Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two More Appearances

I've already mentioned in a earlier post, that in the next couple of weeks, some of my writer buddies and I will make two more appearances—both at libraries. I figured I ought to give you a few more details.

On Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m., to celebrate National Poetry Month, author Jim Minick will read from his work at the Westlake branch of the Franklin County Library. His latest books are Burning Heaven and Her Secret Song. A few Lake Writers—Franz Beisser, Rodney Franklin, Bruce Rae, Jean Brobeck and I—will each read a poem or two to warm up the crowd for Jim.

A couple of years ago, I reviewed Jim's collection of essays, Finding a Clear Path, for Blue Ridge Traditions. Here's the review:

Finding a Clear Path, by Jim Minick
Reviewed by Becky Mushko

Finding a Clear Path (West Virginia Press, 2005, 277 pp., ISBN 0-937058-97-1) is a collection of essays by Radford University teacher Jim Minick. Most were written when the author and his wife lived on a farm in Floyd County. Each essay is short—the better to savor it—and all are a delight.

“Walks frame my day,” Minick begins his first essay. Soon the reader walks with Minick as he tells of his boyhood in Pennsylvania, blueberry farming in Floyd County, the joys of changing seasons, and the natural world that surrounds and inspires him.

The Blue Ridge Mountains offer a plethora of flora and fauna; Minick closely observes them. In his essay, “Naming What You Love,” he writes: “I keep a list of birds, an annual spring tally of what lives with us on this farm; what passes over, like the killdeer; or what stays and nests, like the wood ducks. . . . [S]oon I hope to add a list of all the flowers and trees on our farm. Next might be the insects, starting with the butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. The more I learn, the more I want to learn.”

From birds to beaver, from mushrooms to ginseng, from paw-paws to wine-berries, Minick shares what he has learned as both resident and lover of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its bounty. His command of language is admirable and rich with imagery. The opening paragraph to “Monarchs: Flying Poetry” reads like poetry: “Late summer and thistle thick. My wife and I hike through woods up a steep hill, the heat penetrating like the locusts’ song. At the top, the oaks and maples break into a bald, a hole to the sky, deep pink of thistle bloom, and the orange fire of monarchs—hundreds of monarchs. They’ve come to this abandoned pasture to dine on thistle nectar.”

The last essays in Finding a Clear Path are about ways to preserve the Appalachians, so future generations will be able to enjoy what the author has seen. In his book’s appendix, Minick offers an extensive list of publications and resources for readers who want to learn more and do more.

If you love nature and the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll love this book. If you’ve wandered far from the natural world, Finding a Clear Path can get you back on track.

The second appearance, on May 11 at the Roanoke Public Library, involves four of us who are members of the Virginia Writers Club: Jim Morrison, Rodney Franklin, Sally Roseveare, and I. Here's the poster:

Both events are free and open to the public.



Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I'd like to know why he only talks about attractive bugs like dragonflies, butterflies and moths? Very romantic. But how about the real story? How about the stink bugs, ticks and ladybugs that INFEST everything?

10:56 PM  

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