Friday, April 15, 2011

South Mountains

It was time for a little reward.

I knew my husband and I would be headed out to New Mexico to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Taos last week, so I was determined to finish the Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse rough draft before I set foot on the plane. Mission accomplished. I left all my cares behind and exchanged one set of mountains for the other, the South Mountains of North Carolina for Taos Mountains South. Be sure to click on the picture and see the close up. This is what my daughter gets to see every day!

The Taos Mountains South from the balcony of the Bed and Breakfast

Yes, that is snow between the pines.
 Even when I was there, I couldn't get escape thinking about the South Mountains here in North Carolina. This week we went in one day from white snow caps of New Mexico back to the white dogwood blooms in the Carolinas. There is no comparison. Each is beyond beautiful.

Now look at North Carolina. Little wonder that the state flower is the dogwood.
No, that is not snow. It's a dogwood tree between the pines.

Spring on the street where I live
I have seen the best of two worlds in the southern Appalachians and the southern end of the Rockies. I have studied the culture of the southern Appalachians and ventured into the culture of the southern Rockies.

My challenge now is to make the Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse story appeal to readers from each culture. I've looked at my rough draft through Appalachian eyes, but maybe now it's time to look at it through New Mexican eyes, or New England eyes, or downtown Chicago eyes. What culture shock would I experience? What values would I find in common? What about the lessons learned?

Vacation reward time is over. Revision lies ahead and I'm so ready.

Catch of the day,



  1. Great idea- to look at your ms. through the eyes of someone outside your region. How about getting someone from a different area of the country to read your ms? (ANd congratulations, btw, on finishing the first draft. That is HUGE). I have a woman from Ohio reading mine right now--met her on the internet and it'll be interesting to hear her comments on my southern story.

  2. Hi Carol,
    Writing nonfiction about a region does have challenges. While I was writing for the past year, I was concentrating on the accuracy of the facts. Now that I'm confident about that, I've started looking into the other aspects of presenting a southern story. In the end, though, a good story is a good story, fiction or nonfiction.

  3. Gretchen,

    Congratulations on completing the rough draft of this project! I am so proud of you!

    It's wonderful that you got to enjoy a vacation visiting your daughter out west. I'm not surprised to hear that you began wondering what people with a different perspective would think of your story. That reflects the writer and storycatcher in you.

    Linda A.