Showing posts with label Jill Mccorkle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jill Mccorkle. Show all posts

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Gary sent this email regarding his experience at the NCWN Fall Writers and Publishers Conference

I had a ball at the conference. It was a hard trip and I drove five hours through rain and fog to the Raleigh/Durham Hilton. However, once I got there, I was treated like visiting royalty. I made a lot of friends and it was a gratifying experience to be with folks who shared my interests. There were playwrights there, fiction writers, non-fiction writers and journalists. I suspect that we have those people up here, but I rarely meet them.
I heard Ron Rash's keynote speech and it was a winner. He talked about research and the fact that it sometimes comes dangerously close to eclipsing the actual writing of a novel. He addressed its significance in relation to Serena and talked about eagles and rattlesnakes. He also discussed the "chorus" in the novel, the voices of the workers in the lumber camp that enabled him to add richness to his plot.
The workshop that I taught, a total 18 people who were interested in converting oral history into effective theatre was a wonderful experience. I had playwrights in the class that were far more experienced than I, but the basic simplicity of what I presented appealed to them. I am still getting calls from them, and I have even been advised as to how to promote myself in the piedmont. That was wonderful to hear, but I prefer to mimic the mountain laurel and "grow where I am planted."
The conference offered endless opportunities for writers and the display area in the lobby was filled with folks who offered opportunities that ranged from self-publishing to manuscript evaluation. Several publishers were soliciting regional history and non-fiction, memoirs, essays, etc.
There was also an impressive display of North Carolina writers ranging from Ron Rash to Vicki Lane (who I had dinner with) and new works from people like Jill McCorkle, Reynolds Price, Lee Smith, Randall McKehan, Ruth Moose ... all of whom I have been reading for years. I was impressed enough by a fellow named Stacy Cochran to buy his video on "How to Get Published and How to Get an Agent" and I brought it home where Ben Eller and I watched it and decided that it was worth the money. He also has a website.

I was also approached by some media people who asked about interviews for local TV shows and radio programs, but it depresses me to think that I have to drive to Raleigh to be interviewed. I have a healthy ego, but I am not driving five hours to be interviewed.

In fact, that is pretty much the way I feel about the Conference. It was like a candy store for writers, but it is in Raleigh. I guess our resources are scant by comparison, but I do intend to find whatever I can in this region. I won't drive to Raleigh, but I will drive to Asheville. There seems to be a tendency to hunker down and try to practice our art in a very narrow area ... like a twenty-mile radius of home. That needs to change.

Gary Carden lives in Sylva, NC. He is a storyteller, writer, playwright, teacher and journalist. Contact him at

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trip to Winston-Salem

Normally I wouldn't have gone to this conference since it was such a long distance, over six hour drive, but I felt, as the Netwest Program Coordinator I should attend. I'm very glad I did. Much was accomplished for our group, I think, and I'm confident the Network is doing well and on the right track.

Friday afternoon, I met Mary Jo Dyre from Murphy and hooked her up with another western NC native, Pat Davis who lives in Pennsylvania now. Both these ladies were there to pitch their novels. And this was the place to do it. So many publishers, agents and programs for meeting the people authors need to know.

I met Debbie McGill, Literary Director of the NC Arts Council as soon as I entered the registration area. Debbie is a long time friend of Netwest and attended our Lights in the Mountains Conference when it was held in Hayesville. She was interested to hear all that is going on with our group. I had a few of our online newsletters, The Netwest News, with me and I gave her one. Nicki Leone, president of NCWN arrived and I made arrangements to meet with her and Al Manning on Saturday to go over our revised guidelines and mission statement.

Sara Claytor, a member of the NC Poetry Society stood near the NCPS table. She was excited to have her first poetry book published. I meant to buy one later, but never got back to pick it up. We talked about the possibility of "swapping writers" from her area in Raleigh to our area in western NC for readings, workshops, and other events. She said the poetry society talked about our "Coffee with the Poets" at one of their meetings and they would like to look into doing the same thing in their area. Ed Cockrell, publisher of the NCPC Correspondent, included an article on CWP this year.

I had invited Netwest folks attending the conference to join Barry and me Friday night for dinner. I was delighted to have Ken Kinnett and Lana Hendershott of Henderson County, Mary Jo, and Nancy Cash, author of Ritual River, join us along with our new friend Pat Davis. Although Nancy lives in Asheville, she is a native of Murphy, NC. Mary Jo and Pat seemed delighted to have Nancy tell them of her experiences in the publishing world.

After dinner, Jill McCorkle gave the keynote speech and entertained us all with her humor and insight into making your charactors believeable, even if you have to use some bad language to do it.

Jill is one of our outstanding southern writers who hails from Lumberton, NC.

As I left the jam-packed hall after Jill's speech, I was tired but exhilerated from so much creative energy in that room.