Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Up on the hill...

The Baptists in our town used to meet here, away up at the top end of Church Street. That was before they built themselves bigger barns down in the town, across the street from the Presbyterians on Carolina Avenue.

My neighbor, Corinne Gerwe lives here now. She writes mystery novels. Corinne inspired me to tackle the genre.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Editing the novel - round one.


It didn't take two weeks, but I'll be doing it all over again in a couple of days. Time to start killing off all the lovelies. Need to lose about 2000 words somewhere. I might go down to the creek tomorrow and think about something else. Or maybe just watch and listen and not think about anything at all.

Monday, May 29, 2017

'Tis a gift...

Holbert Cove near Cove Creek, Polk County, North Carolina

Our good friend (and CPA who saves us from the IRS annually), Paul Metz dropped by Friday afternoon and left us a CD of his mother, Sara singing and reading poetry. The songs were old hymns that get sung in church every Sunday among our mountains, and the poems were all written by her.

As soon as Paul left, we sat down and played the CD, immersed in wondrous and enthralling contradictions as an eighty-year-old woman with the voice of a young girl taught us again that a plain song can touch the deepest, that a simple faith can be the most profound, that Truth can only be spoken from the heart.

Thanks, Sara, for stirring our souls this day. Thanks to Paul for bringing you to us. And Thanks be to God for you both.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Everyone should...

Cove Creek in Green River Gamelands, Polk County NC

"Everyone should pick a cat up by the tail at least once," Mark Twain reputedly said, "just for the experience, but only a fool would do it twice"

Ten things I would be a fool to do again:
Write a novel with 40 named characters.
Write a crime novel.
work for wages.
Trust medical advice.
Borrow money from strangers.
Borrow money from friends.
Vote for a Republican.
Vote for a Democrat.
 Get a divorce.
Buy a dog.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


We got a brief weather break this week, a couple of rainless days with even a little sun. So I took time off from editing the novel manuscript and set out the sweet potato slips that arrived Thursday morning from Sow True Seed, a dozen Porto Rico and a dozen All Purple.

Also dug up a new bed in the garden and transplanted the hardy squash seedlings that had taken root in our compost bin.

As for the novel, about half-way through the first round of editing, it has gained two thousand words, despite shedding a lot of adjectives along the way. Likely a couple of rounds after this, before Editor is allowed a look. I don't like to pick a tale before it's ripe.

Friday, May 26, 2017


Tall waters are much preferable to tall buildings, in my opinion, and tall tales to long ones. We meet our aliveness navigating those streams that flow contrary to ordinary. The road to hell is undoubtedly paved and well marked.

Thursday, May 25, 2017



Tuesday, I had to spend the day down the mountain in the city. I wouldn't say everybody who wants to live there is crazy, but I would have to be crazy to want to live there.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Throughout my brief life, my most constant friends have been the creeks and streams along the Blue Wall between the Carolinas. I followed them as a child out of my Aunt Mary's yard below Standing Stone Mountain, up through Jones Gap into the Mountain Bridge Wilderness around Caesar's Head. In old age now, I regularly walk the road along Joel's Creek to the Missing Forty and my friend's house, and wander the Green River Gamelands along Cove Creek, where the Bradleys roar.

Since childhood, I've sought conversation with mountain waters, watched the fleeting lights on their faces, listened to their voices in all their changing moods. I hear their songs in my sleep, and one day soon, I will finally know the words they sing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Upon our steep and stony road
When night is near, the waters cold,
Then all the stories that we’ve told
About the righteous and the bold,
All that our memories enfold
Remain the refuge of the old.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Live and learn...

The annual Saluda Arts Festival was in full swing when I walked down to Nostalgia Court for my weekly lesson at Feldenkrais Saluda. I've been taking Feldenkrais instruction for almost as many years as I've been married to a Feldenkrais teacher, with weekly lessons since moving to Saluda last year. 

While I can't say it has prevented the accumulating frailties and llmitations of aging, I can testify with assurance that Feldenkrais practice has enabled me to maximize my remaining capabilities, and use what I have left more efficiently, with greater ease and assurance, and less discomfort. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Since the cradle, we've been indoctrinated with the notion that Wilderness, wild nature, is a refuge where we can escape and recover whenever the real world gets too much for us.

Nature is not an expendable resource for us to use and enjoy for furthering our own quest of profit or pleasure. Wilderness is our native habitat. For millennia before we thought up civilization, our species evolved to live and purpose in wild places.

Nature is not “out there,” but “in here.” We are nature. Only in wilderness are humans fully at home in the world. We seek out wild nature to reveal our true selves. Cities are just as alien to our being and becoming as the surface of the moon. We become slaves to technology in order to exist in either environment.

We preserve wilderness to preserve our souls.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

...a little walkabout.

Yesterday morning, my friend Wayseeker (aka David Longley) from South Carolina, knocked on my door by dawnserly light, and we took a little walkabout down on Cove Creek to Little Bradley and Big Bradley Falls.

The sun still hadn't reached down between the ridges by the time we got to Little Bradley. As we walked, we got to watch the mountain wake up for another run under the sun.

There are a lot of fine things in this world that ordinary folk could never afford. Then there are glories beyond any price, available to anyone who will take the time to know them. They are around us all the time, and we forget they are there, until a friend comes to wake us, and we see them with morning eyes.


Friday, May 19, 2017


Finally, a solid draft of the novel that has been cooking off and on for three years between other projects. Writing a novel is like taking a walk to a place somebody who's been there tells you about. You slog along through thick and thin, wet and dry, fret you've made a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Then you round a bend, look up and there it waits. It's supposed to get easier as you go along, so say the real writers I know, who have been doing this fiction thing for a long time. For me, each book just finds a new way to be difficult. My first mystery novel, Belief has taken the longest of any, and maintained herself a mystery to the writer down to the last chapter.

Still a lot of work to do before I dare show the manuscript to Editor. But if I die tonight, any competent editor could iron it out for me now. When I start a project, I always make up a cover for the imaginary book I haven't written yet. I wonder what this book will look like betime she's out in the world?