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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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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. 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
Susan Weinberg posted events
Sep 22
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:…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

Fifty local women writers dwell on place

by Rob Neufeld


            Two local authors, Nancy Dillingham and Celia Miles, have combined as editors to publish Women’s Spaces Women’s Places—from 50 WNC Women Writers.

            Like their two previous anthologies, Clothes Lines and Christmas Presence, the new book has a theme.

            “Seeking and finding of space and place,” is the touchpoint, represented by a Virginia Woolf quote: “Give a woman a room of her own and let her speak her mind.”


Factory worker’s haven


            Miles herself has a piece in the book that makes the most of three pages.

            Thinking about “when a heightened sensibility of surroundings engulfs you,” Miles proceeds to write about—not “a warm meadow bathed by grassy odors,” but a department store lunch counter.

            The narrator works in a windowless, dehumanizing factory, assaulted by machine noises, speed-up orders, sweat, perfume, dust, and “ear-splitting…sputterings from the spastic intercom system.”

            At the end of each work day, she and her friend go to the one place where they can transform back to human, despite or because of the crying babies and popcorn smell.


Many fine pieces 


            There are many very fine pieces in “Women’s Spaces”; and others that are charming or personal but not as professionally crafted.  In a book that serves partly as a sharing from a community, this critique may be off point.

            Jennifer McGaha, non-fiction editor for the “Pisgah Review” at Brevard College, shows impressive craft in her five-page essay, “Vampire Run.” 

            “Say you want to become a runner,” she writes.  “You begin by buying a used treadmill and sticking it in the room above your garage.  This is also the room your teenage sons use for…playing video games.”

            Then McGaha does something remarkable.  Making “you” the protagonist, she spools the story out as a single ribbon, though it traverses weeks and years. 

            “Sometimes, from that tiny window by the road, you see seasoned runners going past,” she writes.  “You want to try running on the road.”  One thing leads to another.  You are testing your strength.


Dusting, not running


`           “I am clearing the clutter/ a real dust up/ that both elevates and deflates,” Nancy Dillingham begins her poem, “Clearing the Clutter.” 

            Nearly every short line is a showpiece of wit as well as verbal music.  The double meanings of “dust up” and “elevates and deflates” match.

            “For the life of me/ I don’t know why/ I feel so luckless,” another stanza goes, varying the tone from remark to swan song.  It all leads up to a self-image that is dramatic, sad, funny, and beautiful.

            Other great poems in the volume include Kathryn Stripling Byer’s “Ashes.”

            Shifts in subject within a line of thought are features of Byer’s mastery. 

            “Only the bathtub was left/ where once I saw her wash her toes solemnly,” the poem begins.  It then turns its attention to: a light fixture that had hung above the tub; a metaphor for the imagined experience; ashes found in the tub; and heirlooms caught in a house fire.

            In the end, the poet further imagines being in the bathing woman’s position, at midnight, looking at the blisters on her palms “swell like the scuppernongs she dreams of bringing/ back home through the curtain of dust/ and the corn stubble everywhere.  She holds them/ up to the meager light.  I see them shine.”

            Glenda Beall’s poem, “No Safe Place,” should be anthologized in a book of poems about grief, too.  It has the sound of a sonnet, with its iambic pentameter and resounding last line; and it tells a moving story.




            Some of the stories that Women’s Spaces puts forward are very personal.

            Susan Reinhardt, in “Whatever God Sends,” the book’s longest entry at eight pages, tells about her pregnancies.  She turns up emotional intensity and turns down sentence length in her trademark compelling style.

            Julia Nunnally Duncan recalls pre-school days with Grandma while parents were at work.  “A few years later,” she writes in “Grandma’s Bed,” as Grandma “lay dying in the local hospital, lapsing into delirium, she told her daughters she needed to get home to fix dinner for me.”

            “These days,” the narrator reflects in the end, “my own thoughts conspire against me,” and she needs solace.

            To feel right, she goes, in her mind, back to the bed in which she’d slept at her grandma’s house, and where her grandma had warmed her feet with diaper-covered hot bricks.

            Women’s Space, Women’s Places—with its inclusiveness,  short entry length, and powerful theme—inspires discussions and writing.



Women’s Spaces Women’s Places—from 50 WNC Women Writers edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham (Stone Ivy Press trade paper, 184 pages, $20).



Editors and authors of "Women's Spaces Women's Places" launch their book with a reading, signing, and reception at Accent on Books, 854 Merrimon Avenue, 3 p.m., July 10,  Call 252.6255.

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Wonderful review of a beautiful book - I am so honored to be a part of this anthology. And, this has to be one of the most beautiful covers - brava to the artist!
Thank you, Rob, for reviewing this book.  It's full of treasures.


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