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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
Jun 10
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
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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

Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smokies literature unfolds in guide

by Rob Neufeld

 

            Immersing yourself in the deep recesses of our region’s literature has just become easier.

            The University of Tennessee Press has engaged experts to scour archives for publications about the Great Smoky Mountains, 1544 to 1934; and they’ve emerged with a user-friendly guide titled “Terra Incognita.”

 

Observing the observers

 

            The guide is an annotated bibliography—a scholar’s dream; and also, for all of us, a somewhat shocking encounter with the ghosts of experts past.

            From the 1,299 item descriptions, let’s pull out a few that show how much clearer retrospective vision can be than contemporary sight.  

            The enlightened experts of the Progressive Era, we now see, had been caught up in a debate about the need that Appalachian people had had for rescue.  There were three camps of helpers: missionaries; industrialists; and scholars looking to celebrate native white people.

            You might think, “What about natives writing about themselves—where are they?”  We’ll get to that, but first let’s turn to Chapter 7, “Life in the Great Smoky Mountains,” the sociological section.

 

Thick goggles

 

            In 1928, Isabel Gordon Carter wrote a doctoral thesis titled, “Reduction in Variability in an Inbred Population.”  To her credit, the annotation reveals, she included a quote from a local doctor, who had stated, “The mentality of the inhabitants is above average and the percentage of feeble-mindedness less than other areas.”

            On the other hand, the author thought it necessary to administer intelligence tests to schoolchildren in the Gatlinburg area, and correlate the results to any inbreeding she discovered in their family trees.

            The next two items in “Terra Incognita” reveal how scholars are sometimes afflicted by self-fulfilling expectations.

            Thomas Robertson Dawley Jr., a child labor investigator, concluded in 1910 that the only salvation for Appalachians living in poverty was for them to leave the mountains and move to mill towns.

            In 1912, the same author published, “The Child That Toileth Not,” based on his tours of mountain homes and city factories.

            “God-forsaken in appearance with no visible land for tillage,” he wrote about local homesteads, “I wondered why human habitations were built in such places.”

            “The author concludes,” the annotation summarizes, “that children working in the cotton mills are healthier and happier than those in the mountains who do not work.”

 

Slanted views

 

            The next entry we’ll look at—from the “Religion” section of the book—will make us feel decidedly superior to the do-gooders who reported on Great Smokies denizens in 1872

            “About one-fourth of them,” the East Tennessee Christian Association of Friends noted, “live in houses or cabins, with no floor but the earth, and their average intelligence is below that of the colored people, because they have had less intercourse with intelligent white people, and far less (that is, fewer) opportunities to attend any kind of religious services.”

            Aside from having discarded racial superiority theories, today’s social scientists no longer equate non-modern homes with a lack of quality of life (oh wait, there had been 1960s and 70s urban renewal).  In any case, we know that a legitimate historical survey of Appalachian homes would not isolate the most “wretched” examples to make an agenda-driven point.

            Pre-1935 writings do include views that exhibit greater fairness than the ones already cited here.  Any era will have its mix of bought and free thinkers.

            For example, Edward Guerrant, a traveling Presbyterian minister, and author of “The Galax Gatherers” (1910), generously professed, “The follies of fashion and the dissipations of society have never invaded those quiet hamlets in the Great Smokies.”

            But then he added, “We need these highlanders to leaven the great influx of foreigners, seven millions of whom entered our country in the last ten years.”

 

Horace

 

            “Terra Incognita” devotes a whole chapter to Horace Kephart, the librarian, outdoorsman, writer, and Appalachia-lover who published “Our Southern Highlanders.”  The introduction to this part, written by George Ellison, reveals Kephart’s integrity by following his career.

            If there is any bias in Kephart, it’s his Romanticism, as in his passionate confession, “I love the wilderness because there are no shams in it,” transmuted to the people and to such heroic essays as “The Mountain Moonshiner.”

            You’ll find  straightforward writing in Chapter 4, “History of the Great Smoky Mountains”; Chapter 12, “Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains”; and elsewhere.

            But, if you’re like Kephart and you not only want to set up camp but also connect with spirit on your outing, you’ll travel with particular interest to literary sources.

            Chapter 9, “Literature of the Great Smoky Mountains,” presents a host of authors with whom you’ll want to sit a spell: David Camak, author of “June of the Hills”; Olive Tilford Dargan, “From My Highest Hill”; George Washington Harris, “High Times and Hard Times”; Heyward Dubose, “Angel”; Mary Noailles Murfree, “The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains”; and others.

 

Going to the wellspring

 

            It’s curious how fiction-writers will sometimes get things most right.  Dargan, for instance, followed up her short story collection, named above, with the novel, “Call Home the Heart,” which fearlessly follows her mountain characters down to the mills.  Consequently, critics of her time unfairly dubbed her work proletarian, a limiting term that “Terra Incognita” repeats, albeit in quotation marks.

            Currently, with interest in Appalachian fiction proliferating—among local writers and national publishers—it seems that consulting such sources as “Terra Incognita” might be beneficial. 

            UNC Asheville is home to the “Great Smokies Writing Program,” one indication of the wellspring.  Today at 3 p.m., the program presents its monthly author reading series, “Writer’s at Home,” at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville (254-6734).

            One of the readers is Margaret Brown, author of “The Wild East: A Biography of the Great Smoky Mountains,” one of the 52 books included in a post-1934 reading list provided by “Terra Incognita.”

THE BOOK

Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains, 1544-1934, ed. by Anne Bridges, Russell Clement, and Ken Wise (U. of Tenn. Pr. hardcover, 2014, 470 pages, $83).

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That East Tennessee Christian Association of Friends comment, especially bothered me, but it clarifies the view some folks from outside the region have about us even to this day.   … average intelligence...below that of colored people...intelligent white people...religious services… Uh, uh, uhm!
I grew up Black, running around barefoot in summer (not because I had no shoes, but I liked it then.), and attended a one room/one teacher segregated school; but still became an honor graduate from high school and college.

I think we who know who we are cherish our mountain life and lifestyles, in spite of what others may think of us.

There are so many wonderful books and some that cause me to think beyond my own experience. I wish I could read faster. Audio books have helped to enrich my knowledge over the years since I used to spend many hours in my car.

Thank you for this post. I enjoyed "the read."

That East

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