Visit to Historic Aiken, S.C.; Artist-in-Residence at Lake Keowee; & the Snowstorm that Wasn’t

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

I hope everyone gets this day off from work and school, but I know some don’t. If you do, enjoy! After a week of straight rain, my daughter and I were able to take a (slow) hike in the Pisgah National Forest this morning with some friends, and on the way home caught part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on our local NPR station. So very cool.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – “I Have a Dream”

I’ve mentioned this before, but King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is, bar none, one of my favorite pieces of persuasive writing. I teach it nearly every semester in my college writing and rhetoric courses. If you’ve not had a chance to read it, truly you should. King wrote the letter in the margins of a newspaper he was brought while serving a nine day prison sentence for his involvement in the Birmingham Campaign, a nonviolent protest against segregation in Alabama.

* * *

Some Keowee Valley news …

Aiken house

Aiken County Historical Museum – photo by Trey Martin

This Saturday, January 26th at 3 p.m. I’ll be giving a presentation on pre-Revolutionary Cherokee and frontier history and culture (and talking about Keowee Valley, too) at the Aiken County Public Library in historic Aiken, South Carolina. Though I was born and raised in South Carolina, I’ve never been to Aiken, known for its lovely antebellum homes, the Winter Colony, and history as “horse country.” I’m very much looking forward to it!


And, I’m thrilled to announce that for the week of August 3 -10, 2013, I’ll be the Artist-in-Residence at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, a lovely lake community in the South Carolina Upcountry. Sponsored by The Reserve at Lake Keowee Community Foundation, I’ll spend the week giving book and history talks, and participating in other informal gatherings with residents and guests. The Community Foundation has graciously offered my whole family and me (including Baby 2, due to arrive in early May) the use of a guest house. I’m particularly excited about this residency because: 1) I truly enjoy getting to know readers and history lovers, and 2) the history and landscape of the Keowee River Valley plays an important role in my novel.

Finally, we didn’t get any snow this past weekend. Not even a flake. It was supposed to be the Blizzard of 2013, and yet … nothing. I was so positively giddy–truly, like an elementary-schooler–I even told my 3 year-old that it was surely going to snow, and we’d build snowmen and make snow angels and get out the sled. Big. Mistake. I was so bummed, in fact, that I pouted all day. All day. To the point where my husband told me, “You’ve got to stop talking about this.”

So, if any of you got any of that wondrous snow, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed it. I know it’s a hassle for many, but I love the stuff.


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