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Balancing Writing with Reading–and Life

October 9, 2015

IMG_1840After spending the summer using Rebecca McClanahan’s Writing Your Heart Out as a guide for online writing, I’ve not posted must once the summer ended and the school year started up. That does not mean I’m not writing. In fact, I’ve managed to carve out some regular writing time most days, and I’ve kept meeting with my prose group and my poetry group. Best of all, with some of my go-to people, we managed to pull off a successful event for poets right here in Hickory, which we called The Fall Face-to-Face in the Foothills Poetry Festival.

My friend Jane Shlensky and I have batted around the idea for awhile now to try to bring together some of our online writing community, and we figured North Carolina would be the perfect setting, since we have such a strong poetry community here.  Of course, we managed to schedule our event the same weekend as the Fall meeting of the North Carolina Poetry Society, and several other major cultural events conflicted from Raleigh west.  Nevertheless, we had a wonderful turn out for a varied schedule of sessions featuring three NC poets laureate–Shelby Stephenson, who holds the position currently, as well as Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Stripling Byer, along with Scott Owens, host of Poetry Hickory, Michael Beadle, and Robert Lee Brewer. editor of Poet’s Market and Writers Market, at the Hickory Museum of Art, just in time for participants to be able to view the museum’s latest exhibit, National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s striking photographs.

One of the special joys was getting to meet Sharon and Terry Ingraham of Alberta, Canada; Connie Peters of Cortez Colorado, Bruce Neidt of New Jersey, and Judy Roney, who splits her time between Maggie Valley, NC, and Plant City, Florida.  All of these folks knew each other–and Robert–from the Poetic Asides online poetry community, but had never met face to face.

Now that this first festival is behind us, we’re already looking at how–and when–to do it again. Meanwhile, I’m working hard to put to use all those notes I scrawled in my notebook, all the tips, all the “poem idea!” notes in my margins.

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