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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Margaret Maron introduces you as a writer

This is hard for me to tell.

Hard for me to write.  Which is usually a bit easier for me than telling.

And many of you will "get it."  Oh, yes.  

By now you've read my piece about the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame event we attended this past Sunday.

Can I tell you a personal highlight?

It was when Margaret Maron, friend and personal literary icon, introduced me to a friend of hers saying, "This is Kaye Barley.  Kaye's a friend of mine.  She's a writer."

I will always puff up like a banty rooster when Margaret refers to me as a friend.  I'm that proud.

But, do you have any idea how this might have felt to a person who is, frankly, unable to refer to herself as "a writer?"

To be introduced to someone.

By Margaret Maron.

As a writer.

Did I cry?  Almost.  (well,yes, okay, I did get a wee bit teary . . . ).  But I didn't burst into sobs.  I would have if Margaret and I had not been standing there, holding hands, while talking to her friend.  'Cause I would have run off to some private little place and boo-hooed.  Probably loudly.  And since I've never been able to cry "pretty," it would have been nasty.

And then?

Then, riding home I was browsing through Facebook and saw a picture that Bob Witchger had taken.

A picture of me with Sarah Shaber, Katy Munger, Brenda Witchger aka Brynn Bonner, and Diane Chamberlain.

Most of you will recognize these women - writers, all.

Excellent writers.

Known writers.

Brynn had posted it on her FB page and said this, "On this beautiful sunny day in North Carolina I was privileged to be with writer friends at Weymouth in Southern Pines to see our good friend, Margaret Maron, inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Lovely ceremony and a well-deserved honor."

And I started to cry a little.  (Again! for God's sake).

Donald looked over and said, "Miss Kaye?  (yes, he does sometimes really call me Miss Kaye), what's wrong?"

And I sobbed, "nothing."

This is when husbands have, I think, a hard time deciding whether to laugh, or roll their eyes, or pat you on the leg a little while muttering those little nothings meant to be soothing, or say, as Donald did, "Nothing.  Really?  Nothing.  Well, okay then."

Knowing full well that I would spit it out.

And, so I did.

And he listened.

And then he said, "I don't understand why you can't call yourself a writer.  This is the first I've heard of this.  I tell people you're a writer.  Why can't you tell them you're a writer?"

More tears.

"I don't know," I wailed.

And, of course, I do know.

Sorta.  Even though it sounds silly.  Especially in this day and time, I think.


It's very hard to admit.

But, I did.  Finally.  For the first time, maybe.

I told Donald that it comes from all the years of self-published writers being the red-headed step children of the writing community.

And we talked about this.

But then, bless his ever-lovin' sweet soul, he took the time to remind me that my "Whimsey" had gotten some awfully nice reviews.  Reviews from people who did not know me from Adam's house cat and did not know I don't (can't) call myself a writer.

And he took the time to remind me I've had a few juried pieces accepted in magazines and anthologies.  

And, reminded me about how excited I'd been when I heard about being a finalist at Southern Writers Magazine.

No.  Of course I had not forgotten these things.  Of course not, but still - it is nice to be reminded of them.


Suffice to say, it was an emotional day.

It was also a day of creative motivation for me.

I don't know, truthfully, that I will ever be able to refer to myself as a writer when someone says to me, "What do you do?"  The best I've been able to do, so far, is say, "I write a little."

But, today?


I wrote.

Monday, October 17, 2016

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame - 2016

Donald and Harley and I took a drive yesterday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 was the date of the 2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

We made a stop along the way at the Sly Fox Pub to join friends Diane Chamberlain, Sarah Shaber and Katy Munger for lunch.

I love to eat.

and lunch was delish!  

Wish I'd taken a picture of my Scrambled Egg Crab Benedict, but I gobbled it up as soon as it hit the table and wow - was it tasty yumm!

Sarah and Diane popped out to say hello to Harley before we moved on to Weymouth for the day's ceremony.

Harley is always happy to receive guests.

Guess who, it turns out, is allergic to Harley?!

From the Weymouth Facebook page: "Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1920 by James and Katharine Boyd. Surrounded by 21 acres and a beautiful garden. The property was the original home of the Moore County Hounds which was founded by James and Jackson Boyd in 1914, and continues today.

James Boyd was the author of novels of America's past, among them "Drums," "Marching On," and the "Long Hunt." In 1941 he bought the Southern Pines Pilot, built it into a strong weekly newspaper, and used much of its influence on behalf of the war effort in the NC Sandhills.

The purpose of the Friends of Weymouth is to promote, as a charity, the conservation and development of the James Boyd Place as a natural preserve and park. And, the spacious Boyd dwelling thereon and its curtilage, as a center for education,literary, social and civic research, study and similar activity for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations of the public."

and you can read a little more about Sunday's program here at The North Carolina Writers' Network webpage

This year's inductees were Clyde Edgerton, our friend Margaret Maron and Carl Sandburg.  

The program included a moving welcome from Weymouth's Talmadge Ragan.

J. Pender Zane was a perfect Master of Ceremonies.  He moved his audience smoothly from laughter to thoughtfulness.  His respect for the inductees could not have been more apparent.

The day was a glorious blue sky North Carolina day.

There's no where on earth I would have rather been than right there, feeling a quiet peace in a lovely setting, and enjoying celebrating the gifts of talented, creative, caring people.

Katy Munger, in a piece at her Piedmont Laureate website, summed up the feelings of all of us who were in attendance.  In part, she said, "Leaders from North Carolina's arts community were there, along with columnist J. Peder Zane, the inimitable Bland Simpson, and North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson, among others. 

The common theme? How the arts brings us together. And, truly, yesterday they did. Political differences were forgotten. Our diverse backgrounds and lives bound us rather than keeping us apart. We were all in it together, as North Carolinians. It was a good feeling, one I had missed."

Indeed.  It's a feeling I've missed also, but which was in abundance yesterday. 

We attended the event, primarily, to support and celebrate Margaret Maron.

I have, like so many of you, enjoyed watching the awards and accolades which have come Margaret's way over the years.

Each one more deserved than the one before.

When we learned about her induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Donald and I agreed there was nothing that would have kept us from being there.

The fact that Clyde Edgerton was also present as an inductee was the cherry on top of my happiness sundae.

So - here you are 

photos from the joyous occasion.


Margaret Maron

Joe Maron, Sarah Shaber, Diane Chamberlain, Margaret Maron, Katy Munger

J. Pender Zane

Rhonda Bellamy introducing Clyde Edgerton

George Terll reading

Clyde Edgerton

Bland Simpson introduces Margaret Maron

H. Tyrone Brandyburg -
Superintendent of Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson
and cousin of Margaret Maron

And, oooooh, take a lookee here - - -

Aren't these pieces gorgeous!!??!  

One for each of the inductees.

Made by North Carolina potter Ben Owen, III

Bob Witchger

John Maron

photo by Bob Witchger

Margaret joined by NC judges

Bland Simpson, Margaret & Joe Maron

Margaret & Donald

oh, my.  How much do I love this picture of Margaret, Donald and Joe?

I have long been a fan of Clyde Edgerton. 

When I told him how much I loved "Walking Across Egypt," he shared a story with me. He went by to see his mother one afternoon and she told him how she had fallen through a chair and was unable to get up, or out, of the chair. She told him this story while acting out all the many and various attempts (arms were, apparently, essential to her attempts) at ridding herself of the chair. And, VoilĂ , "Walking Across Egypt" was born. After reading the book, Mr. Edgerton's mother told him she enjoyed how much "that lady" reminded her of herself.

The reception following the ceremony was everything you would expect.

A bit of a garden party on a shaded lawn in the shadow of a grand old house.  A house that has plenty of stories of its own.

Casually elegant and slow moving, conversations punctuated by southern drawls, heartfelt hugs and soft laughter.


Harley was issued a special invitation by none other than Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron.

And let me tell you, no one enjoys a party more than Harley Doodle Barley.

John, Andrea & Natalie Maron

The Garden Party

The bright sun is shining down
On the party guests milling around.
Everyone has gathered on the stripy green lawn,
Which, by the gardener, has recently been shorn.

Garden parties are always such a pleasure.
A lovely way to spend a few hours of leisure.
The guests gather round in small mixed groups.
Periodically, there’s the sound of laughter or whoops.

Some people sit and relax in recliner chairs,
As the soft sound of music fills the balmy air.
The guests are soon engaged in different conversations,
Exchanging a mixture of interesting and trifling information.

With each other, the guests chat and make new friends.
Those who may have previously squabbled make amends.
The ladies wear pretty, summery, floaty dresses.
Sporting a variety of beautifully dressed tresses.

A trestle table covered in a red gingham tablecloth,
Holds a variety of inviting food and drink aloft.
There’s a selection of sandwiches: cheese, tuna and ham,
And fresh scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

There’s roast chicken legs, pies and mini sausage rolls,
And salad items are laid out in brightly coloured bowls.
There are cocktail sausages and cubes of cheese on sticks.
Of finger food, there really is quite an eclectic mix.

The ladies, who are on diets, needlessly quibble,
Over whether or not, at the food, they should nibble.
There’s everyone’s favourite drink, Pimms and lemonade,
And, a large pitcher of alcoholic punch, freshly home-made.

At the bottom of the garden, children play by the old oak,
And there’s shrills of laughter, as they all share a joke.
From a tiny tot, there are joyful cries,
As she chases after pretty butterflies.

A toast to their hosts, the guests propose,
As the party finally draws to a close.
It’s been an enjoyable and successful day,
And now, all that is left to do is clear away.

by Angela Wybrow