Memorable Moments from Write Comes to the Cumberlands

Write Comes to the Cumberlands was held this past Saturday in Turkey Cove, at my friend Elizabeth’s old farmhouse. We had six writers, and a lot of fun. Here is a guest blog from Angelic, one of the participants who traveled from Missouri to be with us.

Elizabeth sighed contentedly from the back seat and I could hear the smile in her voice, “I’ve always loved Big Stone Gap, but I have to say that it’s even better since Jack and Wendy came.”  This was one of the more memorable moments of Write Comes to the Cumberlands for me.  I feel the same way – only different.

A week or so prior, Wendy had left me a note on Facebook wanting to know what I was looking for from the workshop, if I had something I was working on or was I hoping to start something new.  I hastily touch-screened a reply back to her on my cell phone in between phone calls and emails at work, blithering disconnectedly about blogging for my own bookstore, writing my life story, and making time to write in the first place.  She came back with a succinct version of “I think I heard you say….” And I responded with my even shorter confirmation of, “Wow. You’re good.”

However, I sat dumbfounded at the desk in my room the morning of the workshop– I had no idea what to write.  Wendy had started the day with a printed itinerary that included slots for each attendee to spend time one-on-one with her – I absolutely had to come up with SOMETHING.  Wendy’s words came back to me, “Build your word count.” “But with what?” I puzzled inwardly.  Wendy had said, “It’s like stringing a bowl of beads together.”  I checked my phone, where I kept my lists and notes, for a ‘bead’ of inspiration.  I felt compelled to come up with material for my bookstore blog, but these ‘beads’ were dull – ‘make bed’, ‘do laundry’, ‘price books’ – not real exciting stuff there.  Wendy’s words came back to me again, “Just get it down, don’t look, don’t edit, just keep writing.”  She was assuming I had a bowl of beads.  And I didn’t even have a shot glass of beads.

Right before we left for the workshop, I had grabbed a blank notebook that I found and tossed into my overnight bag for something to write on.  I opened it now just to be moving in the right direction. The notebook wasn’t blank after all.  I recognized the writing as my own and began to read.  It was an entry I’d written shortly after my mother’s death.  The tears began to flow – and so did the words – and I started stringing the ‘beads’ together, writing my story – another memorable moment from Write Comes to the Cumberlands.

After lunch, we all decided it would be a good idea to take a quick walk to fend off the desire to nod off during our afternoon session of writing.  Wendy led us down the gravel road towards some bridge I didn’t catch the name of, strolling leisurely a few yards ahead with fellow workshop attendees, Martha and Cathie.  My husband and I chatted with Mary, another workshop attendee, taking our time, enjoying the company and the weather. It was a beautiful day, mist rising off the mountains, butterflies fluttering about en masse, the sun toasting the tops of our heads  from above.

Wendy paused as we neared the top of a hill, turning toward us. “We’re about two-thirds of the way there.  Do we want to keep going?  Or…?”  We started to hem and haw, but were cut short by a crack of thunder so abrupt and so close, we all spun around on our heels like synchronized swimmers, laughing nervously as we made haste back to the farmhouse, Wendy chortling, “You can’t make this stuff up!”

Thankfully, I didn’t have to make anything up for this guest blog.  Elizabeth was right, I’ve always loved writing, but I have to say, it’s even better since Write Comes to the Cumberlands.

It was Wendy’s Idea

Wendy says it was my idea.  I’m sure it was hers.

Well, anyway, I guess I should introduce myself.  I am her ER doc friend, Elizabeth, and I live in a fabulous, mid 20th century house in a suburb of Big Stone Gap (aka a rural area of Lee County).  So, Wendy occasionally does writing workshops.  And ONE of us suggested that my place would be IDEAL for such an activity. *coughWendycough*

JaneJetsonWhen we moved into this house, the woman who built it had just died and her children were selling it.  Some things had been redecorated, but mostly not.  It still had the original drapes in the living room, the original flocked wallpaper in the entry hall.  It has a white bath, a pink bath and a green half-bath.  It has steel cabinets in the kitchen.  It has a ceiling light in the breakfast area that looks to me like something Jane Jetson would wear on her head!

It is surrounded by several hundred acres of cow pasture and hayfields.  There is a small community behind my 5 acres, with modest homes and double wide trailers, whose inhabitants come out of the woodwork on their ATVs with the first hint of pretty weather. (Our road is gravel, so not much actual traffic!)frontyard

The garden was started by Frona, 60 years ago.  She planned the layout and planted the perennials.  Every year is a journey of discovery with new flowers that must have been dormant in the previous years and with the plants I have added.


So, if you are interested in writing, Wendy is ready to mentor you at this workshop.  There are beds and sofas for you to sleep on and we are excited about sharing our little corner of Eden with you.

You can contact us through the Tales of the Lonesome Pine Bookstore Facebook page for more information.  You can see pictures of my place on my Facebook page, Elizabeth Cooperstein, in Big Stone Gap, VA.