Of Faulkner and polar bears


Image from endangeredpolarbear.com

A writer who I don’t know but follow on Twitter posted this William Faulkner quote today: “The only thing worth writing about is the conflict in the human heart.” And my first thought was, “Wait, is that right?”

I like quotes from writers and quotes about writing, but the thing about quotes is they sound like edicts when, in fact, they’re just the musings of creative people who, like the rest of us, are making it up as they go. Continue reading

Christine Hale publishes a masterful memoir

Originally published by Mountain Xpress


Throughout her book A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A memoir in four meditations, Christine Hale recounts penning and reworking a novel. It’s a detail she returns to over and over. “I was a fiction writer [and] weirdly, given this book, I’m quite a private person,” she says. But following the deaths of her parents, Hale’s focus on fiction shifted and she was compelled to write not just about the passing of her mother and father, but their relationship and her own life growing up in Appalachia. “The memoir hijacked me,” she says.

“Working with a lot of memoir projects [over] the past 10 years, it’s not unusual for it to just come out and insist,” says Hale. She teaches writing in the Antioch University Los Angeles low-residency MFA program and the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC Asheville.

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Happy birthday Wilma Dykeman!

Wilma Dykeman was born in the Beaverdam Community (now part of Asheville) on May 20, 1920. In her writing, she explored the people and land of Appalachia. Her 18 books included The Tall Woman (1962), The Far Family (1966), and Return the Innocent Earth (1973). In her first book, The French Broad (1955), she “made the first full-fledged economic argument against water pollution (seven years before Rachel Carson),” according to wilmadykemanlegacy.org.


Dykeman sitting on the Clifton Heights balcony, early 1960s


“Sometimes it seemed that work was the only certainty, the only lasting truth in a human world of fitful change. Work and the mountains remained.” — Wilma Dykeman