october 1, 2015

posted in: photography | 0

“You will begin to heal when you let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you, and learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes.” ~ Unknown

 

ancient creek (snapseed)
ancient creek (snapseed)

 

Long before his recent book was published, Gurney Norman recorded the story of Ancient Creek through Appalshop’s June Apple Records. He brought the cover of that LP for me to see today. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera or phone, so I missed photographing the original artwork that was designed by Gurney. It was beautiful. Based on a mandala, the center was consumed with a dogwood blossom. The story of the dogwood blossom is generations old. It’s said to represent Christ’s cross, each end tipped with blood, the center a thorny crown. The moral of that story is closely connected to that of Ancient Creek; the struggle between big money enterprise and the common man; King Coal and the Mountaineer; new ways destroying the old ways. One of the things I appreciate about Gurney is his unending passion to keep the old stories alive; to keep the Appalachian culture vivid in life and print. He is a rare soul, a true champion of Eastern Kentucky. How did I get so lucky to be his friend?

 

dogwood bloom (snapseed)
dogwood bloom (snapseed)

december 9, 2014

posted in: photography | 2

“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

writers
writers

 

This is as fine a group of writers as I’ve ever had the privilege of sharing space with. Each is unique with their own voice, their own sense of style, and courage. They are, left to right, Gurney Norman, Megan Henson, Amy Copelin, Sarah Abbott, Jordyn Rhorer, Sean Madden, Sean Corbin, Ben Honea, John Duncan, Robin Rahija, and Joy Bowman. These folks gave me a multitude of gifts over the semester, among them the gift to step outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t always easy for me, and I got more than I bargained for, but I mean that in a good way.  I’m the only one who isn’t enrolled in the MFA program, so I was feeling unworthy most of the semester. Yet, several of my classmates encouraged me to change that tonight, even seemed disappointed that I’m not taking another course next semester. I was genuinely touched, and speechless. It was a complement of the highest order.

 

storyteller
storyteller

 

But wait, there’s more! In 2012, Gurney published a compelling book called Ancient Creek. It was a long time coming. The book includes three essays written in response to the story. Gurney very graciously gave each of us a signed copy tonight. He talked at length about how it came into being. Though it was penned in 1975, and originally made available on June Appal Records, I found the story even more relevant today (I read it when it came out in 2012, so I already know the story) what with mountaintop removal and the other environmental and socio-economic changes we’ve endured. This really was a special class full of great writers lead by a wonderful, wonderful mentor. I’m so glad they let me hang out with them.

 

gifts
gifts