try it. Say naught and then pull your tongue back a little and hear what you get. All of this, of course, brings me to my fascination with "you'ns." In this state, I only hear you'ns from Morganton west. When I moved to Asheville, you'ns was everywhere--drove me nuts with the idiocy encapsulated by the sound of the word. But I soon learned that some of the settlers of this area came from southern England, where many counties' "ya'll" equivalent was "you ones" or "we ones--" to give or take clipped sounds--which is how we now have "you'ns." I'll still take ya'll over you'ns any day, and though America has embraced ya'll, I don't think they'll ever be ready for you'ns--especially since I don't know how to really spell it.
Jodi, “y’all” is not in the mountaineer’s lexicon. That’s a lowland southern word. You will never hear old-timers here say “y’all” in a serious manner. You’ll hear them say “you’uns” or “youns”/"yuns" (“you ones”), but never “y’all” unless they’re simply obliging the tourists. “Y’all” is a broad southern contraction of “YOU all” (with emphasis on “you”). Mountaineers do say, “You ALL are invited….”
When you hear someone say “y’all” around here, you know he is (1) a lowland southerner transplanted here, (2) a non-southerner who is trying to sound southern, (3) an older mountaineer who is simply obliging outlanders who want to hear it, or (4) a young mountaineer who has adopted broad southern speech and really doesn’t know the difference.
Southern Appalachian-speak is a subset of southern-speak, but southern is not necessarily Appalachian. Other distinct sub-sets of southern-speak are Cajun and Tex-Mex. Actually, Smoky Mountain English is a subset of Southern Appalachian, and many linguists think it has retained the oldest usage within the Appalachian range. Some linguists have even spent countless hours finding parallels with and vestiges of Elizabethan English.
You might like the DICTIONARY OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN ENGLISH collected by Michael B. Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall from extensive recordings and research of language in the WNC-ET region. It’s huge and expensive, but a fascinating reference for anyone who lives here. You can find it at local booksellers, Amazon, etc.