Showing posts with label Netwest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Netwest. Show all posts

Monday, June 25, 2018

Don't Miss the Georgia Author of the Year

NCWN-West & Georgia Poetry Society Team Up for Two Events, July 13 & 14

Jane Simpson, Georgia Author of the Year (Chapbook)
Writers' Night Out, July 13, features Georgia Author of the Year for Poetry (Chapbook) Jane Simpson. Also featured is NCWN-West member with two new books, Joan Howard.  The event takes place at 7 p.m. at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, GA. There will also be an open microphone where audience members can share three minutes of their own poetry or prose. The event is free and open to the public.

The next day, July14, the Georgia Poetry Society will hold their quarterly meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Young Harris College. Featured Georgia poets are Chelsea Rathburn, Jim May, Karen Paul Holmes, and Perry Ivey. The day includes presentations on craft and an open mic session—plus the camaraderie and good spirits of fellow writers. Breakfast items will be provided, and lunch is available by advance reservation. While the meeting, which is free for members and $10 for non-members, will be geared toward poetry enthusiasts, all writers are welcome.

Joan Howard's poetry has been published in The Lyric, The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry, Lucid Rhythms, Victorian Violet, the Aurorean, Miller's Pond, Georgia Poetry Society's Reach of Song (2012), POEM, The Wayfarer, and others.  She has recently published two books: Death and Empathy: My Sister Web and Jack, Love, and the Daily Grail (Kelsay Books, 2018) both available on  She is a former teacher, has an MA in German and English literature, enjoys birding and kayaking on beautiful Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee.  She is a member of North Carolina Writers Network West, North Carolina Writers Network, Ridgeline, and the Georgia Poetry Society.

Jane Simpson's first chapbook, On the Porch, was awarded Georgia Author of the Year for 2018. Her previous chapbook was Under the Eave (FutureCycle Press, 2017), and her full-length book, Blessings of the Beasts, will be published this fall. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, BorderSenses, The Chattahoochee Review, Main Street Rag, POEM, The Penwood Review, Poet Lore (Honorable Mention, Ratner-Ferber-Poet Lore Prize), and elsewhere. She was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. In addition, she is the Chief Development Officer for a non-profit organization and lives in Atlanta and Blue Ridge, GA. 

Writers’ Night Out is sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West and takes place on the second Friday of the month, April through November. The Union County Community Center is located at Butternut Creek GolfCourse at 129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76, phone (706) 439-6092. Food is available for purchase in The View Grill, but please arrive by 6 pm to get served.  For more information on Writers’ Night, contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or

Details of the Georgia Poetry Society meeting are in their newsletter, available on the News page at (select Summer from the list). For more information, and to reserve lunch, contact GPS Treasurer Lyn Hopper, by July 2.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

NCWN-West and Georgia Poetry Society Team Up for Two Events

An exciting weekend is in store in Blairsville, Georgia (a lovely mountain community on the border of NC)

October 13: Writers' Night Out, 7 pm

October 14: Georgia Poetry Society meeting (non-members welcome), 9:30 am-3 pm

Writers' Night Out features two local writers, Mary Michelle Keller and Natalie Grant.
Open mic follows - sign up at the door to read poetry or prose for 3 minutes. 
Union County Community Center in the heart of Blairsville, GA. Food and drink available (self-pay) at the View Grill - please arrive by 6 pm if you're having dinner. 

The Georgia Poetry Society quarterly meeting takes place at the Choestoe Schoolhouse, Blairsville. 
Featured presenters: Georgia poets Travis Denton and Katie Chaple. NC poets, Tina Barr and Brett Martin

The day includes presentations on craft, hands-on writing exercises, poetry contest announcements, and an open mic—plus the camaraderie and good spirits of fellow writers. Breakfast items will be provided, and lunch from G & G Bakery and Café will be available for purchase on site. While the meeting will be geared toward poetry enthusiasts, all writers are welcome. More info here: GPS Fall meeting. If you plan on having lunch, please RSVP to Lyn Hopper by Oct. 10 at 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Writers' Night Out, Blairsville, 2017 Schedule

Here's the revised schedule of distinguished readers. There's always an open mic too. 
The View Grill is open for dinner or refreshment -- arrive by 6 p.m. to be served.  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

We're Back: Writers' Night Out 2017 Schedule

This little guy won't be reading but you can!

Union County Community Center

Blairsville, GA

2nd Fridays of the month at 7 pm


Reading followed by open mic

Here's our calendar:

April 14: Robert Kendrick and Newton Smith
May 12: Diana Anhalt
June 9: Glenda Beall
July 14: Christopher Martin
Aug 11: Tribute to Tom Lux + humorous poetry open mic
Sept 8: Andrea Jurjevic and Jason Allen
Oct 13: Natalie Grant
Nov 10: Dana Wildsmith

Open mic follows for poetry or prose readers (3 minutes each)

Contact Karen Paul Holmes for more info


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gary Carden will speak at Mountain Writers in Haywood County, Waynesville, November 10

Merry Elrick, Haywood County Representative for NCWN-West invites all who live in the area to attend the meeting of Mountain Writers on November 10 at 1:00 p.m. at Blue Ridge Books, 152 S Main Street in Waynesville, NC.

Gary Carden, storyteller and playwright
Gary Carden, legendary storyteller in our region and an award-winning playwright is the special guest. Among the many other awards he has received is the 2006 Brown-Hudson Award from the North Carolina Folklore Society and the 2012 North Carolina Award for Literature. Carden has an honorary doctorate from Western Carolina University for his work in storytelling and folklore.
The public is invited to enjoy this great speaker and meet other local writers. 

Learn more about Gary Carden on his blog:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coffee with the Poets and Writers in Far Western North Carolina

Coffee with the Poets and Writers, a monthly literary event held at Blue Mountain Coffee and Grill, 30 NC Hwy 141, Murphy, NC will hold a reading at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 10 by two outstanding published poets, Carole Thompson of Blairsville and Peg Bresnahan of Transylvania County NC. The public is invited.

Carole Richard Thompson and her husband moved to Blairsville, in the North Georgia mountains, 21 years ago. After being a portrait artist for many years, she began to study writing, and joined the North Carolina Writer’s Network. She credits her love for writing to her friend and mentor, Nancy Simpson, whose classes in creative writing and poetry have been her greatest source of inspiration.

Her first short story, "A Bag of Sugar for Paula," was published in The Liquorian Magazine, and also the anthology, Christmas Presence, published by Catawba Press. Her story, "The Uniform" appeared in the anthology, Clotheslines, published by Catawba Press. Her essay, “The Common Thread” won the 1991 NSDAR Best of Show and National Gold Honors Award in their National Heritage Committee, Literature and Drama Division Contest.

Carole’s poetry has appeared in anthologies, A Sense of Place, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, and Women’s Spaces, Women’s Places as well as in poetry journals. In 2013, her poetry book, Enough, was published by FutureCycle Press. The title poem, “Enough,” is a compliment to a long marriage which endured ups and downs. She recalls wartime partings, letters, and phone calls – never enough. But in the later years, being together every day is now enough.

Peg Bresnahan’s second poetry collection, In a Country None of Us Called Home, was recently published by Press 53. Peg is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpeliar. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. 
She lives in Cedar Mountain, NC with husband, sculptor, Dan Bresnahan. She says she moved to the mountains of western North Carolina and the land of waterfalls from the Door County Peninsula of Wisconsin, exchanging what she thinks of as the horizontal water of Lake Michigan for water that is decidedly vertical. 

Kathy Smith Bowers, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina said of Peg’s latest book, "This is one of the most beautifully crafted and moving collections I have read in a long time."  

Coffee with the Poets and Writers is open to the public at no charge. Bring a poem or short story and read at Open Mic. Those attending are invited to join the writers and poets after the event as we pull tables together and enjoy a social hour.

Coffee with the Poets and Writers is sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network West. Contact NCWN West Representative, Glenda Beall, at 828-389-4441 or  for information.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What makes a good blog? Hope Clark has the answer,

“Every piece of content you write on a blog has to either solve
a problem or entertain the reader.”  Hope Clark

Hope Clark is someone I greatly admire. Her blogs and her newsletters are food for writers, in my opinion. So when she says a blog must either solve a problem or entertain the reader, I know she is right.

My Writers Circle blog is designed to give writers information about workshops and classes and the writers who teach at my home studio. At times, I throw in a post on the craft or my opinion.

Writing Life Stories has been all over the place since the beginning. It has changed in theme and content, but that is because I have changed since the blog was started in 2007. Many of my readers manage a blog or many blogs on various subjects. I understand that a blog concentrated on a theme like quilting, chicken farming, or single mothers raising kids, that discuss the problems and offer solutions is going to have a large audience. Those blogs require a concentrated schedule and plan I think. That might be too much work for me at this time in my life.

How I became a blogger and Netwest Writers was Born

It was fall of 2007 at a panel discussion at a writers conference that I realized what a blog was and what it could do. A young mother had written a book on stay at home moms working from home and she found out she could sell more of her books on a blog than by going through a New York Publisher. On the panel were three other writers who had found success from writing a blog.

I came home and told my husband I was going to learn how to blog, not for myself, but for the writers and poets in our chapter of NCWN. I had taken the job of Program Coordinator for NCWN West. Nancy Simpson and I had often talked about the problem of getting the voices of mountain writers in our area over the ridges and past the ranges into the rest of the world. I believed a blog was better than a website. A website at that time was static and unchanging. A blog gave us freedom to share new material everyday if we wanted. And the blog was free!

I was scared. After all, I didn't know anything about this new technology. Would our members accept this and use it? Would it do what I hoped it would? Soon I was holding classes on blogging and some of our members, Brenda Kay Ledford, Nancy Simpson, Carol Thompson, and Sam Hoffer began their own sites. What pleased me the most was that all of us were beyond the young stage. We were all over fifty. It wasn’t long before Netwest member and Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Kathryn Stripling Byer created a blog. When she became Program Coordinator for Netwest, she brought readers from everywhere to the Netwest blog.

I have been disappointed that more of our members have not used the Netwest Writers blog. We have a number of authors listed who have the capability to write posts and other members can ask for and get permission to post on the blog. It was created for our members.

I am so thankful, however, that Netwest Writers blog has been successful in promoting our writers and helping them reach across the state and around the world. We have readers from many different countries every day.

Nicki Leone, president of the NCWN Board of Trustees at that time built a website for the state organization and plopped our Netwest blog right on the front page. Since they have thousands of visitors every single day, those visitors saw us here in the mountains, clicked on our blog with little effort and read about our writers and our poets and playwrights. The voices of our writers have indeed reached beyond the mountains.

Where do we go from here?
I hope that other members of Netwest will post articles that appeal to readers. One of our members said the blog had simply become a bulletin board of upcoming events. We need to change that. We need posts that will keep us worthy of exposure on the home page of the NCWN website. We need an administrator who will help keep the blog on the radar of the search engines. Who out there is ready to do that?

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Coffee with the Poets and Writers meets Wednesday, March14, 10:30 a.m. at Café Touché in Hayesville, NC. A member of NCWN West is featured each month. The featured writer this month is Robert S. King.

Robert is a new member of NCWN West. He had been active in the Georgia Poetry Society while living in the Atlanta area. Now living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, Robert said he was pleasantly surprised to find such a large writing community here. He joined Netwest and continues as a member of the Georgia Poetry group as well.

He will be teaching a workshop at Writers Circle in Hayesville, March 17, and will be speaking at the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference in Blue Ridge, Georgia on March 31.

His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Lullwater Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Writers' Forum.

He has published three chapbooks (When Stars Fall Down as Snow, Garland Press 1976; Dream of the Electric Eel, Wolfsong Publications 1982; and The Traveler’s Tale, Whistle Press 1998). His full-length collections are The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, both from Shared Roads Press, 2009.

He recently stepped down as Director of FutureCycle Press in order to devote more time to his own writing. He continues to serve the press as Poetry Co-Editor.

The public is invited to come and meet Robert, hear him read his poetry, and to read their original poems or short prose at open mike.

Café Touche, 82 Main Street, serves the best coffee in town and no one wants to leave without having a delicious muffin.

Contact Glenda Beall 828-389-4441 for more information.
This event is free and is sponsored by NCWN West also known as Netwest, a chapter of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our local Irish poet Paul Donovan says he writes poetry as a hobby, but he has published an autobiographical poetry book, Ramblings of an Idiot. He is working on another book and we look forward to seeing what he will offer in this one. Paul is a Reiki Master and teaches spiritual writing classes at Writers Circle. Netwest’s first anthology, Lights in the Mountains, came to fruition because of Paul’s early ideas and suggestions. He began the Cherokee County High Schools Poetry and Essay contest several years ago and continues to be a guiding force in its success.

Paul is the featured reader at Coffee with the Poets on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:30 a.m. We meet and enjoy Liz’s coffee and delicious pastries at Café Touche, 82 Main Street in Hayesville, NC.

After Paul’s reading, we will open the floor to anyone who has brought an original poem or short prose piece. If you can’t be there early, you might want to bring a folding chair. Coffee with the Poets is bigger and better than ever in its fifth year. We appreciate all the poets and writers who have supported this event since 2007.

 In October, Carole Thompson will be the featured reader.

We are sponsored by NCWN-West (Netwest) a chapter of North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Contact me, Glenda Beall, for more information.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


                                            Photo by Valoree Luhr

GLENDA BEALL IS POET OF THE WEEK ON MY http:///site. Please drop by and enjoy the poems! K. Byer

Monday, August 3, 2009


Barry and Glenda Beall right away made me feel comforrtable in their presence. I can't recall which Netwest event it was. A reading? A picnic? No matter. I felt I'd known them all my life. When I found out they were originally from my childhood neck of the woods, SW Georgia, I counted them pretty close to family. Glenda's poems for Barry are among her best and made me like him all the more. He was what we call "salt of the earth," a person who was open to all sorts of things in the world around him, especially if his wife cared about those things. Consequently, Barry was a steadfast supporter of Netwest. I liked him tremendously, and I know all of us in the WNC literary community will feel his absence each time we come together. Glenda's new chapbbok will arrive a little too late for Barry to see, although he had already seen the poems and had celebrated their acceptance by Finishing Line Press. When at last we hold the book in our hands and read the poems, we will feel Barry's presence. He will be looking over our shoulders, giving the poems, and Glenda, a thumbs up!

Kay Byer

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Celebrate Nancy Simpson

Nancy Simpson celebrates her 100th post on her blog, Living Above the Frost Line. Look at the photo on her page today of some Netwest members back in 1998 when we soaked up Nancy's gifts in her classes at Tri-County Community College. Can you name those writers?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meet Mary Mike Keller, A Very Important Person

Michelle (Mary Mike) Keller, Netwest Member and important volunteer
Among the many people who help make Netwest a successful organization is Michelle (Mary Mike) Keller who lives in Towns County just across the border between North Carolina and Georgia. Michelle's creativity in design, her talents in everything from building a house to book making, and her loyalty to friends drew me to her years ago when we first met.

In June, 2007, when I became Program Coordinator with Netwest, Mike answered my call for a volunteer to take the job of publicizing writers' events.

Some of our members don't know Mary Mike Keller. She keeps a low profile. She is a VIP and I want our members and our readers to meet her. In a recent interview, Mike answered questions about herself and her various talents.

GB: Mike, painting seems to be your first love. How long have you been an artist, and what do you like to paint?

M.K: Painting has always been part of who I am. I cannot remember ever not drawing and painting. It is one of my vocabularies. Flowers are my favorite subjects, their colors spreading across the canvas make me feel good. I like to draw and paint people. I especially like to draw people in airports as they wait. I prefer to paint at night, even into the early morning, which works well with the fact that I like to write in the late morning.

GB: You are a painter, among many other things, but you write lovely poetry, essays and stories. Do you think of yourself as a writer?

MK: I call myself a writer. I write poetry primarily, yet I enjoy the putting together of a personal essay and of course the short story that pops into my head occasionally.
I began writing for pleasure about thirteen years ago. I had the ability, in school, to write good essays and the occasional poem, but never thought of myself as one who could write. In wasn’t until I took my first class with Nancy Simpson that I began to write seriously.
I will hear someone say something, a sentence sticks in my head, bouncing around until it finds itself a poem. Often it is a simple action as in “The Purple Screen Door." I was painting my screen door purple when the line “Why purple you ask?” manifested itself.

GB: Why do you write?
MK: The answer is simple. Writing is fun. I write for pure pleasure.

GB: I know you are an avid reader. Tell us what you like to read.

MK: I could write volumes on this subject. It is probably answered best by telling you my favorite authors. Ann Rice is at the top of my list. As for earlier writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald tops that list. Isabel Allende, P.D. James, James Lee Burke and Amy Tan are among my favorites. I recently read “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. I liked the way it held onto its secrets, only leaving hints along the way for the reader to find. This month, my book club is reading “Whistling in the Dark” by Lesley Kagen. It was a quick read and I enjoyed it very much.

GB: You have been a member of NCWN and involved with Netwest for a number of years. Tell us what you do for the writing group.

MK: I have been a member of the NCWN for many years. I handle the publicity for Netwest. I send out the monthly calendar to the newspapers and write about the readers who will be reading at John C. Campbell Folk School and Coffee With the Poets along with other items that need to be in the newspapers. I am, so to speak, the person in charge of Coffee with the Poets and am lining up the 2009 readers for Poets and Writers Reading Poems and Stories at the folk school.
GB: Thank you, Mary Mike Keller, for answering our questions and for letting our readers and fellow members get to know you.
Mary Mike Keller can be reached at

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ed Southern North Carolina Writers Network Director Visits Netwest

Ed Southern, Executive Director for the North Carolina Writers’ Network, parent organization of Netwest, made a quick but effective visit to the western part of North Carolina to meet with writers in Sylva at City Lights Books and in Brasstown at the John C. Campbell Folk School on Thursday, October 16. We asked those attending what Netwest and NCWN can do for them as writers and heard from some who had questions about publishing and some who want to know how to find markets outside their local areas. In attendance were bloggers, playwrights, haiku poets, novelists, Appalachian historians and beginning writers at the meeting in Sylva. It was agreed that social activities among writers is important and a possible breakfast group is on the horizon in Jackson County.

At the Folk School, a number of Netwest members held a casual question and answer session with Ed. Topics ranged from teleconferencing possibilities in the future to the history of Netwest. Ed brought the face of NCWN to the far southwestern part of the state. He met members who are well-published, active and enthusiastic about writing and about Netwest. His visit encouraged members to continue with the fine literary organization that has been ongoing for years and he assured us that funding from NCWN is forthcoming. Members were delighted to hear him say that he’d like to see chapters like Netwest all across North Carolina. It was obvious that Netwest likes Ed Southern and Ed Southern respects Netwest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Al Manning, Netwest Board Representative and County Rep

Let Me Introduce Al Manning
By Glenda C. Beall

After five years of serving Netwest as Representative on the Board of North Carolina Writers’ Network, Al Manning has traveled countless miles from his home in Haywood County to the old White Cross school building, former home office of NCWN, a few miles north of Carrboro, near Raleigh. Some meetings were held in other areas such as Peace College in Lexington, NC and he made the trip to represent NCWN West. He has also attended five Fall Conferences, starting in Wilmington, then Raleigh, Asheville, Raleigh again, and Winston-Salem. It is hard to believe but there are some members who haven't met Al. I interviewed him by email and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

He believes his most important role as Netwest Representative has been sitting face to face with other board members, and explaining the what, how and why Netwest exists. Board members from the middle of the state or other areas, who have never traveled to the mountains, have no concept of the distances involved. Al has taken pleasure in explaining to those who have questioned why NCWN West exists, how someone from Hayesville, for example, must drive for almost 2 hours just to get to exit 27 on I40, and then drive to exit 282 at RTP for a conference.
“This would get their attention,” Al says, “and made it easier to justify the support Netwest received from NCWN.” That has been a problem for years as new people come on the board. They have no concept why NCWN has a chapter out in the mountain area and why this group was formed.
The Board meeting this summer was by conference call and that will likely be the case in the future now that NCWN has a virtual office instead of the White Cross School building.
“But we do get together at the conferences. A breakfast meeting is usually scheduled for all the board members present, and there we can discuss what needs to be done to keep all the NCWN programs on track.” Al says.
According to Al Manning, “Netwest is the model that NCWN wants and needs to evolve into. Our ability for mass communication is wonderful, but working in small groups usually gets more accomplished. There are many writing groups in NC, some very active, others, almost in name only. As we have found out here in Netwest, all it takes is one eager person to get the organizational process started. We are greatly admired by other sections of NC, but they haven’t found that one eager person yet.”
I must add that it takes a dedicated person to lead and the cooperation of members working together.
“Coffee with the Poets is another model that is highly admired,” said Al. “Forget about Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes, formal agenda, etc. Just get together and do what you enjoy.”
At the 2007 Spring Conference Al said he spent an hour with the president of the NC Poetry Society discussing the possibilities for this type of activity. “She found impressive the numbers you were drawing for a mid-week morning event.”
Being a loyal, long-time member of Netwest, Al feels that being around other writers, discussing current projects, and hearing their latest can’t help but improve any aspiring writer.
“Through the Yahoo group and the newsletter, all Netwest members have a constant source of useful information. Netwest does a great job of encouraging its members to participate, and to get involved.”
Al spent 21 years in the United States Navy, and 16 years teaching microcomputers at Haywood Community College. Both required technical writing, from high-level briefings to articles in Data Management and Inside Data Processing Management Association. Only after he retired from teaching in 1998 did he begin to write for his own pleasure.
“My most enjoyable writing is my blog ( because there I can write about whatever floats my boat. I do have a suspense novel completed awaiting editing, and I am working on an autobiographical account of my experiences in the very early days of the computer industry,” Al said.
His book, Curmudgeon’s Book of Nursery Rhymes is available at your local friendly independent bookstore. When he reads from this book, his sardonic humor keeps his audience laughing. Al won second prize in the Charlotte Writer's Club Children's Story contest. His entry was titled King Wilfred of Woppingsham.
Al is moving closer to his daughter and his young grandson. He will no longer serve as the NCWN West Board Representative or Haywood County Representative. Al, we all thank you for your service to Netwest and will keep up with you on your blog. We’ll look for you at the NCWN conferences.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NCWN West 17th Annual Picnic a Big Success

If you were not able to attend the 17th annual NCWN West picnic held Sunday in Murphy NC , I’m sorry you missed it.

Writers from Haywood County, Jackson County, Cherokee and Clay Counties, from Georgia and one visitor from Buncombe County came down.
Gary Carden, playwright, storyteller and writer, held us rapt with his talk, his reading of poetry by Jim Wayne Miller and a great story about a fish that drowned because he forgot where he came from.

Fantastic dishes of all kinds, including Peg Russell’s rum cake, a popular pumpkin pie, salads and desserts and vegetables like new potatoes and fresh green beans loaded the table.

A long list for open mic kept us later than we had planned but almost everyone who signed up had the opportunity to read. We were happy to have those who came for the first time and even happier to have those new writers and poets join Netwest.

We’re pleased to see so many attending who had first come to one of our workshops. I see future Netwest leaders in the women and men who joined us for the picnic.

As always we are pleased when our former Program Coordinators, Nancy Simpson and Shirley Uphouse are present. The Netwest Representative for the Board of Trustees of NCWN, Al Manning came and brought several people with him. JC Walkup from Canton also brought writers from her area.

My photographer was not able to come today, but Peg Russell made several pictures and I will share them on the blog as soon as I can find an easy way to do so.

As many of you know, I will be resigning as PC at the end of this year. To my surprise I was acknowledged by JC Walkup and Peggy Morse with a lovely card and gift certificate to my favorite local restaurant. They expressed appreciation for making the writers in their area feel more a part of Netwest. I am happy that our 80 members feel closer to each other and hopefully in the years to come we will share readings between counties and teachers between counties. And I hope every one of the members of Netwest will support each other and promote each other in any way possible.

Thanks to Mary Ricketson and Jerry Hobbs, Netwest representatives for Cherokee County, for hosting this year’s picnic. They deserve the appreciation of all of us. I look forward to next year’s picnic wherever it will be.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Top Ten Reasons I Have Enjoyed Being Program Coordinator for Netwest

1. I was able to bring onboard a corporate sponsor, United Community Bank, Inc..

2. I have been delighted to give something back to Netwest. We are steadily increasing our membership.

3. I’ve met and discussed Netwest with people throughout NC, and I’ve participated in exciting writing events and spoken to eager audiences of writers.

4. With the addition of Henderson County to our membership, I had the opportunity to meet the writers there, appoint a county representative and play a part in helping them build a writing community.

5. Working with our past and present leaders we revised a set of guidelines, drafted in 2003, which makes Netwest more independent without breaking from the North Carolina Writers’ Network. This was sorely needed.

6. One of the goals I had as Program Coordinator was to reach out to all the counties included in the membership of Netwest and let them know they are Netwest members just as much as members in Cherokee and Clay County.

7. For many years I had heard “we get nothing for our dues” from some members. I was able, in this past year, to give our members several low cost workshops by top writing instructors, to promote the work of deserving writers, to give computer classes to members at low or no cost, to start a Netwest blog and give our members’ work an outlet to the world.

8. I worked as a volunteer at the Spring Conference in Winston-Salem and found that NCWN needs volunteers and will offer an incentive to members who help out. I appreciate Ed Southern and Virginia Freedman giving me the chance to help with registration.

9. I’ve found working with Nicki Leone, President of NCWN, to be a joy and I admire her for her dedication to writers and to writing.

10. In my position as Program Coordinator, I now realize this is indeed a position which requires dedication and commitment. A PC must be visible, be active, and must respond to every phone call and email from members, possible members, writing instructors, from those who have published books, from those who want to publish books, from those who need the address of a fellow writer, from those who failed to check the calendar or just think it is easier to call the PC.

Part of the Program Coordinator’s job is to welcome new members, writers from out of town, make flyers, publicize and set up readings, contact and remind writers of the dates they read. Beg for volunteers to help when needed, work closely with all newspaper editors so they will happily print our news and calendar announcements, raise funds for special projects, and get to know our Indie book stores who are important to us as writers. And do all this with a smile. To many, the Program Coordinator is the face of Netwest.

10. The best part of being a Program Coordinator for Netwest is seeing our image, a mountain writer’s group, become respected and admired throughout the state of NC and beyond.
To see our members succeed and grow as writers, to see their work appreciated by others, to be their voices when they want to share good news, and know that I had some small part in making this happen, this is the best part.

Glenda Beall

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Author at end of table with
his prose group.

The Value of Critique
by Richard Argo

During my school years, a few lifetimes ago, I took a program with a professor who, in discussions on the weekly papers students were required to submit, always asked if we wanted support for our efforts or critique. This professor had the reputation for reducing students’ work to compost. So I, a forty-something, unsure of my abilities and indeed my entitlement to higher education, opted for support.
The professor dispensed this support without measure. He assured me that the submitted work was of proper length, neatly typed with references correctly listed and I could expect to receive full credit.
Life was good. This college stuff was easy – at least for the first two weeks. But then I wandered if my writing was good, was I expressing myself well, and was I right in what I said.
“Ah,” the professor said with a smile when I asked the question. “Are you now asking for critique?”
I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath and said, “Yes.”
To make a semester-long story short, he reduced my work to compost – again and again and again. However, his comments were spot on. I learned and came to appreciate critique.
When I moved to the mountains and found the Netwest group, I joined. That was thirteen years ago. I don’t think I’ve missed a dozen sessions since and I would be loathe to submit a piece of work for publication that had not first passed before the critique group.
Admittedly, and this may be more information than is necessary, there are times when the group reviews my work, that bring back memories of group therapy. Especially those times when it was my turn in the barrel. But, beyond the comments and suggestions, what are far more valuable to me are the sense I get after each session that “I can do this” and the inspiration to try.
I don’t always follow every suggestion or agree with every comment, but I know that these are given by other writers who have an objective eye for what makes writing better. It is this objectivity that I rely on rather that the well-intentioned comments of non-writing friends and relatives.
Support comes from the fact that even though the group knows me to be a poor speller with a limited knowledge of writing rules, they allow me to make comments and suggestions, too. And sometimes these suggestions are good ones because it’s all about learning. When you associate with smart people, some of it is bound to rub off.
A wise person (I believe it was Nancy Simpson) once said something like: you can learn to write on your own, but it is so much faster with a group. So, if you want to improve your writing, network with and learn from other writers – get thee to a critique group. After all, good things can grow from compost.

Richard Argo lives in Murphy, NC where he writes, teaches and leads the Netwest Critique group each month on the second Thursday. He will teach at JCCFS in early 2009. Check your catalog for dates or go online.