Clear The Cobwebs

BicycleBikeTrailBlackberryBlooms

On The Lake Fayetteville Trail. Blackberry in full bloom.

Into rewrite of Chapter 26 of my wip titled “The Corpsemakers” since very early morning. Hit an idea block on one of the sub-plots and a pesky antagonist acting out of character, dialogue stilted, not convincing. Hard to believe characters won’t play nice with your well-plotted scenario, huh? What’s a writer to do? Answer:  Keep working on it!

By nine thirty, I was ready for a break.

Clear blue skies, no rain, no wind. A big change from the rains experienced recently. Time for a another bike run around Fayetteville to clear the cobwebs and get the ideas flowing. Hit Fayetteville’s wonderful bike trails, headed out around Lake Fayetteville and parts beyond.

Back home now after logging just over 18 miles and feeling refreshed.

Enjoying a quick meal of fish, cucumbers, and tomatoes before jumping back into writing.

Now, where did I leave that pesky, uncooperative character?

 

Too Funny

How big of a water leak is it when the plumbing and repair people show up with two canoes? Must be a whopper!

Saw this vehicle and trailer on my way home today. It’s a plumbing and repair van pulling a trailer carrying two canoes. I hope this guy is just heading to the lake to enjoy a beautiful spring day rather than responding to a water leak. Either way, it just struck me as humorous.

Davis Plumbing and Repairs with canoes

Writer’s Block? No Problem. Peddle It Away

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have several ways to overcome that pesky nemesis called writer’s block but my favorite is taking my bicycle out on the trails enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Riding invigorates both mind and body. I always return to writing after a long ride feeling refreshed and creative. (Thank you endorphins!)

Today I made a short ride of it covering a mere 12.75 miles, including a stop by Fayetteville’s beautiful Botanical Gardens to enjoy the scenery.

Now, back to writing.

Thank You!

Me and Fayetteville's Mayor Lioneld Jordan

Me (left) and Fayetteville’s Mayor Lioneld  Jordan 

Wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to all the great people who attended the book sales and signing at Nightbird Books yesterday. Had a wonderful turnout of authors and book lovers and enjoyed visiting with all of you.

Even the Mayor of Fayetteville, Mr. Lioneld Jordan, dropped by and purchased a signed copy of my short story book. We swapped stories of growing up in Arkansas and shooting marbles, a subject covered in one of the book’s short stories called ‘The Marble King.’ “Thank you, Mr. Mayor.”

A special note of acknowledgement and appreciation to Lisa at Nightbird Books for allowing local authors the opportunity to display their work. “Thank you, Lisa.”

Author Event This Saturday

nightbirdbookslogo

I will be attending the latest Local Author Event Day this Saturday, December 5th, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Nightbird Books store, 205 West Dickson Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet local authors, purchase great signed edition books for gifts, and support our local small businesses.

From Nightbird Books:

We are inviting our local authors into the store on December 5th to give you a chance to meet writers in our community and pick up some great autographed holiday gifts. Because of smaller space, we will have two shifts. The first is from 10:30 to 1:00 and the second from 1:30 to 4:00. This is always a fun event so I hope you can join us.

Participants include:

Sybil Rosen, John Walsh, Tom McKinnon, Susan Holmes, Jack Cotner, Carolyn Guinzio, Vance Clement, and Edmund Harriss from 10:30 to 1:00

and Denele Campbell, Radine Trees Nehring, JB Hogan, Paul Williams, Alexander Margulis, and Martin Jardon from 1:30 to 4:00

 

I hope to see you there!

Winter Holiday Lights Are Going Up

FayettevilleSquareHolidayLights

The square in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas has been cleared of the summer Farmers’ Market and is once again making ready for the annual Lights of the Ozarks, a virtual festival of lights and winter celebrations. It is one of the area’s most popular and colorful holiday events and one I always enjoy attending.

Here’s more on the event from our local online newspaper Fayetteville Flyer:

 

Lights of the Ozarks, the annual holiday light display on the Fayetteville square, kicks off with a parade and lighting ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.

Fayetteville Parks and Recreation crews spend over 3,000 hours decorating the Downtown Square each year with nearly a half-million LED lights for the annual Lights of the Ozarks display.

The event will include holiday-themed floats created by area clubs, organizations, and local businesses. The parade will start at the Fayetteville Public Library and make its way up Mountain Street and around the square, and then down Block Avenue and Dickson Street before circling back to the library along West Avenue.

In addition to the over 400,000 LED lights in the display, Lights of the Ozarks also includes nightly carriage rides, camel and pony rides, hot chocolate and coffee vendors, and other activities. The display will remain lit nightly through Dec. 31.

 

 

Book Review: Gone to the Grave

GoneToTheGraveAbbyBurnett

The leaves cross over our graveyards

When the cold wind blows and raves

They whirl and scatter on the frozen ground

Then settle on the sunken graves

They put me to mind of the children of the earth

The mournful condition of us all

We are fresh and green in the spring of the year

And are blown in the grave in the fall.

–Florence Elizabeth Rutherford, 1873-1889

Rutherford Cemetery, Independence County, Arkansas

*

Abby Burnett’s Gone to the Grave: Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950 is an interesting, intriguing read exploring the traditions surrounding death, local customs and rituals concerning bereavement, and the burial practices in the Arkansas Ozarks. It is excellent in its research, narrative, and visual presentation. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in such subject matter.

I had the pleasure to meet author Abby Burnett, a former freelance newspaper reporter, at the Books In Bloom event in Eureka Springs, Arkansas May 2015 and again this past week during her presentation at the Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Library. Her speaking and presentation abilities are every bit as impressive as her knowledge and expertise on Arkansas burial history and customs.

*

 “This painstakingly researched and thoroughly engaging book is as much an anthropological and sociological study as it is a historical and folklorist account of death, dying, and burial in the Arkansas Ozarks…there is virtually no source of information that Burnett hasn’t explored—epitaphs, business ledgers, funeral home records, obituaries, WPA questionnaires, health department regulations, oral history interviews, ministers’ journals, censuses, mortality schedules, doctors’ notes, undertakers’ record books, historical photographs, museum collections, and newspaper accounts…”

–Allyn Lord, Director, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, Arkansas

*

I hear a voice you cannot hear

Which says I must not stay,

I see a hand you cannot see

Which beckons me away.

–S. N. Lyle, 1875-1932

Lowes Creek Cemetery, Franklin County, Arkansas

Farmers’ Market

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Weather is cooling, leaves are turning brilliant colors, and Halloween (my daughter’s birthday!) all make it an enjoyable season for me. The downside? It marks the end of the Fayetteville, Arkansas Farmers’ Market held outdoors on the square in downtown Fayetteville. Thought I would take a break from writing and post some pictures.

FayettevilleFarmersMarketVendorStands

Fresh, locally grown herbs, flowers, and vegetables

FayettevilleFarmersMarketOnTheSquare

Looking East from the Fayetteville Bank

FayettevilleFarmersMarketFromOldPostOffice

Taken from the old Post Office Building grounds

fayetteville_farmers_market_ach_001

Sidewalk at the old Post Office

Farmers_Market_Fayetteville_west side

West side of the square looking north

fayetteville_farmers_market_streetmusicians

Street musicians on every corner!

fayettevillesold-post-office

Fayetteville’s old post office on the square

flowers-at-the-fayetteville-farmers-market

One of the many flower vendors

Looking forward to next year’s market!

Folklore In Fiction

Here’s a re-blog of fellow Arkansas writer, Susan A. Holmes, on ‘Folklore In Fiction’ with an excerpt from her book Deadly Ties. She will be speaking at the Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Library, October 11th from 2 – 4 p.m. Event will include her presentation, questions and answers, meet and greet, and books sales and signings.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit with the author. More information on the presentation can be found here.

And now, the re-blog:

Folklore in Fiction

yoachum-dollar-sprinkle-coins

The Yokum Dollar

I’m an “up close and personal” kind of researcher. So when I’m working on my regional series, that means I’m often out in the hills, meeting people and listening to the stories that have been handed down, one generation to the next, keeping the old legends alive. The story of the Yokum Dollar is one of those legends that I heard on multiple occasions, with each storyteller claiming some connection with the families involved. I stayed true to the heart of the tale when writing the legend into my own book, while fictionalizing elements as needed to suit the plot. Here’s the excerpt from Deadly Ties:

*

….Maggie wandered among the exhibits, watching craftsmen make brooms and baskets, tapping her foot to the dulcimer music, and listening to the storytellers who had drawn a sizable crowd in the shade of tall oaks. She stopped to listen to a woman dressed in a style Maggie imagined was common among frontier women long ago. Sturdy boots peeked out from beneath the hem of her skirt, and the simple cotton blouse she wore looked homespun. Her steel gray hair was tucked beneath a bonnet.

“This here story has been handed down through my family ever since 1826,” the woman told the audience. “That’s about the time the first Yokum—that’d be Jamie Lee Yokum—settled along the big river herabouts. My family farmed the land down-river from the Yokum place, which is how I come to know this tale.”

“This land belonged to the Chickasaw tribe, and they were good neighbors, always sharing what they had. They were good traders, too, and pretty near famous for their beautiful silver jewelry. They always had plenty of silver but nobody knew—’cept the Indians, of course—where it all came from. Some said it was from a silver mine, and some claimed it was Spanish silver, but nobody knew for sure.

“When the government decided they wanted the Indians’ land, the Yokums traded some of their wagons and supplies in exchange for information about the source of that silver. As the story goes, the Indians shared their secret with Jamie Lee. They told him where he might find some of that silver, and he told his brothers. Times being what they was, and money being about as hard to come by as an honest politician, the Yokums decided to use that silver and make their own coin. They minted their own dollars with that there silver. For years, people all over the Ozarks used the Yokum dollars as legal tender.”

The storyteller looked across the crowd. “Well, you can probably guess what happened next. The federal government didn’t take too kindly to somebody else making money. They didn’t like the competition, my granddaddy said.” There were chuckles and murmurs of agreement from some in the crowd.

“The federal agents confiscated all the Yokum dollars they could get their hands on. What they really wanted was the source of that silver, but Jamie Lee wouldn’t tell ‘em where to find it. After a while, the agents gave up and went back to Washington.”

The storyteller paused for a sip of lemonade. “It wasn’t long after that when Jamie Lee Yokum passed away. His two brothers died soon after, crossing the Rockies on their way out to California. Those men were the only ones who knew the Indians’ secret and they took that secret to their graves, but they did leave some clues in letters they’d written to their cousins. Over the years, a lot of people have searched high and low for that silver, but nobody’s ever found it. But who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one to learn the truth about the Indian Silver Legend.”

Deadly Ties © 2013

 *

To this day, people continue to search for the famed silver, with many a treasure hunter convinced a mine or cave does indeed exist somewhere in the hills. Some believe the answer lies near or under Beaver Lake in Arkansas while others argue the location is Table Rock Lake in Missouri. And so the legend lives on…