Monday, October 1, 2012

UPike, Shelby Lee, Still: The Journal, Jeff Kerr and Photographer Heather McCoy

Some news to share, and a guy happy to share it right here.

In the past month, I've worked steadily but with that nagging stitch in my creative section of brain that maybe things were slowing down - the story ideas, the grasp on the current novel, my talent (whatever there is of it) slipping into some corner both dark and cold and anything but inviting for someone searching.

But a reading and lecture I gave at the University of Pikeville Saturday and some good news earlier in the week and again this morning has provided the caplight needed to make my way out.

I was invited to be the Visiting Writer at UPike this past month and had a great time, had a chance to meet some great people and several writers who are coming up and working hard to hone their craft.  Left with an invite to visit English classes next semester to give lectures and walked away having turned some friends into strangers.  Can't ask for more than that.  Connecting is what it's all about.

Before this event, I got word from good friend and master photographer Shelby Lee Adams that he had spread the word about my new collection, The Same Terrible Storm.  I without doubt could not be more thankful to Shelby, a man who is more down to earth than anyone you'll meet and so stocked up with talent it'll take generations of those studying him to get close to being able to reflect what his work truly means to so many people.

A recently found friend, Jeff Kerr, writer and singer and native Eastern Kentuckian, has some material out I had been eyeballing closely - namely a collection of stories called Hillbilly Rich and a CD of spoken word and musical offerings called Jeff Kerr & The Hard Ballad Medicine Show.  My eyeballing ended Saturday when both arrived like found treasure in my mailbox.  Thanks to you, Jeff, for a generosity found only in those who truly want to share a story.  Visiting the mailbox that morning and starting in on Jeff's stories was like sitting outside Damron's gas station and hearing a local tell a story from a lawn chair five feet from the gas tanks I could only hope to tell as well on the written page.  I've already devoured most of the the book and CD and look forward to talking more about them both here at Bent Country soon.

Lastly - and this is two-fold - I received word from the good folks at Still: The Journal (those being, in particular, Silas House, Marianne Worthington and Jason Howard) that my short story "Lost Ball in High Weeds had faired well in the Still Contest had was published today in that fine journal.  Those interested in reading the story, and the rest of the issue (please), can find it here.  Included in the wonderful news that came way of the Compton household this morning was that my great love, Heather McCoy, has attracted due attention for her photography.  I'll keep the details under my hat for now, but needless to say of all the news that has come down the pipeline in the past few days, this one pleased me most of all.  Please take time and visit her website, Heather's Photography Ky.  Please take a worthwhile moment to have a look at the below photographs:

I'll finish by saying how grateful we are to live in a time when there is still room for those of us who work each day to add to the canon of work (in whatever small way) that has encouraged humankind to remain here and able to marvel at the world around us and reflect back to others the beauty it has given us for no other reason than the simple notion to share a good and fine thing as we happen to be lucky enough to come across it while passing through.

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