Monday, March 31, 2008

We had a heavy rain and some stormy weather two days ago. Things come out of the woods when it rains, I’ve noticed, and I guess something did that night. The sheep were gone Sunday morning.

Yeppers—back down the cliff in the neighbor’s cow pasture.

I spent the first part of the day attempting to catch Rose. This was the plan--I would load up Rose and take her down there on a lead and use her to lure the sheep to a bucket of feed—then lead the sheep back up the hill.

I knew catching Mutton wouldn’t be a problem. And once I had Mutton, Chops would follow.

Brilliant, eh?

What happened was a typical countryside fiasco.

The neighbors have this German Shepherd dog I am in love with. He somehow got Aegis’ personality. His head shape is even oddly like Aegis’ and he’s just the friendliest dog I’ve met since I lost my Yella Fella.

So, Friendly Dog follows me. I realize that Sheep are never going to come to me with Friendly Dog hanging around the jeep begging for pets. Also, Sheep are very delicious looking. I understand that. They are delicious looking to me and I’m not even a dog.

I give Friendly Dog the slip by going around the back way.

All goes well, as planned, and I tie Mutton to the hitch and slowly start inching back home pulling Mutton behind me. I have to stop every so often to get out and check on him. Black-faced Chops is following as planned. Yay—looks like this is going to work!

Just as I’m about to pull out and head back up the mountain—Oh Noes! It’s Friendly Dog!

Friendly Dog decides to help by skillfully using his shepherd genes to cut Chops off from the Sheep caravan. Off goes Black-faced Chops.

Mutton and I make it to the bridge and Friendly Dog comes back, having successfully put Chops back in the pasture he’s not supposed to be in.

At this point, there is no reason to keep Mutton stressed out following the jeep, so I stop and cram his uncooperative sheep ass in the jeep. He’s heavy and not helping at all.

Friendly Dog—who is only doing this for a good snuggle—follows me almost all the way home. I don’t want him knowing where I live, since I have a feeling he’d be hanging out here all the time. I tie him up at another neighbor’s house then call the other neighbors and tell them where he is.

So—I now have Mutton home, but Chops is still down the mountain. Chops is dumber than dirt, impossible to catch and I’m not sure he’s bright enough to make it back up here on his own.

But here’s hoping. May I have two sheep in the yard in the morning.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tara over at Hobo Stripper tagged me for the Seven Things You Don’t Need to Know About Me Meme. Consider yourself tagged if you’d really like to do this one.

I’m doing a meme today because: a)it’s a rainy foggy day up here on the mountain; b) I have a short story that is pouring out into the laptop from my brain and I need to get back to it; c) I have about 10 hours of otaku goodness sitting in my mailbox from Netflix that is calling to me; and d) a collection of Murakami Haruki short stories I’m luxuriating in.

I’ve already shared with you such intimate details of my life—like being born with a tail and my Mafia boyfriends. Not sure what else there is to tell you.

1. In a desperate attempt to housebreak Max—I peed outdoors to show him how it was done. It sort of worked. He now pees in the bathroom if I leave the door open.

2. My poverty embarrasses me deeply. I feel great shame about it.

3. I was a vegetarian for over half my life.

4. I find beauty in strange places. You probably already figured that out.

5. When I was a kid, my brother enraged and tormented me by chanting, “Roseate Spoonbill”.

6. I consider my greatest failure in this life to be my inability to find a mate.

7. I so want reincarnation to be real. I honestly believe I’m owed a do-over—next time in a chassis that works and the soul I was supposed to run into for #6 walking the planet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My father’s parents were products of the fin d’siecle—carrying on the Victorian ideal until their deaths in the late 1960’s. I never knew them to call each other anything other than “Mr. Griffeth” and “Mrs. Griffeth”. I often wondered if they ever slipped up in their private moments to call each other by their given names. Even the yellowed love letters I found from 1900 never had a “James” or a “Rita” in them. My Grandmother Rita was well known for her crabapple jelly and I’m sure floral jellies would not have been out of place on her damask covered dining table.

There is something ever so delicate, ever so Victorian and very Southern about floral jellies. They really speak to a bygone era where leisure time was plentiful and entertainment was more than just a hurried dinner party or a restaurant date. To serve a floral jelly, is to serve your own work of edible art.

And they do need to be consumed quickly. Many fruit jellies will keep over the year, but the essences and delicate colors in floral jellies fade over a period of six months. One technique, I will discuss today really must be refrigerated and served quickly.

Jelly is alchemy in the kitchen in a way. It does take a bit of practice to get it right. The recipe I will give you is easy in that it uses commercial pectin. This is much easier than making jelly the old way. You have to use pectin with floral jellies because the blossoms have no pectin of their own.

Blossom Jelly

4 cups edible blossoms
4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1 3/4-ounce) package powered pectin
5 cups sugar

WASH blossoms with cold water, and place them in a large bowl. Pour 4 cups boiling water over blossoms, and refrigerate overnight. Pour blossoms and liquid through a colander into a kettle, discarding blossoms. Add lemon juice and pectin; bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a spoon. Quickly pour jelly into hot, sterilized jars, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands. PROCESS in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks. YIELD: 6 half pints

Once you get the hang of it, you can make small batches as you need them. I will collect the blooms when they arrive—spring is the time for dandelions and violets—then steep them and freeze jugs of the resulting floral tea. Throughout the spring and summer you will find different flowers that make lovely, sparkling floral jellies.

Embedding Blossoms in Jelly

If you would like to really amaze your guests for a special dinner or event, try embedding a blossom in the bottom of the jelly to make an individual “pat” to place at each guest’s place setting. Choose simple flowers like violets or small roses. Wash them, dry them and press gently down with some cheesecloth. Make your jelly. Using a silicone baking form placed on a cookie sheet, pour a small amount of hot jelly into the bottom. Press your flower, face down, into this and then fill the form up with the jelly. Cover with wax paper. You may make these several days to a week before the event but they must be kept refrigerated. Turn out onto the bread dish for a jeweled mold of jelly with a flower in the top.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I haven't done any embedding into the blog before, since it takes so long for me to upload the blog with video. Anyway, I finally found something I couldn't resist. Jimmy is on You Tube! Handling serpents!

Enjoy--I also found their web site. It doesn't come up on the first page of google, but I'm going to link to it and see if we can get their ranking up a bit.

The Edwina Church of God in Jesus' Name

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I've taken as really long--for me, anyway--break from writing. Four days without doing any editing or anything has been sort of extreme for me. Well, I say I haven’t been writing, but I have been doing research. I have this story about an Appalachian kid who becomes obsessed with the idea that he is descended from the Chrysanthemum Throne. So, I’ve been brushing up on my Japanese history.

My sister and I had a nice long talk yesterday. She mentioned how much she liked “Ghosts” and I mentioned how I was having such a hard time getting my serious stories accepted. She said just to keep submitting it. You know, I’ve come to the realization that editors really want stories about nothing. They don’t want catharsis, epiphanies or life changing events in the stories. They don’t want Kurt Vonnegut style writing. And—well, you know—bad things often happen to my characters. I’m getting these super nice rejections with great personal comments about how they like the story but are shying away from death elements.

Even the frogs die in my stories. I’m just not sure where to draw the line.

Pastor Jimmy and Pam dropped by today to pick up some gourds. I showed him the one I was working on with my wood burner. He’s going to do a gourd for me. Anyway, I was moaning to him about all of this, since he is, after all a fellow writer—and a published one. He may only have graduated the fifth grade, but he’s the closest friend I have up here who is a bona fide genius.

“Yes,” I said, “as far as I can tell, they want stories about how you go to the grocery store and can’t find what you are looking for. Stuff like that.”

“You mean like Seinfeld.” he said.


To understand what I found so funny about this, you will need to go back and read my serpent handling articles. I don’t think Jimmy has a TV—and even he gets this.

I’m just dumber than dirt, I guess.

So, I’m going to start throwing out some stories about nothin’.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter.

I stopped on my way home the other day, up on the Parkway and took this. There was enough cold up at the higher elevations for the snow to still be flocking the mountaintops.

We were supposed to have some snow this morning but it is just cold and cloudy.

I had the best of intentions for completely churching it up yesterday, but my alarm didn't go off so I missed the Episcopal service in Newport. Sigh. I did manage to make it to Jimmy's for the 1:00 service. The signs followers do not celebrate Easter. They are celebrating Passover on the 20th and will be having a foot washing, so, I don't want to miss that.

Nothing much going on. I did my first taped interview yesterday. They said I did okay.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Has everyone been good little boys and girls? Expecting to find gobs of chocolate at the end of that mysterious trail of flour footprints in the living room? Expecting to see those toothmarks in the carrot you left on the plate before going to bed? Hmmmm?

It is a well known fact that Santa leaves coal in the stockings of those who do not meet his expectations. The Easter Bunny is, of course, a rabbit. Rabbit's aren't known for their long memories, organizational skills or vengeful natures.

That's why the Easter Llama is involved. So, be very, very good. Else you are invited to spend the day with the Easter Llama. You don't want to go there. These animals invented snark.

Disclaimer--Llamas are actually really sweet. They just look imperious, judgmental and as though they are showing off how much longer their eyelashes are than yours.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I couldn't resist doing this forever, I guess. This will be going up on The Friday Ark at the Modulator. Lolcat translations courtesy of Speak Lolcat. Nod to I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? If for some odd reason you want to use any of these on your own blog, go ahead, but give me a linkback. The new Technorati is murdering my blog.

I give you--The Baby Lolgoats--courtesy of Betsy at Glastonbury Farm where I spent this afternoon getting my baby goat fix.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've got a belly full of raw fish and rice and some animes to watch tonight--I tell you, life is good.

A new reader emailed me today with the question I've been waiting to answer since 2003 when I set the blog up.

Lowell writes:

I just found this very interesting website and have been reading and enjoying a lot of the articles but have to wonder why in your narrative you spell "Smoky" the way it is supposed to be spelled (at least the accepted, official spelling), but the heading on the website and at other places throughout, it is incorrectly spelled "Smokey?"

Y'all were just being so polite all this time while thinking to yourself, "Poor old Rosie--she's misspelled 'Smoky.'"

My answer:

The "Smokey Mountain Breakdown" is the name of an old Appalachian song--a "breakdown" is a type of instrumental arrangement consisting of a series of solos by different instruments on the theme of a melody--like The Foggy Mountain Breakdown or the Bluegrass Breakdown. This particular breakdown was a favorite of my grandfather's and it does have an "e" in the spelling. I used it when I set the blog up because I liked the various connotations in the name...since I basically deconstructed myself when I adopted the mountain lifestyle as my own--much as the melody is deconstructed to create a breakdown arrangement.
I may have truly misspelled in elsewhere since I have to type the blog name out all of the time and it has become a habit.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photo originally uploaded on Suffering the Benz

So, Popcorn Sutton has been arrested—again. This time it looks grim since the Feds have him.

When last we checked in with renegade moonshiner and folk legend, Popcorn Sutton, state authorities had arrested him after his stills exploded due to an electrical problem, setting fire to the surrounding buildings. He was convicted on state charges and put on probation. This was last April.

This past Thursday, the ATF paid a personal house call on Sutton and found him in full production with three 1000-gallon stills and 850 gallons of finished product on hand. He evidently also sold 300 gallons to an undercover agent and promised another 500 gallons. Oops.

So, Popcorn Sutton sits in a jail cell in Greene County. There will be a hearing on the 28th to determine if he should remain in jail pending the trial.

James Cavanaugh, ATF Special Agent in Charge, said, "The truth, though, is that moonshine is a dangerous health issue and breeds other crime."

Because we all know how safe the legally taxed liquor is—no one ever having contracted cirrhosis or other alcohol related diseases and no one certainly has ever beaten their spouse or combined firearms with legally taxed liquor. Right?

I have not formally met Popcorn. The last time I saw him was in Food City a few months ago. He was checking out of the express lane and I was trying to find the shortest non-express lane. There are always checkout lines at the Food City across from the library.

He is an itsy-bitsy little gnome of a man—not more than 110 pounds probably. His trademark beard gives him width, making him appear larger than he really is. He does not look well for a man of 61 years and he leaned heavily on his shopping cart the day I saw him.

It remains to be seen what exactly is going to happen. What I know is from the rumor mill and completely unsubstantiated. The local folk think he probably is going to serve time. When the bust back in April occurred, it was strange that only 40 or so gallons were found in the aftermath of the fire. Everyone knew it was a large-scale operation. There was also little doubt that he would be up and running again before the first court case was resolved. Each still costs around 10,000 dollars, so, they represent quite an investment.

Another interesting thing that is said is that Popcorn supplies product for the Tennessee State House and even inside the Beltway in DC. There is a “little black book” out there somewhere. Not that buying the stuff is a huge crime, though it is illegal to possess it. It just would be interesting to see exactly who Popcorn’s clients are—the ones who are buying in such large quantities.

Love him or hate him--here are some Popcorn Sutton links:

Newport Plain Talk
WBIR--Local moonshine icon busted again
Suffering the Benz
Appalachian Scribe
Hillbilly Savants
Sky Sutton's Blog
Knox News--The law gets notorious moonshiner Popcorn Sutton - again
Knox News--Moonshiner faces new charges in federal probe

Sunday, March 16, 2008

They eat the eyes in Morocco, I'm told. Actually, I haven't just been told that--I've seen pictures.

This is about the only time they will cozy up to one another--when there is small ruminant kibble for the offering.

Chops has the most beautiful fleece now. He never got back to that rusty brown color he was when he came here a year ago. I'm guessing that was his first fleece. He's quite a bit younger than Mutton. Mutton's fleece is very dense but looks like a bunch of fiber fill that got tossed in the washer. Chops's is soft and very uniform. I don't know much about fleeces, but I can tell that Chops has the better one. It's almost time to drag them back up on the porch and shear them again. The bags from last year are still back there.

It's the shanks of the month and I am dreaming of having lean protein and fresh vegetables to eat again. I swear, I've been craving salmon sashimi in the worst way imaginable. I can just see the stuff sliding off my fillet knife.

Cartoon Network is showing one of my favorite Miyazaki films tonight at 7:00. Howl's Moving Castle is a really delightful film that your kids will love and it won't be a stretch at all for you to enjoy it as well. Christian Bale voices Howl in the English dub. Trust me--you will love this anime.

I've been watching the stunning Otogizoshi--gorgeous animation and story, but not for the under 14 set. It's about a warrior princess and is full of Noh dancing and historical references in the first arc of the story. Also, very dynamic fight scenes and the corresponding gore that goes with them.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

In many ways we've lost touch with that desperate springtime longing for fresh green things that only living an agrarian life based on self sufficiency engenders. If we want a salad or fresh greens, we just go to the supermarket and buy them. Consider what it is like to have nothing but cabbage, because that stores well buried in the root cellar, for the entire winter. Some time in late February, the creasy greens get large enough to cut. By this point your body is craving the vitamin C punch these things carry and no matter how old you are, you are eager to have your first plate of greens.

Greens are almost always cooked here. Green salads don't seem to be as common and the old timers almost always saute or wilt the black-seeded Simpson lettuce they grow in the gardens.

Creasy's grow low to the ground and are a many lobed wild mustard green that is distantly related to water cress.. You can tell when you taste them in the field by their hot bite. You find them in unploughed fields and fallow areas. You cut them with a knife, leaving the root system intact for the next year's growth. They self seed very nicely and will even grow indoors well. The seeds are available from several heirloom seed sites if you'd like to sew you a patch. They'll grow just about anywhere.

Traditionally, you blanch the greens in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain them. Then you fry up some chucks of bacon and smother onions and ramps(if they are available). Saute the drained greens in this mixture, tossing all the ingredients well.

If you want to fancy this up, substitute prosciutto for the bacon, smother your onions in clarified butter, toss all together and top with feta or goat cheese.

I like them chopped raw and spicy in my salads--I fancy a mess right about now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Under the direction of Andrea Lewis' Cocker Rescue in southeast Ohio, a placement was found for this guy in Chattanooga. As soon as the plans were in place to get him transported and dozens of people were involved in the pulling, transport and eventual placement of this guy--some angel walked into the shelter and adopted him. Everyone was very happy to call off the plans and we hope he and his new family enjoy a long and happy life together.

If you are that angel, drop me an email privately and let me know how he's doing. We all fell more than a little in love with him during this.

Anyway, I've been busy trying to catch up on my submissions all week. I've got about 25 out right now. If I can keep it at 30 cycling between the long responders and the short responders that should be sufficient. At least, that's the plan.

I'm thinking of doing another story cycle in May. I need to concentrate on neutral or upbeat stories for a bit. The majority of the stories I see printed in the literary journals are of this type. They don't engage the reader on an emotional level. They strive to engage the reader mentally and to be memorable--just not too memorable. They are fairly formulaic in that they start with a mundane circumstance, add an extraordinary or unusual event, then bring the narrator or protagonist back to a steady state. Half the time they don't bring the character to a steady state and just leave the story hanging--like the writer just stopped writing. The protagonist is changed very slightly--or not at all. What is to be interesting in this type of story is the protagonist's psychological contortions to the unusual event.

Yes, I find all this boring too. But I've read hundreds of published stories with this formula in the past few months. I'm not sure my voice is even capable of writing this type of story--and my everyday life is not terribly full of mundane circumstances using urban standards. I would need to time travel back to my life in the cities to get the sort of things I would need to write like this.

At any rate, I have a few months to think about this. I should make an effort I suppose.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Need a Hero


I've been busy with rescue stuff and submissions.

I really need a hero for this guy in Elizabethton. He's so well housebroken, he's gotten constipated at the shelter. Time is running out and he gets put down this Friday. It's a small rural shelter and they just don't have room. So things are looking pretty bleak for Winston.

It's a sad fact that we just can't save them all. Rescues who don't recognize their limitations become little more than hoarders, but it still stings every time we lose one. But that's reality. There are so many lovely cockers and other purebred dogs in the shelters, on top of all the lovely mixed breeds, that we can't save them. Not all of them. All we can do is the best we can. It smarts, but there it is.

It's so crazy--the whole attitude I see here against spaying and neutering. And the people who won't spay or neuter their dogs and cats, are often the same people who say they can't bear to go to the shelter because it breaks their hearts. The same people who drop unwanted dogs off on the side of the road to starve to death because taking them to the shelter would be too cruel.

So they blame the shelters for their own crimes. They let the shelters clean up their messes because they are too lazy, uninformed or uncaring to take responsibility.

Yeah. It does chap my hide. It really does.

Pray for Winston, please.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I am so Meme'd out at this point--and I still have two more to go. After I get this spate of memes done, I will only recognize the meme-er--M'Kay? At least for a while.

I received some odd critiques of my work on some of my workshopping sites and I needed to back off before I used my powers for evil. So, I decided to pay attention to my submissions and get them back up to speed this past week. The roughs I generated over February needed polishing--there is always editing.

Anyway, I had a very happy Sunday, cause I got a piece accepted hours after I sent it out. Just in time for an attitude adjustment for the better!

I like seeing this when I sign into Duotrope:

Acceptance ratio: 18.18 % (Your acceptance ratio is higher than the average. Congratulations!)
Happy Sunday

Friday, March 07, 2008

Since I am forever being tagged with these things, I have decided to come up with my own bit of circulating nuisance nonsense.

I give you:

The Food Porn Meme!

Here are the really simple rules. Answer each of the five questions. Tag five bloggers you would like to pass the meme to. Have them link back to you and to this post as the source meme. You and they can take the graphic from here if they like.

1. What food do you consider the best “date” food? In other words, what meal or food item do you think is sexiest to eat in the company of someone you would like to look sexy around?

2. What well-known person would you like to share a meal with—with or without clothing. (saying whether or not clothes are involved is optional).

3. What does your perfect breakfast-in-bed look like? (Food AND the details, please. Candles? Music? Flowers? Hot tub? Dancing girls?

4. What do you consider the best application of whipped cream to be?

5. Oh-God-No, Biff, the yacht is sinking! You are sent to the galley to retrieve the food. What luxury food items do you snatch first? The champagne? The caviar? Smoked Salmon? Truffles? Chocolate? Or something else?

I will tag the following folks, but if you are dying to do this meme feel free to pick it up and run with it.

1. Erica at Erica’s Blog
2. Belledame at Fetch Me My Axe
3. Hayden at Lyric Flight
4. Kazari at I think I have a recipe for that
5. Anne at The Gods Are Bored
6. Betsy at Glastonbury Farm

Others I’d LOVE to see pick this up in addition to those five(cause I'm curious!) that I’ve already tagged in some way or another this week:

1. Sue at Sue Do-Nim
2. Jbeeky at Karen Road Chronicles

So, I charge you—go forth and spread this naughty food meme about the internet! I dare you!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Missy over at The House of Flying Monkeys gave me the E for Excellence Award on February 20th offering these very kind words:

Excellent writer, talks about upper east Tennessee with a love and respect that the people from there don’t even show. Talented, funny, and crazy, because she left my future retirement home of Hilton Head/Bluffton and moved to Del Rio/Grassy Fork. What can you say but that she’s nuts! OBTW she also introduced me to Caleb and the Newport Plain Talk Police Report… damned funny stuff!

I blush, really. And I do need to do a round-up soon of the Plain Talk Police Reports. They really are something special. I’m not sure if it’s just that Cocke county’s crimes are more interesting than the rest of the world’s or what. I’m sure people are sticking steak in their trousers and assaulting people with vacuum cleaners in other parts of the country, but they don’t have the talented punster Caleb Abramson.

1. Leslie’s Omnibus. Leslie introduced me to The Friday Ark and has a great blog that recognizes other neat blog postings and stuff. Go over there and give her a hug because her heart cat, Miss Marilyn, went on to the bridge yesterday.

2. Tossing Pebbles in the Stream. Phil blogs from the wilderness of Canada where he homesteads. He’s a Unitarian minister, liberal and an all around great guy. He’s got piglets and kittens eating together on his blog.

3. Hidden Haven Homestead. Peggy got my goat(s) and I couldn’t be happier about it! If you want to catch up on all the BossyToes crazyness—that’s where you need to be. She also makes wonderful soaps.

4. Straight White Guy. Eric is a very fine writer blogging out of somewhere south of Knoxville. I tried to get him to join me in the ellipsis 12 step program I recently graduated from, but he’s still hitting the dots pretty hard. I moved on to emdashes—ellipses are evidently a gateway punctuation.

5. Sue Doe-Nim. She’s my buddy. She writes about from LA about Mom stuff and I totally don’t have a dog in that fight but I like to live vicariously.

6. Art in the Garage. Karen has goats—and she’s a really wonderful graphic artist. Karen is a true artist and her graphic visions are thoughtful and harmonious.

7. Appalachian History. The best hard history blog out there for Appalachian issues. I owe him an article.

8. Hillbilly Savants. Wonderful stable of writers that I am unworthily grouped with. Also, owe them more posts.

9. Appalachian Writers. Another amazingly talented stable of writers I am unworthily grouped with. Wonderful stories and poetry dripping with Appalachian goodness.

10. Dew on The Kudzu. Idgie was the first editor to publish my writing. Her Ezine is like kicking back on a porch slider, enjoying a big glass of sweet tea while shelling butter beans.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bonnie over at Frogma awarded me this on February 16th because she really loved Holiness Cake Lady. I’m a bit confused as to whether or not I’m really entitled to the award. It originates from The Shameless Lions Writers Group.

Shameless says: Those people I've given this award to are encouraged to post it on their own blogs; list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing; and then pass the award on to the five blogs they want to honour, who in turn pass it on to five others, etc etc. Let's send a roar through the blogosphere! The image above can be copied and pasted onto other blogs. Also, a small size of the award for sidebars can be found over at the writing circle site.

Shameless is writer, Seamus Kearney, who also publishes stories on his blog.

I’m honored to beg, borrow or steal it—especially since it came from Bonnie.

Three things I believe are necessary for good, powerful writing:

1. The powerful writer exhibits a good grasp of language that surpasses grammar and usage—powerful writing seduces the reader with active verbs, direct nouns and intense, but sparing metaphors and similes.

2. Like Maupassant, I believe powerful stories have a beginning, middle and end—riveting leads, voluptuous middles and satisfying dénouements. They are a richly textured strata of words.

3. Powerful writing is memorable. There is an aftertaste that hangs in the mind like a sip of dark roast Ethiopian coffee lingers on the back of the throat. Such writing follows you around for a while.

Whether or not I achieve any of this is up for discussion, but that is what I aim for, among other things.

I’d like to pass this on to the following writers who blog/bloggers who write:

1. Buffy Holt. Buffy is an Appalachian blogging from the UK. I actually avoid visiting her too much, because her writing is so amazing that it sometimes triggers me.

2. Humorist and columnist, Leeuna Foster, who has followed my tortuous path from refusing to submit my work to finally submitting to the submission process. She’s been a staunch cheerleader and is a damn fine humorist of the Southern school.

3. Erin at Poetic Overthrow/The Root Cellar. She’s my favorite poet/weaver. I’m sort of famous for my lack of interest in poetry, but her work has always blown me away.

4. Elisson at Blog d’Elisson. He could quit his day job.

5. V-Man at Velociworld. He hates these things. If you can wade through all of the mutant and Tuco weirdness and get to his “Senator” stories—WOW. The man writes with a buck knife. Cuts himself up a lot.

There are so many fine writers on my blogroll, but there’s a start.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Folks have been so nice and giving me all sorts of memes Awards! over the month of February while I've been deep in my moody writer's funk. So--I'm going to spend a few days to a week catching up on who's loving me now!

First up, I'd just like to acknowledge ThreeCollie over at Northview Diary, for being so kind as to plug the Short and Sweet Story Month. She posted on February 8th and helped let people know. And as all you guys know--people should go ahead and read them now, because you never know when I'm going to take them down to throw into edit status. ThreeCollie has a wonderful rural blog coming out of her New York State dairy farm. Lots of great cow and ag stuff.

Colleague Val Gryphyn over at her writing site honored me with a High-Five on February 15th.

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you’ve admired during the week, so who are YOUR High-Fives? Post them to your blog and then Share the love.

In no particular order:

1. Arse Poetica, sent me over to one of my new favorite places--Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle. When I first went there, he was so nice that he saved his dessert for me. Just now--he mailed me a Valentine! Okay, it's late, but it's the thought that counts.

2. DC Comictician on Star Trekiology is what happens when a fundamentalist religious sect springs up around the worship of DC Comics and the Star Trek franchise. The blog posts have eerie correlations to current events. If you haven't tasted Elvis Drinkmo's coolaid--go on over there and get yourself a big ole dixie cup.

3. If you love my stories--you'll adore The Moonlit Road.

Ghost stories haunt the moonlit backroads of the American South. Their roots in Southern culture and folklore are deep. Each month, The Moonlit Road brings you these ghost stories and other strange Southern folktales, told by the region's best storytellers.
4. Karen Road Chronicles. Jbeeky is one of the funniest mombloggers out there writing with humor about some very serious issues in her life. She's got an edge on her, no doubt, but she often has me in stitches--sometimes guiltily so. She has a good understanding of the nature of comedy--it has to be painful to be good.
"If I was anymore Zen I would kill all of you in a psychotic rage. Oh wait...."
5. Tara over at Hobo Stripper is one of the finest writers on the net. She also has one of the most interesting lives on the net. She lives in a van--much of the time in Alaska--and is an expert in herbs and wildcrafting. And she's a stripper, writing about stripping while living in a van with her dog Bro. I have no idea why NPR hasn't featured her or why she hasn't got a big fat book contract. I find her life fascinating and I think a whole lot of other folks do too.

Meme Award! Disclaimer Some people hate these and some people love them. It's always an honor to be remembered by folks and we all appreciate it--and our Technorati rating goes up when we meme Award! people. But--I do not require anyone to participate in these. You are totally free just to lay back and accept the meme Award! love. Usually, I do a huge link cloud, but since I have so many of these to knock out this week, I'm going to follow the rules as best I can on these. If you have been thinking of tagging me with something--this is a good week to do it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

'Cause it's purty. And I lourves it.

Happy Sunday

Saturday, March 01, 2008


It's been a really good year for the gourds. My gourd patch produced a bunch of really nice gourds with barely any spoilage. I'm not sure if it was the dry weather, or what. But it has been a really good year and I'm pleased with what I've brought onto the porch to keep out of the weather.

I remembered that some of you really some of the gourd art I had done in the past. The one on the left, I did for an artist in South Carolina. I like best working with gourds I've grown myself because I like the irregularities the mold causes. Most people who grow gourds dip them in bleach to retard that.

I brought a few gourds inside to strip and do some tests with and I'm really pleased. I cut this little test bowl from one of the smaller ones. The walls are over a quarter inch thick and there's no warp at all on the bowl's edge. I'm playing with some dyes and paints to see what I want to do with them. I'll probably do bowls with the smaller ones. The insides are really nice and silvery/velvety. Gourds make a sort of shiny paper inside. Sometimes they smell really bad, but these smell really nice.