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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Storytelling Contest

Posted October 22, 2008 9:16 a.m. EDT

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.