Night of the Spoken Word will be presented at the Ashe Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 24.
Writers will be sharing their favorite selections of original poetry and prose with the audience. The subject of the readings will be everything from exploring human relationships to the glory of nature.
Night of the Spoken Word will feature: Chris Arvidson, Melissa Caudill, Naomi Faw, Mickeal Goss, Ron Joyner, Alyce Nadeau, Janet Pittard, Scot Pope, Diana Renfro, Barbara Sears and Becky Stragand.
Inspired by Night of the Spoken Word, Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope and Julie Townsend created Wordkeepers in 2009, a forum for area writers to read their work. In 2012 they edited the popular anthology “Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology” and are working on a second anthology with McFarland Publishers centered around the New River.
Arvidson earned a MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in Baltimore. Among other things, she is working on her first novel.
Melissa Halsey Caudill is a real estate paralegal by profession, but enjoys writing as a hobby. She was recently published for the first time with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and has a second Chicken Soup story coming out this summer.
She is also the creator of a blog entitled “Missy’sPublicJunk” which can be found at http://www.missyspublicjunk.wordpress.com./ When she’s not writing, Caudill also enjoys running and acting. She lives in Creston with her ever-supportive boyfriend Richard and their four combined children.
Caudill will be reading a short fiction story called “Naked Eyes.” It’s a fictitious look at a single day in one woman’s life where she can see everything differently than she ever had before.
Naomi Faw’s stories are short creative nonfiction essays about life in the South. The stories are sometimes humorous and sometimes poignant but never preachy.
Some of Faw’s storytelling venues include the 2013 Wilkes Heritage Museum Christmas Open House and Wilkes Community College’s 2013 Lecture Series. Faw’s short essays and poems have been published in various publications, such as Alive Now, The NC Disciple, All About Women, and Carolina Mountain Life.
Faw resides in Millers Creek with her daughter, Virginia, husband, Randall and spoiled shih tzu, Sassy Cecilia. She will be reading a essay entitled “Shirred Beaver or Fox, Anyone?”
Mickeal Goss, a former editor of the local newspaper is the current president of the Blue Ridge Writers group. He has been writing as long as he can remember. He will be reading some of his poetry and prose.
Ron Joyner grew up as a “military brat” and lived in many places across the world as a child, but has called North Carolina home since his father retired from military duty in 1969. Joyner graduated from North Carolina State University in 1980 with a BS degree in wildlife biology.
After graduation, he worked for many years at NCSU as a Research Technician in the Department of Botany studying the effects of air pollutants on plant ecosystems. Joyner and his wife, Suzanne, own and operate Big Horse Creek Farm, a small off-grid farm/orchard/nursery operation in Ashe County, specializing in the collection and propagation of heritage apple trees.
Joyner will be reading his essay titled “One for One”, a “semi-fictionalized” account of a true event of Nature observed many years ago.
A North Carolina native now living in Raleigh and West Jefferson, Janet Pittard began a second career as a freelance writer after her retirement from state government. In 2013, Pittard and local artist Stephen Shoemaker collaborated on the book, “Stephen Shoemaker, The Paintings and Their Stories.”
Pittard will take us back to her childhood with a humorous story about the family’s pet hawk, Henry.
Scot Pope has pursued a simpler life in the Creston community of Ashe County since moving from Charlotte in 1992. A photographer and musician, as well as a writer, Pope is a founding member of the Wordkeepers salon, along with writers Julie Townsend and Chris Arvidson.
He was a contributing writer and co-editor of the Ashe County Anthology, “Mountain Memoirs” published in the fall of 2012. He is currently involved with several local and regional writers in a second anthology (On the New River), scheduled for publication in the spring of 2015.
Award-winning writer and poet, Diana Renfro, received a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council to work as Writer-in-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in California. There, she completed “Spanish Doors,” her first novel.
Now, Renfro lives on a farm in Grassy Creek, where she is nurtured by gardens, animals and the wide-open sky. She will be reading her poetry.
A retired Spanish teacher, Barbara Sears finally had time to foster her interest in creative writing when she and her husband moved to the High Country. A creative writing course at Caldwell Community College jump started the process for her.
Sears mainly writes poetry, but dabbles occasionally in prose. She is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers group and has read occasionally at Wordkeepers Salon. She will be reading original works of poetry.
Becky Stragand grew up in Indiana and is now retired, having been a teacher most of her adult life, teaching children from 3rd grade through college.
Her oldest student was 99. As a writer, Becky is a former Sunday columnist with the Morganton News Herald and had an essay included in “Mountain Memoirs, Anthology of Ashe.”
She participates in Wordkeepers and the Ashe Arts Council’s “Night of the Spoken Word” and writes non-fiction pieces, poetry and short stories and is working on her first novel. Stragand lives in Ashe County with her husband, golden retriever and cats
Her piece is tentatively titled “Yard Wars” and is about a bit of friendly competition in the area of landscaping.
Come, relax and listen at the “Night of the Spoken Word” to be encouraged, inspired and entertained. Refreshments will be available and admission is free.
For more information, please call the Arts Council at 336-846-2787.