Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Storytelling Contest

Posted October 22, 2008

What happened to the art and craft of storytelling? Is it dying a slow death in this age of instant and pithy communication?

Well, do yourself a favor tonight if you're headed over to the State Fair in West Raleigh. Sure, go ahead and feast on the food of the midway. But also feed your heart, soul and imagination by visiting the Folk Festival Tent. Tonight at 6:00 Emmy Award winning storyteller Willa Brigham will weave her high energy magic for young and old alike. Willa is a wonderful speaker with a wealth of stories, poems and songs. Willa is one of several excellent storytellers who have been delighting audiences at the fair this week. If you can't catch Willa tonight there will be another storytelling session Thursday and Friday night at 6:00PM. The weekend storytelling sessions begin at 7:00PM.

The NC Department of Cultural Resources is sponsoring the “storyfest” as a reminder that we all have a story to tell. What is your story? I invite you to write a poem about autumn and share it with our Carolina Conversations bloggers. Judges will declare a winner of the contest early next week. That person will get a copy of my new book and companion CD Blue Ridge Reunion.

I’ll get things rolling with a poem from my book. It was inspired by one of my father’s watercolors and childhood memories of autumn in the mountains.

Autumn fields and pumpkin dreams,
Burley tobacco in the barn,
Orchards ablaze with juicy orbs,
Plowing, preparing and putting things away,
There's blanching, boiling and baking to do,
Canning, combing and country cleaning,
Root cellars and farmhouse dwellers,
Christmas trees and honeybees,
Hay rides and mountain pride,
Wheats and oats and Grandpa's quotes,
About life and luck when the lightning struck,
Hog kills and grist mills,
Cider and silos and sorghum syrup,
Working hard and making lard,
Hitch a mule for four-legged fuel,
Frosty dreams of trout and streams.


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  • green_eyes Oct 23, 2008

    A kaleidoscope of falling leaves.Brilliant colors of orange and gold. Like flames upon the ground. Embers without light or heat. Mother Nature paints her canvas. Summer green is now a faded memory.

  • murdock Oct 23, 2008

    I don't think I mentioned that my poem is an acrostic.

  • murdock Oct 23, 2008

    All the days are getting shorter.
    Under your shoes are the crackling leaves.
    There is crispness in the air.
    United in the quest for trophies and meat are hunters
    Multi-colored harvests abound.
    November is almost here.

  • LMRA Oct 23, 2008

    This isn't exactly a poem - it's a quote from Bart Giamatti who was once the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. It contains several other seasons but it is one of the reasons I sometimes get sad in the Fall . . .

    Baseball - It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

  • Zelda Oct 23, 2008

    Check this out re story telling (

    Tuesday, October 28th Theme: Siblings
    Stories at 7:30pm, doors open at 6:30
    Spice Street
    Chapel Hill, NC

    Admission: $7
    Students $5

    Tickets on sale now.

  • tangerine Oct 23, 2008

    Autumn breezes float through the trees,
    And sparse leaves of green & gold flutter to the earth.
    The sparkly hue that is summer fades into memory,
    As nature's tapestry reveals its worth.

  • fishnett5977 Oct 22, 2008

    What's that sound? The sound of leaves crunch,crunching under your feet as you head down a country "hog path". The smell of the pines, the smell of fresh dug sweet potatoes resting in the sun. The seasonal smell of cotten fields, laying bare with but the snow white boles on the plant. They look to me as a field blanketed in snow this time of year! The cry of the geese,as some wing their way south. The noisey tweets,twitters, and peeps of birds, they too are heading to warmer climes. The stillness of the evenings, the sun now lower in the skies than just a month ago. The peaceful grace of a leaf falling, it's golden and red hues, reflected in the evening light. The knowing,even if you were blind, that the season is changing, evolving, becoming colder, and knowing that winter will soon be here...

  • cornfused Oct 22, 2008

    The season changes with the color of the leaves.
    So much has changed since last autumn.
    Daddy was tired of fighting his disease,
    And has gone on to his home in Heaven.
    As the time goes by and seasons change,
    His memory lives on in our soul.
    And as the leaves fall from the trees, They keep me warm from the cold.

  • bleslie Oct 22, 2008

    Don't be afraid. Step right up and give it a try. Surely, we have some more poets out there!

  • blytle Oct 22, 2008

    What is Autumn?

    That first, crisp feel of cold in the air;
    Folks asking you, “are you goin’ to the fair?”
    The leaves on the trees with the light cool breeze,
    Turning colors so spectacular with such seeming ease.
    It’s a time for sweaters and warm comfort food
    Like meatloaf or soup – whatever fits your mood.
    It’s football and homecoming and Halloween, too And before you know it, before you say “boo,” The leaves will be stripped from the trees, they’ll be bare And the crispness is replaced with pure cold in the air. The days will grow shorter and soon we will hear Over the river and through the woods ‘cause Thanksgiving is here.

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Bill Leslie