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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

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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

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Julia Nunnally Duncan at Little Switzerland Books and Beans

August 30, 2019 from 3pm to 6pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author at Little Switzerland Books and Beans on Friday, August 30, from 3-5. A book signing will follow. Julia will read from her latest books A Neighborhood Changes, A Part of Me, and A Place That Was Home.See More
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Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock

"The introduction of my new publication, Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock will be launched on Sept 14 2019 at 1:30 PM at the Henderson County Court House 500 Main Street. A talk and a brief slide show follows with refreshments afterward. …"
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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
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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
My eyes spot a giant pearl, nesting in white gold. It beams like an all knowing lunar orb, looking back as if it sees me. Am I an oyster or a pearl? I wonder. Advertised smart from an online jeweler, I choose the right size, 5.5. I’m really bad about jewelry, losing it, breaking it. I picture wearing it at tradeshows, with French tips, when the appearance of my hands matters. Price differentiates between natural pearls and cultured pearls. Of three tons of harvested oysters, maybe three or four contain this rarity. A string of natural pearls costs hundreds of thousands. Cultivated pearls require help from a farmer by insertion of an irritating nucleus into the oyster—to replicate the precious symbol of sacrifice. I hadn’t given it much thought before my writing demanded it of me. Aren’t all pearls cultivated? Fresh water, or salt—natural or cultured? Doesn’t any oyster work to rid itself of a parasite that doesn’t belong? A deeper thinker may even accept that the foreign body is one to be embraced and reckoned. To not be afraid of the pain, face it head on—look it in the eye. Truth is meant to set us free. So, natural oysters go along, skirted by the tides, doing their jobs, and only a few are chosen to endure a special process—that of crafting a jewel. How are these oysters the lucky ones? Is there some chemistry in the ocean that decides—this one can handle it—some marine biology dictating a capability that other oysters don’t have? An oyster is a small lapidary, churning and yearning for the end—resulting in peace, solace… resolution. The oyster itself polishes a pearl, because it’s worthy of courage. Fearlessness that turns sorrow to joy—pain to relief—fear to love.
I read on to find that there is a second natural oyster that doesn’t receive such glory. Its’ vocation is of a lower calling. It exists to serve the environment outside of itself, cleansing marshland, purifying ocean water, never producing a pearl. It doesn’t lap in a Neptune palisade laboring royal in carved ivory splendor. A bottom feeder, it compares to guys on the lower deck of a luxury liner, sweating beside boilers, working the oars. I’m impressed by both types, like people in a caste system. Synchronism orders a world where facades of kings and queens belie agonizing burdens and impoverished folks seemingly never get a break…a morsel, a crumb.


My fifteen year old daughter peers over my shoulder, as I’m slumped over a laptop, shopping. She says, “That’s what I want for my birthday, as a purity ring.” Ok. Perfect. “You know honey, yours won’t be as expensive.” White, dainty, perched on a thin silver circle, hers nacres with answers to prayers for an eventual husband who elevates her high, like the jewel that she is.



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7/5/11

by Susan L. Anderson


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