Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology is a little slice of Ashe County set to be published Oct. 16.
Mountain Memoirs is a collection of stories from 20 different authors who delve into their personal experiences and feelings toward Ashe County.
This project has been in the works for quite some time. Since late fall of last year, the editors had been compiling different contributions in order to create this book.
Julie Townsend and Scot Pope, both contributors and editors of Mountain Memories, mentioned the diversity of the writing. Each author has their own distinct voice, even though they all wrote about the same location.
“For me, each of these writings is as different as the contributors themselves,” said Pope.
Pope also said “their backgrounds and their experiences with Ashe County take you to a very personal place, unique to that particular contributor’s relationship with Ashe County.”
Most of this book’s contributors are known only locally. Fellow writer/editor Christine Arvidson said readers will get a slice of history from writers like Sam Shumate and Edith Jones. It will also provide a contemporary look at what Ashe County is all about.
North Carolina native Janet Pittard (who is a former contributor to Our State magazine) provided a piece for this book titled “The Wildflower Expeditions.” After reading it, Townsend said, “The standard for the book has just been set.”
There are a few authors involved with Mountain Memoirs who are known on a national stage. The book has fiction from Lee Smith, an essay from NC Bookwatch host D.G. Martin, and poetry and painting from Clyde Edgerton.
Arvidson said that “readers can look forward to an evocative and beautiful portrait of Ashe County to hold in their hands.”
“There’s poetry, essays, fiction, all about each writer’s special or particular relationship with Ashe County,” Arvidson said. “It will make a great Christmas gift for people to give to friends and family; it’s like giving a piece of Ashe County to someone!”
Here is a portion of the poem “Aunt Viney” by Mickeal Goss:
There was a time, oh… not so long ago
A time before the streetlights came
When night was night in the county
And my great aunts
With their snuff tins and grim smiles
Sat before the fireplace on a faded sofa
And talked of ghostly things
When asked about completing the book, Townsend said, “It has been a labor of love, and it wouldn’t have happened without Chris Arvidson’s direction and Scot Pope’s vision.”
Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology is now available directly from the publisher, Main Street Rag, through the website, www.mountain-memoirs.com/index.htm.
The book is to be released on Oct. 16; however, it has an advanced order discount price of $8, which will last until Oct. 2. After that date, the price will be $13.95 per copy.
There will also be opportunities for book signings at the Annual Literary Festival on Sept. 13, the Festival of the Frescoes on Oct. 13, and at the New River Winery at 4 p.m. on Oct. 27.
Contributors not mentioned include Gene Hafer, Diana Renfro, Fran Cook, Pierette Stukes, Becky Stragand, Rebecca Gummere, Barbara Kidd Lawing, Kimberly Perzel, Nicole Osborne, and Ron Joyner.