Discounted preorder for Gary Carden’s memoir now available

Legendary Western North Carolina storyteller Gary Carden is at it again, this time, with a new memoir due out from UNC press later this year. 

2023 A Look Back: Keeper of the Flame award

This little award may not mean all that much to him — after all, he’s one of Southern Appalachia’s most revered literary figures and has won a number of far more significant awards for his books and plays, including the Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers Association in 2001, the Brown Hudson Award for Folklore in 2006 and the North Carolina Arts Council Award for Literature in 2012 — but we’re going to give it to him anyway because we’ve all been big fans of his work for a long time. 

Film to highlight the ‘grit and wit’ of Gary Carden

A film about one of Western North Carolina’s most revered literary figures will make its world premiere in a free event at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Jackson County library in Sylva. 

The Hoyle house still lives in my memories

Shortly after I went to work for the Eastern Band of Cherokees back in the 1980s, my wife got employment at the Sylva Herald and so we did the logical thing. We decided to build a house. Since my grandfather had adopted me as his son, I received a beautiful piece of land in the old pasture, so we got a local builder to build a modest house with celestory windows in the roof and a wrap-around deck. It had two stories with one bedroom on the second floor and another on the first. I loved it from the start and some of my most pleasant memories are of lying on the floor on Sunday night and listening to my favorite program, “Hearts of Space.” I could see the night sky through those celestory windows as I listened to Vangelis or Hank Snow. 

What this old house remembers

I live in an old farmhouse that is literally falling apart. Each spring, clouds of termites rise in the bathroom and the bedroom, coating the windows and covering the kitchen stove and the mirrors in the bathroom with tiny wings — wings that clog my vacuum cleaner for weeks.

Pleased to be here: Gary Carden Returns to The Liar’s Bench

When the snakes around here want to go somewhere they put their tails in their mouths and contort themselves into the shape of a bicycle tube and roll like a wheel until to stop they straighten out tail-first and stick themselves in a tree which then swells with venom and a man cut one down once and had lumber enough not only for his house but also a barn and a chicken coop however his wife wanted him to paint it all red and the turpentine in the paint drew out the venom from the wood and caused the lumber to shrink back to regular size and he managed to get the cows out of the barn but the chickens did not survive.

Humor, mystery and a wonderful menagerie of characters

Although migrations have become a significant and controversial aspect of our current history, there is another annual migration that has been with us for centuries. That is the annual arrival of visitors to Appalachia that has become an honored tradition. It is customary for retired and/or wealthy families to make the annual trek to the Southern Highlands. The “summer home” visitors have reshaped the Appalachian economy and a large percentage of the native work force is now engaged in building, repairing and maintaining the homes of the summer folk. In fact, many of the men and women who once farmed this land are now the employees of the summer residents: wives become cooks and housekeepers and the men develop carpentry skills. They build sun decks, kilns and fireplaces and with luck, they become “almost” a part of the summer family.

The tears of these poor men: Victims of Cowee Tunnel disaster deserve recognition

In a region as rich in local lore as this, it may seem like every story’s been told to death, including that of the infamous Cowee Tunnel disaster. 

North Carolina, though, is also home to the old-world tradition of telling stories through song and has an ample supply of musicians like Balsam Range frontman Buddy Melton and his buddies, Haywood native Milan Miller and Piedmont bassist Mark W. Winchester, who on their 2010 album Songs From Jackson County relate the incident about as well as anyone else ever could.

Frazier’s latest novel is a marvelous read

... never acknowledging that the general culture is often stupid or evil and would vote out God in favor of the devil if he fed them back their hate and fear in a way that made them feel righteous.

 — Varina, page 329

Back in the eighteenth century, England developed a popular form of novel called “picaresque.” Essentially, this name was applied to a novel in which the hero or heroine travels to exotic places where they have exciting adventures. The characters were frequently a bit disreputable but survived in spite of the odds against them. Moll Flanders and Tom Jones were popular examples.  

Book examines ‘meanness’ in Christianity

The author of this book is a speech language psychologist and university educator. Now in his sixties, Billy has extensive experience in assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities.  In addition, Ogletree is a Christian writer with an extensive career which includes more than 70 professional articles, chapters and books which speak directly to his primary interest: “the challenging, but cathartic possibilities associated with following Jesus.”

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