Showing posts with label Sylva. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sylva. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Netwest Open House plans completed. Good time is promised.

Visit the link above to read all about the plans for the Netwest Open House to be held at City Lights Books in Sylva on November 10.

See if you know the people in the photo Kathryn posted.  I look forward to seeing all the writers north of us that I seldom get to see.'

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Events at City Lights Books in Sylva

Wendy Watkins Offers a Discussion on Sustaining Happiness
Friday, August 17th at 6:30 p.m.
Professional Certified Coach, Wendy Watkins will visit City Lights Bookstore on Friday, August 17th at 6:30 p.m. to discuss methods of sustaining happiness. She will also present her new book, The Joy Factor Recipe Book. As a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach she is perfect for those who desire to amplify their clarity, focus and positivity to increase their productivity, fulfillment and success. Wendy says of her book, "Because of my deep love for both personal development and food, I bring them together to share  this common sense approach to having more joy in your life. I use the word 'recipe' to describe the instructions and guidelines that lead to sustainable happiness. Some you can prepare in your kitchen, but most are prepared in your heart, soul and conscious mind."
Learn how to live a delicious life with Wendy as she shares her philosophy that our lives are like a cookbook and we choose what recipes we want to use to create a life we love each day. She'll share four ingredients you can weave into your recipe, as well as share a few of the recipes that others have contributed, including a recipe or two from Bernadette Peters, owner of City Lights Café.

Discussion on Appalachian Folk Magic
Friday, August 31st at 6:30 p.m.
On Friday, August 31st at 6:30 p.m. Byron Ballard will present her book, Staubs and Ditchwater. Part memoir, part instructional primer, Staubs and Ditchwater is an entertaining introduction to Appalachian folk magic. This knowledge encompasses planting by the signs, healing with herbs divination. Ballard leads local and regional workshops on these traditional practices and after much thought and many conversations decided to share fading aspect of traditional culture from the southern highlands. To reserve a copy of her book please call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499.

John York Returns with New Poetry Collection
Saturday, September 1st at 6:30 p.m.
Poet and North Carolina resident, John York will return to City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, September 1st at 6:30 p.m. to present his latest collection of poetry, Cold Spring Rising. Of the book, Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Boone says of the book, "John Thomas York has long been known as the Yadkin Bard. But he is also a poet of the vast reaches of the night sky, of deep memory, of wonder. His voice is distinctive, fresh, bringing to life a world long forgotten, of work, of struggle, of family bonds and community. I know of few poets who recreate so effectively the awe and aching immediacy and imaginative intensity of childhood. It is a pleasure to welcome the abundance, the full range of achievement, of Cold Spring Rising, which has both the sweetness and thrilling sting of the coldest and boldest spring water." York's work has appeared in many regional journals, as well as in anthologies such as Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. He has previously published three chapbooks, Picking Out, Johnny's Cosmology, and, in 2010, Naming the Constellations, the last published by Spring Street Editions of Sylva, NC. In 2011, he received the first annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. He lives with his family in Greensboro, NC. For more information or to reserve a copy of the book please call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review of Ron Rash's new poetry book by Gary Carden

If you haven't heard of Ron Rash, author of Serena, and other popular books, be sure to google him, and visit Gary Carden's blog, Holler Notes.

Read his excellent review of Ron's new book of poetry, Waking. This review will also be in the Smoky Mountain News this week.

If you live in the area, you will want to know that Ron Rash will appear at City Lights Books to read from this book on Sunday, August 28th, 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


(City Lights Bookstore, along with The Friends of the Jackson County Library and numerous other volunteers, helped make the Bookfair a reality.)

This year's Great Smoky Mountains Bookfair was a smash hit! We had more people come to visit than ever before, and our authors on display were busier than I've ever seen them. I can vouch for that! I hardly had time to look at the book displays or to visit with friends like Kerry Madden, Pam Duncan, Vicki Lane, Allan Wolf, Fred Chappell--well, the list could go on. The event was held once again at the First United Methodist Church in Sylva, an ideal facility that feels both welcoming and capacious enough for a bunch of writers and readers to hang out for a day, indulging their love of books. We appreciate the church for opening its lovely downstairs rooms to us.

Alas, I forgot to bring new batteries for my camera, so I don't have photos of my own to share, but I do have one, taken in my kitchen, of the beautiful wall sconce, with an ear of corn on it (of course!), by my dear friend Gayle Woody, the one who created the gorgeous corn batik that I featured a few weeks back. Gayle teaches art at Smoky Mountain High School now, and her energy and spirit always makes me feel more alive.


(Sconce hand-made by artist and friend Gayle Woody)

I wrote a lot of poems for both children and adults, including a couple for babies named Eason and Sean Adam. I had a lot of fun writing one for a woman who rescues St. Bernard's, the breed of dog I've always wanted! With four "mutts" living with me these days, I'm glad I don't have the dog of my dreams, though a keg of brandy around his neck would be welcome on cold nights.
The highlight of my day was Allan Wolf's Poetry Alive performance and the readings by our student poetry contest winners. More about that tomorrow. They were fabulous. What poise they all had! I could never had stood up to read my own poem when I was in the second grade. Or the twelfth!

(Photo from Allan's website, )

And yes, I bought books, so many that my friends Harold and Jane Schiffman had to help me carry them out to the car!

Then we joined Fred and Susan Chappell for a glass of wine at Mill and Main,, basking in the afternoon light on the restaurant deck.

All in all, a great day for writers, readers, and our region.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mountain Voices meets in Sylva

Mountain Voices,
a writers' group for writers/poets/playwrights/storytellers in Macon, Jackson and Swain counties in NC will meet Thursday at 7:00 PM at Soul Infusion Bistro in Sylva. Members wll eat at 7:00 and readings will begin at 7:30. Writers interested in attending, should contact Gary Carden at: -Telephone: 828-631-5438

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ann Melton writes about her home town, Sylva, NC

I recently met Ann Melton author of A Place Called Home. Her second book, Home is where the Heart Is is a sequel to the first.

Ann Davis Melton grew up in the small Southern town of Sylva and went on to earn her undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University and her doctorate from the University of South Carolina. She worked as a language arts consultant for the Western Regional Education Center before becoming Superintendent of Madison County Schools. She is now retired and lives in Waynesville with her husband, Frank.
This excerpt from A Place Called Home will give you an idea of her writing as she tells stories about life in the quiet and safe village of Sylva where she grew up in the 40's, 50's and 60's..

Chapter two

Across town things weren’t nearly as quiet at the Will Sherrill house. Will was a lawyer and a tough one at that, and he ran his household the way he ran his law practice. Of late, however, things seemed to have gotten out of hand. The active social life of his older children was interfering with his rest, and they seemed to be coming home later and later at tonight. The week before he had called a family meeting and announced that the doors would be locked at exactly 11:00 P.M. There would be no more of this late night foolishness.

However, things had not worked out exactly as he had planned. He had gone to Glenville to meet with a client and had found the new client’s run of corn liquor greatly to his liking. He and the client had sat around after the meeting and enjoyed too many drinks, and time had slipped away. At 11:30 P.M., though he knocked and knocked, no one answered his own front door. He carried no key – they had never locked the doors before. He went around to the back and even to the side doors to no avail. As a last resort, he began yelling loudly, so loudly, in fact, that even the neighbors heard him. Finally, a light came on in a distant part of the house, and the slight figure of his wife approached the door.
However, instead of unlocking the door, she quietly said, “Will, last week you laid down the law and said that the doors were to be locked at eleven o’clock and that no one – no one would be allowed in after that. It is now eleven-thirty, Will. I’m afraid you will just have to sleep in the barn tonight,” and with that, she returned to bed.

He couldn’t believe it! Of course, he was always surprised by Mary’s strong side; he had to admit that. He just hated that he had been beaten by his own game. His wife such a quiet, peace-loving individual – so unlike him, and everyone in town loved her. It was to Mary that folks came if they needed to talk, for she was a wonderful listener, and all admired her wisdom. She always had a fire in the wood-burning cook stove in the kitchen, and a kettle of water always sat on top, ready to offer a cup of tea, and there were always good things to eat in the warming closet above the stove. In fact, Will could just taste some of those goodies right now. I might just be able to sleep if I had a warm glass of milk and a couple of her sugar cookies right now, he thought to himself.

It proved to be a long night for Will. He slept in his clothes of course, and was lucky enough to find two horse blankets for cover and fresh hay to lie on, but he had a difficult time falling asleep. He could not get comfortable no matter which way he lay. He also had a great deal on his mind. The next day he would have to present his closing arguments in a case that had proven to be long and ugly, and he needed to be at his best. A group wished to build a dam at Glenviile, and he was representing the environmentalists who did not want to see the beautiful stream dammed. He tossed and turned all night planning his closing remarks. “Gall durn it!” It was cold and he was uncomfortable. “How could he think in these conditions?” He also needed to relieve himself of several glasses of the homebrew he had consumed, but he hated to get out from under the warm covers – and that is when his closing statements formed in his mind.

The next day dawned clear and bright, and when Will got to the house, he found his breakfast on the table and everyone acting as though nothing unusual had happened. Except for an occasional look one child would give another or a slight upturned mouth, the meal went as usual. As soon as breakfast was over, he bathed, dressed, and left for the courthouse with his briefcase in hand.

He arrived in the courtroom about nine o’clock and found several people milling about. By nine –thirty the courtroom was full. The judge appeared soon after, and by eleven-thirty all witnesses had been called, and it was time for closing arguments.

He knew he was not going to win the case. The community needed the power plant too badly, and this was really the best place to build a dam.
What the hell, he thought, as he rose to approach the jury. He might as well enjoy the moment. Looking into the eyes of each man and woman in the jury box, he spoke of the pristine beauty of the mountains and the stream that would be ruined if this dam was built.

He spoke of the wildlife that abounded and the detriment to them, and he spent a great deal of time convincing the jury that the dam and power plant would not be everything they had hoped it would be.

When he felt he had the jury just where he wanted them, he delivered his closing remark. Letting his voice rise so that it could be heard by one and all he said, “And now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I wish to inform you that there is more water power below my belt than there will ever be in Glenville Dam,” and with that he turned and sat down.
The silence in the courtroom was long. He could hear his heart beating, and he could feel the laughter rising up in him until he felt he might burst.
Finally, the judge got his wits about him, gave the charge to the jury, and they filed out. Grabbing his papers, Will Sherrill made a dash for the door.
Will Sherrill was Ann's grandfather and an important character in the book. Ann's books can be found at City Lights Books in Sylva.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Writers had questions for Executive Director of NCWN

Photo by Barry Beall
Executive Director for North Carolina Writers' Network, Ed Southern, traveled through the Netwest area on Thursday, October 16, and met writers in Sylva and in Brasstown, NC. NCWN West (Netwest) is the only chapter of the state organization. With approximately 80 members, Netwest is a growing regional organization serving all writers in the area south of Asheville as well as in bordering counties in South Carolina and North Georgia.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gary Carden, storyteller and folklorist

Gary Carden graduated from Western Carolina University near Sylva, NC. He taught literature and drama for fifteen years, worked for the Cherokee Indians for fifteen years and has become well-known as a playwright.
His popular play "The Prince of Dark Corners" has been made into a movie and has received high ratings from around the state. To learn more about Gary Carden, see his website,

By Gary Carden

I live in an old farmhouse that is literally falling apart. Each spring, clouds of termites rise in the bathroom and the bedroom, coating the windows and covering the kitchen stove and the mirrors in the bathroom with tiny wings – wings that clog my vacuum cleaner for weeks. In the winter, the wind woofs in the eaves, pours through the attic and seeps into my bedroom like an ice-laden river. All of the doors hang off-balance and a tennis ball, dropped in the living room will roll slowly from room to room – like a cue ball looking for a pocket – until, eventually, it find its way to the kitchen, always coming to rest behind the sink.
But, with each passing year, my affection for these canted floors and leaning walls deepens. I came to live here when I was two years old, and now, seventy years later, I still sleep in the same bedroom – the one my Uncle Albert dubbed “the North Pole.” The entire house bears testimony to the lives of my grandparents, and when I walk from room to room, I hear lost voices and sense fading warmth.
Just here, beneath this old flue, my grandmother tended her Home Comfort stove. And over there, on that cracked cement hearthstone, that once fronted a fireplace, I used to lie whimpering on winter nights – my cheek pressed against the warm hearthstone (I was plagued with chronics earaches) while my grandmother poured warm cod liver oil from a tablespoon into my ear. There, where my computer now sets, my grandfather used to tune the old Silvertone radio, listening to “Renfro Valley” on Sunday mornings. It is also where his coffin rested (for I lived in a time in which the dead came home for a final farewell).

The old house seems to be slowly sinking into the earth, dragging with it a roofless canning house and a derelict barn. Yet, there are brief moments – usually in the morning – when this dim space seems filled with a kind of tangible energy. There are mornings when I wake in the chilled air of my bedroom, sensing that I am not alone -that this empty shell has become an echo chamber. In the kitchen, my grandmother’s Home Comfort radiates warmth while she conjures red-eye gravy from a black skillet; cathead biscuits bloom in the oven and a tin coffee pot chuckles on the back burner. I feel my Uncle Albert’s discontent (he suffered from migraines) as he sits leaning back in a cane-bottomed chair at the dining room table, his chair legs gouging little half-moons in the linoleum. My grandfather is milking the cow, and any minute now, he will stomp into the kitchen with a bucket of steaming milk. From the living room comes the strains of Jo Stafford’s “You Belong to Me,” followed by the banter of Reed Wilson, WWNC’s popular early morning d. j.

Fly the ocean in a silver plane,
See the jungle when its wet with rain.

But when my foot touches the floor, it all vanishes … recedes like an ocean tide withdrawing down the corridors of the years; carrying away warmth, biscuits and my grandmother’s hands through the draft of a broken window. Sometimes, I move quickly to the barren kitchen, hoping to capture a belated fragment of what was here a moment ago – perhaps the last vestiges of Albert’s complaint lingers. (“Ahhh, God! I didn’t sleep a wink,” he says, as he massages his head). And here…who is this tow-headed creature in his peppermint striped pajamas? My God, it’s me! I’m on my way to Albert’s bedroom, where I will find a stack of lurid magazines beneath his pillow…Captain Marvel, Plastic Man, Black Hawk and The Blue Beetle.

Is it possible that there are past moments that have taken refuge in these rooms? Are there moments that were fueled by such intense emotion, they hang suspended like banks of summer clouds, waiting for an alignment of hours, months and memory? My mother’s grief for my father’s murder is somewhere in this bedroom; my grandmother’s loss of a “blue baby;” the return of two sons from WW II haunts the front porch; an old, broken fiddle that played “The Waltz You Saved for Me” resonates faintly in the attic – are they all here like eavesdroppers in the next room, waiting for their cue to enter?

Perhaps a night will come when moonlight will penetrate the cobwebs on the attic window, touching the faded portrait of my father’s face; and he will turn to my mother, whispering – and the two of them will laugh. Then, a dozen specters will awake causing this old house to shudder as music, heat and the smell of red-eye gravy
floats in the summer darkness. Then, children’s footsteps will mingle with the slow trudge of the elderly, and blasts of snow, wind and heat will batter these walls as spring and winter collide and this old house finally explodes leaving nothing behind but the buzz of a solitary wasp freed from its prison behind an attic window.

Finally, this old house will mingle with fog and moonlight, drifting through the stand of hemlocks that encircles this dim cove where my homeless spirit will rise to meet the morning sun.