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You Can’t Take The Hills Out Of The Girl

The life of an author can be lonely and frustrating but occasionally something comes along to add a little excitement to the day. Today is that day.

This summer my nephew, Kenny Harrah, sent me an email about a Writer Residency program for the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, WV. He said Fayetteville was a cool and happening place to be and thought I might be interested. He said he sent it on a lark and on that same lark I decided to enter the competition.

Today I got word I am a finalist and they are coming to Columbus to interview me this weekend. It will be an opportunity to be a voice for the people and the state. The New River Gorge is known not only for its majestic mountains and white-water rafting but also for the area’s artists and craftsmen. If fortunate enough to be selected as the winner, I look forward to returning to my native state and spending an extended amount of time among the mountains. I also relish the opportunity to be with fellow artists and to promote their work. But, more than that, I look forward to being with the good people of West Virginia.

You might say West Virginians never knew a stranger. They are open, warm, and welcoming and will do anything for you. The famous movie star, Will Ferrell, experienced some of the state’s hospitality this summer when his rented car broke down. He was pulled to the side of the road when two men stopped to help. One had a brother who owned a tow truck and while Ferrell’s car was towed to the shop and being repaired they took him to lunch where he had a friend bologna sandwich. Ferrell said this would never have happened in LA.

I love this story for a couple of reasons. First it shows the genuine helpfulness of the people and, secondly, where else would you be treated to a fried bologna sandwich? I think that should be the official sandwich of the state. My father used to eat them all the time. Ferrell said the people had no idea who he was, they were just out to help a stranger.

I want to thank several people who enabled me to get to this point and first is my publisher Rick Lakin of iCrew Publishing. It is hard to believe I have known Rick for five years and during that time he has been my web designer, agent, publisher, and friend. Without his belief in me, and occasional prodding, none of this would be possible. Ironically, Rick and I took a trip this summer through this very area retracing the steps of his great grandfather during the Civil War. Letters to Sallie: the Civil War Letters of A.C. McClure, is my next book and if I am named the Writer in Residence it will enable me to delve into more research on the book. Rick and my neighbor Martha Smith both wrote letters of recommendation for me so I also want to thank Martha for her encouragements. It feels a little like home with two West Virginians next door to each other in the big city of Columbus, Ohio. We also have our friendly rivalries on football Saturdays in the fall.

I also need to thank my family, friends, neighbors and all those who have followed my blog and bought my book, Peach Cobbler for Breakfast—surviving a life-altering event.

So, to all those reading this, please send positive vibes my way. I would love the opportunity for a new adventure. I am now at a place in my life where I have no responsibilities—no husband, no kids, no pets—and would like to make up for lost time where life got in the way. It would be “Almost Heaven” to return to my native state and work among those beautiful West Virginia hills.

As they say—you can take the girl out of the hills but you can’t take the hills out of the girl.

 

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