History seems to be a running theme with me lately. Mostly the mid to late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s. This Saturday I went to Jonesborough, Tennessee. It is the state’s oldest town and the storytelling capital of the world. Every year, during the first week in October, Jonesborough hosts the National Storytelling Festival. I have never been but I have heard that it really is something special.
We took the walking tour of Historic Jonesborough and learned a lot. Jonesborough was the birthplace of one of Roosevelt’s rough riders, and at least three U.S. presidents stayed there for awhile. In the 1800’s it was the last post of civilization west.
The old Inn still stands, where men were packed as many to a room as would fit. That means in the bed and in the floor. You didn’t get a room to yourself or even a bed. We were able to look around upstairs at a few of the rooms that had been restored to the Victorian era. I knew about the Victorian fondness for wallpaper but it is different seeing it up close; with the bright blue patterns on the wall and the pink circle patterns on the ceiling.
Jonesborough is a place of interesting shops like Paul’s Pens Odds & Ends where I bought a new writing implement. I can’t call it just a pen because the cartridge is removable and has pencil lead which can take its place. Each item in the shop is crafted with awe inspiring talent. I loved the dragon pens and the ones made from 30,000 year old wood.
Jonesborough was a interesting trip through time. However, on Sunday I took another trip which was just as interesting. The kids and I drove over to Red Clay State Park which was the last seat of the Cherokee national government before the Trail of Tears. This weekend for the first time in 176 years, three of the recognized tribes met at the ancestral council grounds.
My children got a chance to see a piece of the past. Like many in the area, we are descended from Cherokee. The Irish and the German in our bloodline hides the native blood behind blue eyes and light hair, but it is still there.
My son really enjoyed it. He got to hear how the water spider brought fire to the Cherokee people and how the Eagle carries prayers to the creator. He got to touch soap stone and see how it is carved. He got to see baskets being woven. We had a fun weekend and we all came away with a bit more knowledge.
Good Morning. Yes of course this is morning. I just woke up and I work all night tonight so this has to be morning. My morning anyway.
I spent an amazing weekend at LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN. I learned a lot, made some new friends, and got to hug the ones I only see in person once a year. I came home with so many Con stories that my daughter is insisting on going next year. (She went last year but decided not to attend this year and regretted it.)
I wish I was coherent enough to do this blog post justice but such is the way of conlag. I slept close to 13 hours. That has either helped or hurt. I can’t really tell and I haven’t caffeinated yet. I do know that my brain doesn’t feel so overstuffed now. I think all of the things I learned have settled into my brain like silt in a once disturbed river bottom. It is all still there but it isn’t clouding the view.
Expect more posts than you really want to see from me this week. I have to record all of this stuff somewhere and since most of it was really cool, that means I have this need to inflict it upon others. At my very first panel on Friday I learned probably a dozen things I am doing wrong with my writing and a half dozen that I am doing right. That is valuable information.
The sources we have for information today are astounding. No longer are we limited to newspapers to find out what is going on in the world. The local evening news covers stories that take place in more countries than the average person knew existed ten years ago.
Newspapers, Magazines, books, Radio, Television,Facebook,Twitter, Blogs, Websites,Email…the list just keeps going. The world constantly surrounds us even as we sit in silence at home on our own couch. Heck, most of the things I mentioned can be accessed by people on their phones. (Long distance doesn’t really exist anymore.)
Today I checked my email and learned: my boss is taking her son to the doctor before she goes to work; there is a new place scamming writers and using false quotes from notable authors; Chuck Wendig wants pants for Christmas; and Jim C. Hines is doing something hilarious for a good cause. (Raising money for a disease I didn’t know existed until now.) I could go on but the point is that I learned all of this in the space of probably ten minutes.
A quote from Spiderman has always stuck with me (as it was meant to). “With great power comes great responsibility.” They (whomever they are) say that knowledge is power. We have all this information at our fingertips daily and don’t really use it.
So I am going to pass some of this info forward. Here you go guys. *Here are a few of the things I learned today.
New books by Stephanie Osborn.
Writer Beware blog.
Jim C. Hines Pose off with John Scalzi.
According to Hoyt.
My name is not Bob.
*Just click on the highlighted words to follow the link.
I left the convention festivities early today to work on my book. I learned so much that I couldn’t wait to apply my newly gained knowledge. Several of the things I heard should solve most of the problems I’ve had with my writing. ( I think I could write a dozen posts just on the panels I went to.)
Two authors were particularly kind. (Especially since I basically cornered them and started asking questions.) Stephanie Osborn, www.stephanie-osborn.com , answered many questions about her writing process and gave me a boost of encouragement. I also happened to win an autographed poster picturing the cover of her new book. (It is now hanging on my wall.)
John Hartness, www.johnhartness.com , was also incredibly helpful regarding publishing and promotion.
I interrogated, I courteously asked him everything about self publishing and marketing that I could think of. He was an informative voice at two of the panels I attended as well.
Over all it was a good day. I am in need of a nap, but it was still a good day. I took a bunch of notes, which I will probably be sharing bits of for the next few days. However, one thing said at a panel by author/publisher Janet Morris sticks out in my mind at the moment. She was talking about how we only live for so long and only have so much time to accomplish the things we want to do. She said: “Our time is finite. Write the best book you can now.”