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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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Nancy Werking Poling posted an event

Nancy Werking Poling at Black Mountain Library

June 15, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm
Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?Nancy Werking Poling will launch her new novel, WHILE EARTH STILL SPEAKS, set in WNC. She'll tell the stories behind the story: How did Mary (more crone than virgin) get into the narrative? And Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth?See More
Monday
Caroline McIntyre posted events
Apr 29
Rob Neufeld updated their profile
Apr 13
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8
George Ellison left a comment for Renea Winchester
"luv ya Renea ... Kephart bio finally done after 40 years ... free at last ... free at last... great god almighty ... free a last!"
Apr 5
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
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Connie Regan-Blake Storytelling at Hendersonville Public Library at Henderson County Public Library - Main Branch

June 13, 2019 from 6pm to 7pm
Join Connie Regan-Blake for a family oriented evening of stories at the Hendersonville Library.See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Apr 1
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
Please 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.” Here are the tellers for our April 6th “Slice of Life” performance.  Christine Phillips Westfeldt, Kyra Freeman, Steve Tate, Alberta Hipps and more! The event is hosted by the …See More
Apr 1
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,…See More
Apr 1
Rap Monster posted a blog post

Stealth Hazy - 'Gun Clap'

Stealth Hazy - Gun ClapI got 80 rounds with a beam on it riding dirty I'm smoking chronic top off hear that system pound 808 thats subsonicI double down quadruple upstraight droppin with no cutwilt chamberlain on the reboundand you a fan just starstruckI…See More
Mar 26
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
Sue Diehl shared their event on Facebook
Feb 8
Sue Diehl posted an event
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
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
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

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
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)See video of Act 1, Scene 1: The SettingProgram Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Reader: 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…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

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
Jan 23

Smoky Mountain Magic by Horace Kephart, with a foreword by Libby Kephart Hargrave and introduction by George Ellison (Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2009, 205 pages; paperback $12.95, hardcover, $19.95)

George Ellison review for Asheville Citizen-Times, below
See Gary Carden review on his blog, Holler Notes

Rediscovered Kephart novel makes big contribution to Great Smokies lore
by George Ellison

I have been researching and writing about Horace Kephart’s life and work for just under forty years. I wrote the biographical introduction for the book under review, “Smoky Mountain Magic,” published exactly 80 years after the author’s final typescript had apparently been completed.

The emergence of the novel is a major literary and cultural event. It coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)—which Kephart helped found. It appears shortly after Kephart’s depiction as a central figure in the Great Smokies segment of Ken Burns’ “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

How Kephart got here


Kephart arrived in the Great Smokies in 1904, having left behind a wife, six children, and a botched career as a librarian in St. Louis. All the details that sparked this midlife crisis are not fully known or agreed upon, but it’s widely recognized that alcoholism was a contributing factor.

Seeking a “Back of Beyond,” he became preoccupied with a literary career while living in a setting similar to the one experienced by his pioneer ancestors in Pennsylvania. He anticipated that residing in and writing about such a place and its people might become part of a healing process.

From 1904 until 1907, he lived alone in a cabin on Hazel Creek in the present day national park. From 1910 until his death in an automobile accident in 1931, he resided in a boardinghouse on Main Street just off the town square in Bryson City.

Kephart and the park


Against considerable odds, Kephart has become the writer most closely associated in the national consciousness with the GSMNP. His “Camping and Woodcraft” is securely established as one of the cornerstones of American outdoor writing. “Our Southern Highlanders” (published, 1913; expanded, 1922) stands as one of the classics of southern Appalachian and American regional literature, though there is debate in some quarters.

Libby Kephart Hargrave, Kephart’s great-granddaughter, relates in her foreword that the 1929 typescript of “Smoky Mountain Magic” had been preserved by Laura Kephart (Horace’s wife). After Laura’s death in 1954, it was passed down in the family to Libby’s father, who gave the manuscript to her in 1997.

This past May, at a national park anniversary celebration honoring her great-grandfather, she met park superintendent Dale Ditmanson and mentioned her intention to contact publishers. Ditmanson asked if she had considered the Great Smoky Mountains Association as a publisher. Four months later, here it is, generating funds to benefit the park.

A novel with local names


While fighting for the park in the 1920s, Kephart labored over his novel. Plot and characters varied from draft to draft more often than not. Yet, the 1929 text of nearly 73,000 words is surprisingly cohesive—in large part because Kephart finally rooted the story in a specific setting.

All of the action takes place in June 1925 in Swain County in the Cherokee communities of either Soco or Big Cove—along the Deep Creek watershed in what became part of the park. Kephart gave it the name, “Kittuwa,” borrowed from the ancient Cherokee ceremonial mound and mother town located just east of Bryson City.

One of the pleasures of reading the novel is that almost every river, creek, road, ridge, and peak mentioned can be found on a map of the area. Not a few readers of this review will have already visited many of them.

The plot


“Smoky Mountain Magic” presents a Victorian-style romance with interrelated narratives of exploration and adventure. The heroine, Marian Wentworth, is a pretty young woman who is visiting relatives in Kittuwa and collecting plants for her college herbarium in Raleigh.

The protagonist, John Cabarrus, is modeled on the author, even though Kephart was quite a bit older than his fictional creation. The hero follows his grandfather, Abelard Dale, in his love of the natural world “on the old home-place” up Deep Creek near the Bryson Place.

He returns to renew himself and to locate mineral riches hinted at by his grandfather. He explores the rugged Nicks Nest watershed—a nearly impenetrable, boulder-strewn “V-shaped trough, three to four hundred feet deep”—that locals know as “Dog-eater Holler.” It was named after “a varmint that ain’t a rael animal, but a ha’nt, and cracks a dog’s bones and eats him alive [and] some says hit will devour a man, too.”

Like Indiana Jones pushing his luck, Cabarrus enters a secluded cave and becomes trapped. The situation seems hopeless. But never fear—“Maid Marian” and “Big Tom” Buford, a competent mountain woodsman who has befriended the young couple, arrive in the nick of time.

Contribution to our literature


In many delightful ways, “Smoky Mountain Magic” is remindful of the Boys’ Books of Adventure I read when I was young. Like author Stewart Edward White, Kephart places considerable emphasis on closely observed natural history and the virtues of outdoor living. Plus, he mixes in folklore: Uktenas, giant serpents with horns; ancient dragon images; Little People, Cherokee version of leprechauns; a “witch” named Old Hex; telepathy; and magic crystals.

The descriptions of the natural world encountered along Deep Creek are accurate and beautifully rendered at times, particularly during Cabarrus’ initial exploration of Nicks Nest. The sudden appearance of “Smoky Mountain Magic” adds to Kephart’s legacy with an important account of the life, lore, and landscapes of the pre-park Great Smoky Mountains.

Premiere Events
• The Kephart family and the Swain County Chamber of Commerce host a premiere party for “Smoky Mountain Magic” at the Calhoun House Hotel, Bryson City, 1 to 5 p.m. today. Author George Ellison; GSMNP Superintendant Dale Ditmanson; the publisher, Great Smoky Mountains Association; and Horace Kephart’s great-granddaughter, Libby Kephart Hargrave speak. The event also features a book-signing, music by Lee Knight, and refreshments. Call 488-3681. Visit chamber@greatsmokies.com and www.greatsmokies.com
• Gil’s Book Sale, 196 Everett St., Bryson City, provides a second book party, 12 to 4 p.m., Monday. It includes readings and a book signing by Libby Kephart Hargrave. Call 488-4457.
• Libby Kephart Hargrave reads from “Smoky Mountain Magic” and talks about bringing the manuscript to publication; and painter Elizabeth Ellison talks about her cover artwork at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva, 7 p.m., Oct. 20 (586-9499).

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