Scenes from a Writing Retreat

It started in 2008 when four of us met in a writing class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. An on-line critique group was formed. Two years later we reunited at JCCFS, added another person to our ranks, and then decided to hold our own writing retreats. They were yearly at first. Now they’re…

Changing My Mind

I am very good at completely changing my opinion on something – sometimes in the space a few seconds, sometimes in a few years. Example #1: In college I remember thinking, “I could never date a vegetarian.  I wouldn’t know what to cook for him.”  A dozen years later I’m not dating a vegetarian –…

The Things I Never Dreamed Of

When I took my first writing class at the John C. Campbell Folk School, I never had the intention of becoming a published writer.  I just wanted to write down some of my family stories.  And take a week doing so at a beautiful place in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Four years later…

10,000 Steps

“You’re doing the Camino?” he asked.  “Did you start practicing yet?” “No,” I replied sheepishly.  “But it’s not until May, so I’ve got time.” He looked at me with wide eyes.  “You should be out there – at least an hour every day.” It was August, 2011.  I was not planning on starting my preparations…

Abbondanza

“I’ll just go call Grandma,” I said to my instructor.  I was in my Genealogy class at the John C. Campbell Folk School where I had one major advantage over all my classmates: I was the only student who had a grandmother still living.  This is probably because I was the youngest student in the…

Students and Teachers

“So what did you think of blacksmithing?” friends ask. “I loved it,” I say.  “Though it was one of those classes I could have loved or hated based solely on the teacher.  Thankfully, I had a really good teacher.” In my ten weeks here at the Folk School, I haven’t just been studying blacksmithing, or…

A New Use for our Garden Shed

Last month, I took Tom Dahaney’s Building a Garden Shed class.  In five days, we accomplished quite a bit.  What was left undone, we were told, would be completed by the Work Study students with the help of the maintenance department. On Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending a wedding here on the…

Rocking Chairs

Beth and I went to sit down on the porch, overlooking the mountains.  She took one rocking chair, I took another.  “Oh – this is the one I don’t like,” I said as I got up and moved to another chair.   Beth looked at the chair I had vacated and said, “Yeah, I don’t…

A Host Not Like Most?

“So have you made a lot of things so far?” my new co-host asked me. Having taken eight weeks of classes here at the Folk School, one would assume I have a cabinet filled with the fruits of my labors. “Actually, no,” I said.  “I’ve purposely chosen classes where I don’t make a lot of…

Therapy

This morning at the Folk School the blacksmiths pounded steel and the woodcarvers gouged bowls. The cooking class fried stuffed peppers and the rug hookers dyed wool.  Where was I?  Lying on my back staring at the clouds – doing “cloud therapy” as my writing instructor called it. It was while watching wispy clouds flow…