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Showing posts from August, 2011

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Personal archaelogy

I was up early, watching a UNC-EX program on the crocodile god in Egypt. Lots of images of sand sifting through ruins, and archaologists digging layer by careful layer.
I've been asked lately about how a book begins, and it seems at least for me it begins only when there is enough history accumulated. What happened when I was 5 or 11 or 23 or 36 is still there, like the ruins buried in the desert. Then something new occurs that reaches right back through the layers like a shaft dug straight into the past.
It's a certain slant of light .... a note from an old bell ... the way a dirt road curves into a forest and the sky reflects from a crescent puddle.
Then, and only then, my senses and emotions awakened, is there a sense of a story waiting to be told.
And interviewers have asked, of course, how much overlap there is between author and character. Does Tracey in Blood Clay represent my feelings in her sometimes caustic comments? Is she me?
Well, no. But she has some parts of me,…

Tomcats

Sustainability

I've been following the Facebook conversation launched by a friend in Pennsylvania who is considering opening a bookstore. "Try with all your might to find the tiniest, nookiest, very least expensive, spot to rent," one comment read. "Bookstores ARE NOT a thing of the past!" said another. And people had suggestions for ways an indie store could add to its revenue stream, as well as warnings about the hazard of starting a new business, any new business.
It made me think of Barnhill's in Winston-Salem, a newish store that's working hard to revitalize a community on and around Burke Street. In addition to books, and strong support for the small press (especially W-S's own Press 53), Barnhill's has wine tastings from regional vineyards, local art on the walls, children's items, fudge from a nearby shop.
None of this is new, but it is part of a pattern of local businesses helping each other out, making networks to sustain them and their customers.

Regal Cities

I was in Asheville this weekend for a gathering of writers, and was delighted to read at Malaprop's, one of the great bookstores. Emoke, founder of Malaprop's some 30 years ago, was honored for her life's work by the state's writers, and it was a well-deserved recognition. And here's a shout-out to Alsace, Jan, and all the folks who make an author feel welcome in the shop.
Asheville crowns the mountains with grace and good humor, a irrepressible young queen of the high country. The annual Bele Chere festival filled the downtown for the weekend, and despite the heat and threat of thunderstorms, everyone seemed to have a grand time. I enjoyed the music, both the stage productions and the intimate sound of buskers along the streets, and art of every variety.
Speaking of queens - I'm in the Queen City on Aug. 13 to visit Park Road Books from 1-3 p.m. Pam Kelley is giving away a copy of Blood Clay - stop by her website before Wednesday, Aug. 3, to get your name in …