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Angels, Goats and Haunted Inns: Writers in the NC Mountains

NCSSM Mini-term 2012 Participants: Carson Hsiao, Deborah Montes, Rosalia Preiss, Isabel Hutchens, Ashley DiMuzio, Evan Stone, Ryan Kramer, Cassidy Ring, JoJo Drake, Denise Gersch Sponsor/Instructor: Elizabeth Peeples

Table of Contents Background Information about Carl Sandburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-6 Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-8 Deborah’s reflection on Sandburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Cassidy’s reflection on Sandburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 JoJo’s reflection on Sandburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Evan’s reflection on Sandburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Personal Writings of Cassidy Ring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-14 Personal Writings of JoJo Drake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-16 Footprints in the Sand by Ashley DiMuzio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Glassy Mountain Top Prose by Denise Gersch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Background Information about the Fitzgeralds in Asheville . . . . . . . . .19-22 Rosalia’s reflection on Fitzgerald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Ryan’s reflection on Fitzgerald/Grove Park Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Denise’s reflection on Fitzgerald/Grove Park Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Background Information about Thomas Wolfe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-30 I Am Thomas Wolfe by Ashley DiMuzio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Thomas Wolfe by Isabel Hutchens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Carson’s reflection on Thomas Wolfe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Photo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Self-reflection Asheville by Ryan Kramer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Lost by Ryan Kramer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Mountain and poem by Ashley DiMuzio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Bears by Carson Hsiao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Mountain hike by Carson Hsiao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Untitled by Isabel Hutchens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 A Hike Up a Hill by Isabel Hutchens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Notes on Prose by Deborah Montes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 The 5-7-5 by Deborah Montes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Untitled by Rosalia Preiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 My Life as a Fish by Rosalia Preiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 The Butterfly Effect by Denise Gersch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Photo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Self-Conflict by Evan Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 The Rain by Evan Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

On top of Glassy Mountain

Writers on Glassy Mountain

Sit upon his rock Take it in, take it all in T’is Connemara Cassidy Ring

Walking up the long driveway with my peers, I could feel the cool mountain air blowing through my hair. When we reached the house, I looked around in awe. The view was breathtaking, the atmosphere was enchanting. As I walked through the doors, I was immediately brought back to my childhood. In the living room, I could picture my cousins and myself playing games and reading stories at my grandparent’s house. I felt at ease. The office was busy and filled from floor to ceiling with books and papers. Suddenly, I could see Carl Sandburg typing at his desk while smoking a cigar. He looked up with a smile and welcomed us all. We then headed out back to visit Paula at the goat barn. Carl called for her and she joyfully appeared from the pasture. The champion goats were peacefully grazing in the afternoon sun. Everything was beautiful; from the way Paula cared for her goats to how lovingly she and Carl looked into each other’s eyes. They were wonderful hosts who filled us all with inspiration. When it was time to leave, we said our farewells so the Sandburg’s could depart for their afternoon stroll. I looked up from my paper to hear my classmates and teacher calling to me. We had been at the top of Glassy Mountain for a little over an hour by now and they were ready to make the hike back down. As I looked over my shoulder at the rock face one last time, I understood why Carl Sandburg and his family moved here; Connemara was magical. Cassidy Ring

A rock comfortable? Never. Yet it is. The crevices fit to the curves of my figure. It is a closeness to nature I don’t often experience. Yet this removed from society the signs of civilization, industrialization, technology, and the future are still found. I hear a plane. It interrupts the song of nature. Or is it a part of it now? Has so much time passed that these sounds, the sound of a plane, have evolved and transformed to and integral part of it now? The song of nature. The song of the creatures. The song of me. The song of you.The song of us, of the world. The wind blows at my back. It rustles the leaves. The air is crisp and clean. I like to breath it in. I drink it. The sun beats on my back and rosies my cheeks. I find solace up here, on this rock, above everyone, away from it all. The expanse of it all, so vast. It outstretches for miles and miles, acres and acres. Like time, it is never ending, always moving, like the wind always blowing. So much to see. So much to take in and absorb. So many thoughts. They are all jumbled. It is all so overwhelming, yet calming at the same time. I don’t even have the impulse to rhyme. I don’t know why I don’t write more often. I guess I don’t usually find my voice, but this time, this day, my thoughts flow from my mind to my pen almost too fast for me to keep up. The pen is so powerful. My mind is racing, heart thumping, memories pouring all together. I am rambling I know. It is like I have found forever all on a big ‘ole rock. Is this how Carl felt?

JoJo Drake

After Sandburg’s death Paula left her home with little more than a suitcase and a few family mementos for her children and bestowed everything else upon the American people, the ones her husband spoke to in his writing, and, more often, spoke for. Nothing touched. Nothing stirred. Nothing changed. Nothing disturbed. All is the same. All is the same. They are only gone for the day. They will be back soon. Forever frozen in time. Eternalized. The people’s poet then. The people’s poet now. Paula’s gift to us. Thank you.

JoJo Drake

Footprints in the sand. Play. He smokes in his chair, green velvet gives way to wood. The new LIFE is opened to the index; he pauses, cigar turning to ash as he contemplates which article to read. He frowns, placing a finger to his chapped lips, shushing his children, who laugh as they start a new game of Chinese checkers. She's in her office, diligently working. The calendar pinned on the bookshelf taunts her; there is so little time. Her glasses pinch her nose and she removes them, placing the wire frames aside as she massages the bridge of her nose, the red fading to a delicate pink. The sheets in front of her sing a busy song, the numbers dancing to the time of an unbalanced checkbook. She slides, the wheels of her chair making not a sound as they arrive at her destination. She types a letter to her mother. The maid glides about the kitchen as if it was a dance floor. Flour, eggs, and yeast for the bread. She checks the boiling pot on the stove, and an egg slips from her gentle grasp. It hits the floor, the white dome cracking into a million pieces, bleeding yellow and white. Her sharp intake of breath is masked by the children's laughter and the click of the typewriter.

Pause. His cigar sits in the ashtray, the glowing embers long turned grey. Clear and blue marbles rest in gouges of the six-pointed star, the accumulated dust laying claim to the spheres. The calendar is stuck on July, teasing of a date that's long come and gone. Her glasses, out of style and out of use, wishing to once more pinch her nose. The cabbage rests in the sink, waiting to be strained. He forgot to take out the trash, and it rots in the trash can. The LIFE magazine is open to the index. Stop. The Ranger speaks. The goats bleat, and the cat chases a mouse.

Ashley DiMuzio

Glassy Mountain Top Prose This part of the trip was not my favorite: it was the funniest or the easiest. It is, however, the one time in the trip when I really sat back and self-reflected. The view from the top of the mountain is unimaginable unless you have seen it with your own eyes. Its presence cannot be captured with a camera. When you look out over the edge of the rock ledge you know that there has to be something d but a divinity of nature that can only be captured with the human essence. I sit here surrounded by nature in its truest and most potent form and yet I am thinking of humanity and how the human kind works. Is this nature ours? Can we come to a rare place like this and claim it as our own? There was a time when places like this were everywhere: now we have to pay to see them, they are rare and valued. The rock feels cold even in the sunny spots. The bottom of my feet hurt from my tireless explorations of the terrain. Now I sit and rest and marvel at the way I can see the entire valley from this ever so uncomfortable chair that nature made for me- vantage point. I wonder how many people sat in this exact same spot. The sun is too bright in my eyes so I climb up to an even higher rock in the shade and look to my left to see a slightly sunny spot covered with soft dry moss and pine. The pine needles are sharp to my back where they were soft to my feet: I stay anyway. It is quiet but not silent. I hear a plane in the distance, voices below me, and bugs flying in my ears. Suddenly, a wretched thought passes through my mind as I sit here in the soft forest while everyone else sits on the rocks below me: where do the dogs poop when they come up here?

Denise Gersch

The Fitzgeralds Denise Gersch, Ryan Kramer, Rosalia Preiss

F. Scott Fitzgerald Facts:

• Born September 24, 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. • Very Successful author who wrote The Great Gatsby. • Coined the term Jazz Age. • Married to Zelda Fitzgerald. • Raised in a Catholic family. • Suffered alcoholism. Became •

severe after his wife's second breakdown Experienced two heart attacks and passed away from his third on December 21, 1940 in Hollywood California.

His work: Fitzgerald, being a successful author had problems throughout his life; he dealt with his father's addiction to gambling, alcoholism, his wife's hysteria, and heart problems. Despite his unending list of troubles he was still able to become one of the most well known authors who used his work as outlet which shows reflections of his life within the literature. This can be seen throughout Fitzgerald's last work Love of the Last Tycoon. This novel portrays the main character's want to live in California; not with his wife.

o The Great Gatsby, touted as one of his best works!

Zelda Fitzgerald Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1900. Her father was a justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. She began taking ballet as a child, and continued dancing throughout high school. From a young age, Zelda was very active socially and very carefree. After her marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda was a world traveller and was known as "the first American Flapper." Several years into her marriage with Scott, Zelda had her first mental breakdown. She became obsessed with ballet, and in 1930, was accepted to a sanatorium in France. After the publication, and subsequent flop, of her book, Save Me the Waltz, Zelda was recommitted to an institution. This time, she entered the Highland Hospital in Asheville. Zelda was in and out of the institution until her death in a tragic fire at the hospital in 1948. Zelda at age 16 in a ballet costume.

The Fitzgeralds Zelda was a beautiful, energetic, and talented young woman who, like most women in her time period, did not know how to apply her abilities. She married Scott hoping that he would be able to lead her toward success, but she wound up really living in his shadow because although he had the ability to guide her, he was too caught up in his own career. They were both extraordinarily talented artists. Their marriage was unconventional; they were hedonists. They lived a luxurious life with everything from kinky outfits to alcohol. They had one daughterFrances Scottie Fitzgerald. Although to some

effort led Scott further in alcoholism and Zelda into mental illness. Eventually, Scott left the Grove Park Inn, got another job, fell in love with another woman, and his visits to Zelda and Scottie became less and less frequent. Scott wrote a few more novels and then died of a heart attack, and Zelda died in a fire at Highland Hospital.

their marriage may seem false because they were both looking for marriage for the wrong reasons, (success and fulfilling the American dream,) they were madly in love throughout the 20's. In 1930 Zelda had her first metal breakdown, and her second, in 1932 was the one that she never really recovered from. They tried unsuccessfully in the early 30's to heal their marriage. This last The Fitzgeralds with their daughter, Frances Scottie.

Rosalia's Reflection of the Grove Park Inn So long he sat among these mountains, waiting for her to come back to life to come back to him these rocks gave him solace as he sat on the terrace and looked towards the sky he wished he hoped he wrote but he had to escape he couldn't wait any longer he wrote what he knew: a longing for freedom for California for death even The Love of the Last Tycoon, the love he had for her, it was good, and it was great but he couldn't remember anymore

Reflection of the Grove Park Inn(Ryan) On your way to this landmark you will quickly notice in the distance a behemoth of a building overlooking the entire forest below it. Its beauty is something that can only be properly defined with a picture. Composed of stone this building was formed with its natural surroundings. Its body blending in with the mountains is conversely defined by its beautiful mushroom top roof. Built in only a year, the building occupies 53000 square feet of meeting space. After parking you will soon realize the size of the Inn, towering 5 stories high, this building can be considered a mountain itself. Arriving to the building's entrance you walk between two monstrous wooden doors that give you the sense of royalty. Following your entrance you are greeted kindly by the members of the Grove Park Inn service that gives you a sense of belonging. After exploring for a few minutes you shortly realize exactly why Fitzgerald found the slightest bit of solace considering all the troubles of his life. The building itself gives a sense of warmth and comfort. The view is nothing but the most inspiring thing a human can experience and the sense of place in the world that it gives a human can only be described as absolute calmness. For once in your short, short life... Nothing else matters.

Denise's Reflection of the Grove Park Inn It is a gray day: not raining yet but as if it is about to. As we drive up to the road to the hotel, the abnormal roof of the superstruction begins to emerge from the treetops. We round the last curve and the front of the hotel appears, it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Walking up to the front doors I notice the detail of the large rocks, all native stone and put in place in less than a year. Walking inside is an event on its own: the first thing I notice is a fireplace large enough for me to stand in. Although the hotel is beautiful, everything from the scent to the feel of the stone, nothing compares to the view when you walk through the lobby and look out over the terrace. A camera cannot even capture the magnificence the way you can look out into a valley. Little houses of multiples colors are nestled in the trees deep below me, and the clouds somehow look 10 fold better than they ever would from the Piedmont. There are more mountains looming in the background, dividing the endless sky from the homely valley below. And the only way to describe the feeling I had while looking at the view is content.

Playwright, Short Story Author, Novelist

life • • • •

Birthdate: October 1900 Death date: September 1938 8th child to William Oliver Wolfe and Julia Westall Wolfe In 1906 his mother bought and moved into a boarding house in Asheville taking him with her. In 1916 he enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill although he would have preferred going to the University of Virgina. He then went to Harvard to study play writing before moving to New York. He tried to get a play put on, but no one wanted to perform it. He got a teaching position at New York University. He traveled to Europe and met Aline Bernstein. He loved her but she was married and refused to get a divorce. He attempted to get a novel published. After about a year he found a publisher. The autobiographical nature of the novel led to a fairly negative reception from the citizens of Asheville. After his second novel was published he made another couple of trips to Europe and took a tour of the West. He died at the age of 37 of tuberculosis.

works published • •

• •

Autobiographical works: Wolfe's most popular work is Look Homeward, Angel; Of Time and the River is the sequel. Look Homeward, Angel was an autobiographical work that outlined the life of a man in Asheville. In the book, Wolfe uses many of the places around where he lived except using different names for streets and towns. For example, instead of Eagle Terrace, Wolfe uses Eagle Crescent. Additionally, Wolfe portrays many of the characters off of real people he knew, most of which he portrays in a negative way. Of Time and the River is a sequel to Look Homeward, Angel and was even more successful than the first one! Posthumous publications: Wolfe’s other three novels were published after his death and heavily edited by his new editor, Edward Aswell. These three are: The Web and the Rock, You Can't Go Home Again, and The Hills Beyond.

Thomas Wolfe was born October 1900 in Asheville, North Carolina. He moved away in 1904, but returned in 1905 to start public school. Shortly after he attended a private school run by Ms. Margaret Roberts, who was a great influence on his literary career. After attending private school, Wolfe left Asheville in favor of a Harvard education.

After the publication of his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe was reluctant to return home. The characters in his book were based off of people he knew when he was young, and Wolfe was worried that the people would recognize their lives in the book and criticize him and his writings. In May of 1937, shortly before his death, Wolfe visited Asheville again for the summer, renting a cabin near Oteen. During this time he wasn't able to write, having a surprisingly warm welcome from the towns inhabitants. While at first his novel was a topic of controversy, over time, the citizens of Asheville grew to accept it, and were happy that Wolfe returned home. His stay wasn't peaceful, and he was back on the road again when the leaves started turning in the fall. Wolfe died in 1938, only 37 years old. He was buried in Asheville in his family plot at Historic Riverside Cemetery.

 Early Education - When Wolfe was five years old, he followed his older sister to school, despite being too young to start a formal education. His teacher allowed him to sit in on the classes instead of sending him home.  Death Followed - Wolfe wasn't the only one to die young in his family. Three of his older siblings all died before the age of 30 due to illnesses such as pneumonia, typhoid, and cholera.  Lost Passion - Before he wrote short stories and novels, Wolfe's main focus and passion was theatre. He wrote several plays and received his Masters Degree in playwriting from Harvard.  Wordy - The first draft of "Time and the River" was one million words long. He carried it around in three crates.  No Desks for You - Wolfe was 6'5" tall, his height causing him to be unable to sit comfortably at regular desks. He did most of his writing standing up, using the top of his refrigerator as a flat surface.  Inn on Montford - In Asheville, the Inn on Montford names its rooms after writers who have lived or passed through the town. One suite is named after Thomas Wolfe.  Shoe Size - At station thirteen in Asheville, North Carolina, near the Wolfe House, there is a bronze replica of Wolfe's enormous size thirteen shoes.  Place in History - At the time of his death, Wolfe was ranked among the top three most influential writers of American history.


I am Thomas Wolfe. I was born in a place not my own - my seven brothers and sisters before me all soiled the same bedsheets. I lived in a place that was not my own - a boarding house with my mother and thirty of her closest strangers. I shared my bed with a new face every night, and though I was "home," I lived out of my suitcase. I loved a woman who was not my own - I shared her with a husband and children. I ran to places that were not my own - the mistress who only loved me some, bought my tickets. Never was I free to breathe the air. I wrote books that were not my own. My words butchered and destroyed by a suit in a room, telling me this is not so, reading but not feeling. He peeled me apart inch by inch until all that was left was the framework of beauty and proclaimed "it is done." The people claimed me great. I died with a legacy that was not my own - twisted words on bastard parchment. A house that was not a home. A love split in three.

I am Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe Reflection Isabel Hutchens

Thomas Wolfe believed that you can’t go home. By definition home is a permanent place of residence, but people often talk about feeling at home when they are at ease. “Home is where the heart is,” is a very common idiom. Wolfe grew up in a crowd of people he did not know. They came and went. He was shifted from bed to bed as the boarding house his mother owned expanded around him. She was the only other constant occupant, but he never understood her. Why would a woman in no financial trouble be so intent upon making a profit? He no doubt felt neglected seeing her tend to

the tenants who would soon be gone. The only thing that made Asheville anything like a home to Wolfe was his older brother Ben. They were fast friends, but Ben passed away before Wolfe finished college. He never recovered from the trauma of his brother’s death. As his life continued he never settled down and never had anything as he wanted it. Even the woman he loved belonged to another man. Perhaps Wolfe never had a home to return to.


Carson Hsiao

I think Thomas Wolfe was a silly author. However, he was an American great and his works were greatly appreciated by both an American and foreign audience. Wolfe lived in a boarding home with his mother and was unfortunately constantly living with strangers every day of every week. The way he lived was unfortunately different than a regular everyday normal guy. However, growing up in this altered life led Wolfe to create writing that could not be replicated by any other author. The other big part of Wolfe's young life was the first World War. Shown very obviously by this paper, showing a Russian bear, World War 1 is bad. Bears are good.

Self Reflection of Asheville The trip to Asheville was nothing short of one of the better trips I've taken in my lifetime. The view was absolutely pure, beautiful. The sound of the cool air caressing the millions of leaves in the mountain brought my heart to ease. The sense of place that I felt while walking the trails and feeling the beauty of nature caused all worries and anxieties to disappear... to serve as a negligible part of my life. Standing 4000 feet above sea level and looking down upon all the trees and all of the Earth, I finally felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. The view of Earth coming through my eyes was nearly too much for me to absorb; every second I kept noticing things, peculiarities that once again kept astonishing me, making me see the world in a different light. Asheville, the mountains, the air, the breeze, the noises... Everything; was among some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen and heard. The mountains that I once thought to be over-played, lies... Are the most Beautiful, calm and peaceful place that God has left for us to relish in and find our true selves. Along with the inspiration to live through the beauty he created for us.

Ryan Kramer

Ryan Kramer

Ashley DiMuzio

What is this strange place? This order made out of wood? Its beauty trips me.

Bears I like bers. Bears are found most everywhere, In the wild, in zoos, and even on top of mountains. However, the mountain bear is rare, as rare as can be, Almost like a liger, or hummingbird bee. Bears are cool, big, and brown, They can be black as well, or upside down! I like bears.

Carson Hsiao

Leaves crunch underfoot while the hill curves under my feet. The sounds of birds and insects fill the air beside my running figure. As I climb, I begin sweating, panting, but refusing to give up. The trek is long and tiresome, but my innate sense to never give up forces me to continue. As I near the top, the wind gusts faster, my pulse quickens, and my pace increases. I see the sunlight shining hard on my destination. Then, finally, the top is here. The view is magnificent. The houses are so tiny. The air smells good. My adrenaline finally fizzes out and an enormous sense of tiredness overcomes me. However, I still want to look out over the edge and see what I came to see. Beautiful.

Mountain hike

In the tradition of Homo sapiens I reject the aspects of nature that do not appeal to me. As the sun sinks and shadows lengthen I run to the warmth of an insulated building. When the sun is high and the air is thick and wavy I coat my skin in the cool water that flows from the shower head in the bathroom. On days when the clouds are heavy and the sky lets loose its hopeful tears I don a suit of rubber or hide behind the glass to enjoy the sound of the roof meeting the water. And when the tears are so cold they solidify I can be coaxed from my bed for a few moments during which I stay bundled in clothing three times as thick as the quilt I sleep under. Even on the best days I soak my skin in sun repellent.

Isabel Hutchens

I almost never consume food that is created by the world around me at this time of year. What is in season in the dead of winter? Rabbits?

A Hike Up A Hill Isabel Hutchens

The first five minutes are full of pain as I struggle to push myself up the face of the mountain. I pause to breath and everything aches. My heart is pounding. my breath is rugged. My legs are shaking. In the distance I can hear feet crunching leaves. I suck in a single breath of the cool mountian air and although it hurts I am happy. The wind whistles, and I hear laughter. I continue trudging onward. As

I put one foot in front of the other I am filled with longing for something I can't define. I can't stop, because it seems to me that by walking I am bringing myself closer to what it is I am longing for. Others catch up and pass me by. I am no longer thinking about anything I only take in the air and place my feet as carefully as I can. When I reach the end of the trail and look out into the huge expanse of the universe, I am at ease.

Prose is supposed to be clear and concise, revealing and lovely and somehow graceful—or so I’ve heard. Prose is not poetry, or song, or loose in structure. Right? You can’t mess around with structure in prose. I think. The rule is sentences, I assume, sentences with words and those whatchamacallits—yes, punctuation, plenty of proper punctuation and grammar to go around. So, what exactly is prose? Is it an essay? A paragraph? A sign on the side of the road? Perhaps a sentence, or questions like this one? What about a novel or a newspaper? And is that all there is to literature? You have your poetry, and that seems easy enough to identify, with stanzas and weird form and it doesn’t fill up the whole page because it’s written in lines. And everything else is prose? That’s it? Seems like a sad way of categorizing to me, like prose is a leftovers dish. But isn’t prose more common than poetry? I don’t read poetry that much, but I read

other stuff all the time. And the “other stuff ”, we just called that prose, right? Prose sounds a little prissy if you ask me. Hard-hitting journalism and news pieces, important literary and academic essays, those god-awful dissertations or overly flamboyant theses and books that grad students write and that I fear I may one day have to face—we call that stuff prose? Really? The word is far too flowery, too delicate and sweet and like I’m-sitting-in-a-garden-readingand-everything-is-just-whimsical. No, no I don’t like this idea of prose at

all. But I must confess that although I’m sure someone’s

Notes on

Prose by Deborah Montes

explained it all to me before, I don’t actually know what it is, or what the word means, or where it comes from. So I suppose my views really aren’t valid. I guess I should just Google it

the 5-7-5 By Deborah Montes

Solid rock, bloodless Yet wide, welcoming, alive The strength that I seek Do a little dance Eat some buttermilk pancakes And take a long nap Oops, forgive me please I find myself insulting An ancient art form Oh but I promise I was sincere, even if Just for one stanza

it’s morning I lie awake in bed and I can’t stop the tears from falling from raining from dripping down my cheeks like sad little waterfalls who am I now? what am I to be? isn’t it the worst to miss something so badly when you haven’t even lost it yet? you’re here, but you aren’t here with me remember my face, my name tell me you were never gone tell me I’m okay find me save me breathe into me I’m awake I’m alive it’s morning

Rosalia Preiss

My Life as a Fish Ever since I was a little child, I always loved the sea. The warmth of the sand, the crashing of the waves, the sweet salt smell of the ocean water. Someday, I thought, someday I’ll be a fish. And every time I worried, I thought of my silver scales bursting through my skin, and my clumsy feet turning into graceful fins, and a big deep breath running through my newfound gills. I would explore the oceans of the world, slipping between the reefs and the bright corals, narrowly avoiding nets and the hungry mouths of sharks, swimming in great schools of my fellow fish. Life would be easy enveloped in water. I would drink through my gills, letting it nourish me, letting it keep me alive. And every night I dreamt of fish. I dreamt of my future adventures. I learned to disconnect from the world, everything and everyone, and sink down to my oceanic solitude. It was peaceful there, so quiet and so alone. That was how I was meant to be, floating along all by myself. I didn’t need anybody or anything to help me. Some days, I still long for the freedom of the fish. I long to burst from the waves, liberated from all responsibilities and cares. No judgment, no cares, just the sea and me. Don’t we all need that sometimes? To be free to float and roam alone? Sometimes, we all need to be fish. So watch my skin turn to scales. Watch my fins burst from my back. Watch my gills split from my neck. Watch me be free. Rosalia Preiss

The Butterfly Effect I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way. Every simple decision that we make determines where we end. There are so many different lives, so many different paths, How do I know if I am choosing the path that will bring me the most joy?

I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way. Every decision I make in a day could change my life Every word I write can inspire a new story Every small action results in a reaction I don’t know where I’m going I’m on my way. I don’t know where I see myself in 15 years. How can I decide what I want when I know nothing? I don’t know the path I’m on, but I’m on a path I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way And I know that somehow it’s the path for me Even if it’s not the right path Because it’s the only f-ing path I see

Denise Gersch

Evan Stone

Evan Stone

Angels, Goats and Haunted Inns: Writers in the NC Mountains