Tuesday, March 31, 2009

" A Stroll Through The French Quarter"

First let me say in response to those who have
inquired, my knee is much, much better! I have
been taking Osteo Bi-Flex twice a day and it works!
Thank goodness for that as I had to walk a mile
from where I parked to get to the Master Classes.
Hubby was going to drive me due to bad weather
reports but the sun came out, so I drove down myself.
It being Friday and the festival going on, the place was
really crowded and parking was scarce. For those who
have been to the French Quarter, you have probably
walked this same route. I parked in the lot behind the
French Market nearly to Esplanade. I then walked down
Decatur past all the wonderful shops till I reached the corner
of Decatur and St. Ann in front of Cafe Du Monde. I then
crossed Decatur to walk down St. Ann toward Jackson Square.
This Mime was standing at the entrance to St. Ann Street facing
Decatur. It amazes me how they can stand for hours without so
much as a twitch! I think he is a space man?

Walking down St. Ann, the Artist line the fence that
surrounds Jackson Square Park. It was trying to rain
so I didn't get as many pictures as I'd like to have.

As you turn left into the Square, you see all the Fortune
Tellers selling their talent.

Then you are facing the front of St. Ann's Cathedral

Standing in front of St. Ann's in the square,
this trumpet player was wonderful! I stood
and listened to Amazing Grace then he played
When The Saints Go Marching In.

Past the trumpet player I took a right to walk down
Pirate's Alley, past Faulkner House Books. During his
lifetime, William Faulkner kept an apartment over
this bookstore to which he would come to write.

At the end of Pirate's Alley, I crossed Chartres, continued
one block down St. Ann to Royal Street and turned left.One
block down Royal this Jazz Band had people dancing in the
street! I felt like it myself but knew better than to try! I
actually took this picture on the walk back and only the Sax
player was playing.

Anyone need a Psychic Reading??

Now this is the right way to tour The French Quarter!

Only in the French Quarter do people hold conversations
in the middle of the street!

By this time I'm hungry and stop for lunch at my favorite
French Quarter Restaurant, The Court of Two Sisters !

The entrance to the restaurant is gorgeous!

When I came out, this Mime was in front. The
little girl had eased up to him to see if he was
a statue and he grabbed her!

I walked two more blocks to Historic New
Orleans Collection, the Museum where the
Master Classes were held. Of course I retraced
this same path later. About two miles round trip!
Not bad for a woman with a bad knee, huh?
I hope you have enjoyed your stroll through a small
part of the French Quarter with me!
I am leaving for Natchez tomorrow morning to
carry out the plan from last weeks postponement!
I do not know if I will be in touch or not, but you
will see and hear plenty this weekend!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

" In The Company of Masters" Part TWO.............RICK BRAGG

As I continue with my story of an afternoon spent learning
from two Masters of the written word, I must say that these
two authors are as different as a day and night. Having read
and enjoyed works by both, I already knew this. Both of the
books I'd read by Rick Bragg, "All Over But The Shout'n"
and " Ava's Man" were chock full of humor. The storyteller
in the flesh was hilarious! This guy was born to tell a story!

During the introduction of Rick Bragg we learned that he
is the 2009 recipient of "Alabama's Harper Lee Award for
Literary Excellence"! Now that is impressive !!

A born storyteller? I had not thought about this before his
class, but how many people can take their family story, an
everyday story of a" hard row to hoe" and turn it into a series
of three bestselling books? He did, and he did so because he
knows how to tell a story so that the reader is engaged from
the first word to the last.

His first book " All Over But The Shout'n" is his Mother's story
of falling in love with "the bad boy" and the hard struggle of
having to raise her three little boys alone because of it. An
absolute wonderful read!
" Ava's Man", the second book in the series is about his maternal
Grandfather, the man he felt was the greatest man he ever knew!
You will understand why after you read it!
His latest book" The Prince of Frogtown" is the third and final
of the series detailing the life of the bad boy father he never got
to know. I have not read this one but could tell by the questions
from others in the class about this book, that is will be a great read.
I did purchase it and he signed it!

I have to say this was a wonderful 90 minutes! He is truly
a joy to listen to and such an humble, intelligent guy! I would
never hesitate to sit through another class with the Master
Of non-fiction storytelling, Rick Bragg ! A true Southern Writer!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

" In The Company Of Masters " Part ONE............... John Berendt.. .

As most of you are aware, I went down to New Orleans
yesterday to attend two of the Master Classes in the
Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. The two I chose
were two of my favorite authors whom I believe to be
true Masters of their craft, John Berendt and Rick Bragg!
Part One: JOHN BERENDT................

I doubt that there is anyone reading this blog who has not
read his Pulitzer Nominated Bestseller:
" Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil" or at least
seen the movie..........
I knew about Savannah before John's book came out due
to Eugenia Price, one of my favorite historical fiction authors.
I had read all of her books which are based in this area.
It was John's book however that made me fall deeply in love
with Savannah and long to experience it for myself!

Savannah herself IS the main character of "Midnight"
His class yesterday was about:
" Capturing The Character of Place"..............

The room where these Master Classes were held was
like stepping back in time to the parlor of a beautiful
antebellum mansion...........
The room filled to capacity and over flowing with
literary minded people ! I felt so blessed to be there!

We listened intently as the accomplishments of our Master
teacher were heralded and he was introduced ........

Now all of you know how partial I am to Southern Writers!
They are a special breed, myself included. I often say
" we write with a need to fix the wrongs" especially those
of us from the "deep south" where so much pain and misery
is attached to the backbone of slavery and the civil rights era.
John is not from the south but he truly understands her!
I learned from him that there are, 150 different southern
accents and that in writing place, you have to get it right!

Here John reads the Eudora Welty story:
" Where Is The Voice Coming From"
Eudora wrote this story the night Civil Rights
Leader, Medgar Evers was gunned down in his
front yard in front of his wife and children. It is
a perfect example of capturing "place" as it turned
out to be an exact literary profile of the killer who
at the time of her writing, was unknown!

Tennessee Williams(1911-1983)
Eudora Welty(1901-2001)
William Faulkner (1897-1962)
These three Masters are all Mississippi Writers.
I was very proud to discover that these three along
with Alabama's Master, Walker Percy(1916-1990)
and Georgia's Master, Flannery O'Connor(1925-1964)
are the Master's who have influenced his writing!

John Berendt.....................
" If you are writing place, you must create it!
Smell it, taste it, feel the wind, hear it. When
you have captured the place, the characters
will step out and take over"

During the signing, we had an interesting
occurrence. John had never seen this slick
face paperback version of his second book!
He believes it to be a special printing and I
at that moment, wasn't sure where I'd bought it.
Later I remembered that I had actually bought
it in an antique shop in Savannah!

It was truly a wonderful experience to listen and learn
from the man whose writing I so admire! However the
best part was standing next to him to have a picture with
him to add to my collection! I have never been photogenic
but he looks awesome!

John assured me he would be visiting The Writer's Porch
to view this post, so please leave a comment if you are a
fan of this Literary Master!

For all of us John Berendt fans........we have been to Savannah
and Venice, and due to a few hints........I believe we will be in the
magical city of New Orleans next!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

" A Bad Knee and A Change of Plans"

Due to a hurting right knee and a forecast of severe weather,
I've had a change of plans........just temporary though......
Instead of going to this beautiful place today...........

And Staying in this beautiful room
tonight and tomorrow night.................

Sleeping in this gorgeous Antique bed....

In this wonderful Bed & Breakfast

On Friday I will go down to New Orleans for the day
to attend two of the Master Series Classes................

One class is with John Berendt.......................

Author of ....................
" Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil...

"The City of Falling Angels"

The other class is with..............
Rick Bragg............

Author of...................
" All Over But The Shoutin' "

" Ava's Man"

I own and have read all four of these books.
All are great reads. I give 5 stars to each!
John's are based on TRUE stories..........
Rick's are autobiographical of his childhood
growing up in the south but read like novels.
I'm looking forward to meeting the authors
as I have long admired their work!
I'll take lots of pictures..............
And.......next week, I will do all of the
above, same room, same bed in Natchez!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"As Wild As I Get"

I know I've said it a thousand and one times, so one more
time won't hurt; " I dearly love the Appalachian Mountains!
Particularly the Smokey Mountains...........
Aside from the wonderful history found there, it is a place
where one can often observe the wild animals in their own
habitat and sometimes in a man made habitat...........

No.......encounter with the wildlife can be complete without
including the dreaded Snake.....I encountered this one on
my hike up to The Walker Sisters Cabin( a post for later)
in the GSMNP.........I let him be and he did me......

The first night in my cabin.....I heard a noise on the back
deck, upon a careful investigation, I had a real friendly caller!
The next night I was prepared for him with a newspaper
plate, filled with Sardines!This ritual went on for a week........

He arrived at dusk dark.............. Climbing about 40 feet
up a pole and through the railing..............
Here he comes..........hungry as a bear!

Feasting on a Sardine dinner................
Then he would mosey over to the corner for an hours nap!
Only looking up if I turned on the light..............

After the nap........ it was
Thanks dude, I'm outta here.....
There he goes!
In the daylight......we played hide and seek!
"I told you not to look while I'm trying to find
a good hiding place , he says"

Not yet....... but I'm almost ready!

Okay Miss Porch.......bet you can't see me now! HA!

Now this guy had played this game with more than one
cabin dweller................he was GOOD !

Then there's the Elk..........the park introduced them in
Cataloochee Valley, which is on the NC side of the park,
several years ago. We sited these on the NC/TN line
making their way to the Tennessee side of the park!
In a couple more years, they should inhabit the entire park

They pay humans with cameras no mind whatsoever...

THEN..........there's the man made habitat! This gorgeous
Silver Grizzly is caged in Maggie Valley, NC........
He stands against the tree to beg for food........

At the same place..........Black Bears!

So there is a taste of my walk on the Wild Side in.....
The Great Smokey Mountains of Appalachia.........
This truly is, as wild as I get!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Remember the movie YA YA Sisterhood?
This award reminded me of that movie...

I was awarded this yesterday by my
Blog sister, Cynthia Pittmann @



As with most awards, it must be passed on
to 5 deserving bloggers....Blog SISTERS !
Here are my 5 choices to join Blog Sisterhood.....

Kat@ Poetikat's Invisible http:/hyggedigter.blogspot.com/

Willow@willowmanor http://willowmanor.blogspot.com/

Vicki @ Vicki Lane Mysteries http://vickilanemysteries.blogspot.com/

Kaye @ Meanderings and Musings http://meanderingsandmusings.blogspot.com/

Eleanor @ Thatchwick Cottage http://thatchwickcottage.blogspot.com/

Right click and add to your blog...
You know the score Sisters...........
Link back to me.....
Pass it to 5 more Sisters....
with a link to their blog......
Notify them by e-mail or
leave a comment on their blog...

Welcome to The Sisterhood Blog Club Girls !!!

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's finally here.....wonderful Spring!
However we are a wee bit ahead of some of you.
The Forsythia has lost it's blooms and sprouted
green leaves..................

The Empress Tree is also shedding it's jewels and getting
it wonderful huge leaves!

The SIDEWAYS Magnolia Saucer is following suit!

Hubby got the boat out and took to the lake
with a fishing buddy for the day!

Yesterday was spent getting the flower bed built, cleaned
and ready for the months ahead.............
If you recall we covered the pier and made us a Pond House!

Hubby made me two flower beds in front of the lattice work
to plant flowers and running vines in.

I was the official supervisor!

I did the planting....A Trumpet Creeper vine to run up the lattice.
Red Verbena and Red Amaryllis; Barbados Lilies.

On this side more AB Lilies, What I hope is a Yellow Canna Lily
And Wisteria to run up the lattice...............

We started cleaning this bed which has Roses, Lantana,
Mexican Petunias and a Hot Pink Dinner Plate Hibiscus
that comes back every year and grows to about 8 foot!
That's it in front of the bird bath with all the new leaves.

These spring bells are in a bed with Iris and Cannas.....

This Bed.................it felt really good to play in the dirt!

So I say; " Welcome Spring! I plan to enjoy every minute
This is a flowering bush that we have no idea of it's name.
If you recognize it.....please tell me what it is!

Have fun playing in the dirt everyone!