Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family Survived Katrina - GG's Fine Foods is dream come true.

I tracked down GG, ( Linda Gibson), at a Farmer’s Market where she had entered a pie contest. “What kind of pie,” I asked on the phone.
Crawfish pie,” she said in her soft southern Louisiana voice. The pie is made with the tail of the crawfish and  in a cream sauce. It comes in a pie crust she makes from scratch. The perfect seasonings come from her grandmother who could not read or write. As a child, Linda observed and learned how to mix the seasoning. She has bottled and named her grandmother’s mixture, Bodacious Creole Seasoning, which is sold in stores. On the day of our conversation, Linda was in talks with Whole Foods about carrying her products.  
GG, Linda Gibson


The Gibson family, Linda, her three children and her husband, are Katrina survivors who sought refuge in the north Fulton area of Atlanta after the storm decimated their home and fledgling restaurant in New Orleans. The family had lived in New Orleans East, and she said that neighborhood is just now, nine years later, beginning to come to life again.

I have kept up with Linda Gibson through my sister, GayMoring, who came into Linda’s life “at its lowest point” and worked diligently to help her find shelter, furniture and funds to pay off debts. The Presbyterian Church my sister attended generously provided an amount of cash, and Gay gave time and extra effort to raise more money.

“If it hadn’t been for the love and kindness of Gay and her church, I wouldn’t have made it,” Linda told me.
Gay Moring was taken with Linda Gibson’s tenacity, her persistence in following her dream of owning and running a restaurant to make a living for her family. Gay, with help from Stu, her husband, asked friends and acquaintances to make cash donations to help the Gibson family. Caring people from here as well as in Atlanta area sent checks and notes, proving that we still have those who believe in helping those who are less fortunate, even when they are strangers in need.

“I felt like a foreigner in a foreign land,” Linda said about trying to find her way around Roswell and Alpharetta, GA. She appreciates Gay and all those who showed compassion for her family.

 “It was frightening, like going into the unknown,” Linda remembers. She had never lived anywhere but New Orleans. The city was her home. For a long time Linda yearned to go back, but she knew there was nothing for her there. The emotional strain of losing all that was familiar and all her worldly possessions took a toll on her.  Eventually she had to let her flooded home go as it was impossible to try to save it. She realized that her future was in Georgia, but it was not easy to accept.
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Raised by a single mom and a grandmother, Linda credits her grandmother’s seasonings of her Creole food to the success of the three-year-old restaurant she had before Katrina destroyed it. People would stand in line each day just to get her seafood gumbo and her crawfish pie. Starting a restaurant takes money but all was lost when Katrina blew into town. 

Linda is very grateful to her Lord. “I have embraced this incredible gift given to me by God, the ability to prepare food that people love to eat.”

Linda Gibson cooks now in a commercial kitchen in Woodstock, GA but sells her “dishes to go” in a store front at 34 Webb Street in Roswell, GA. Her oldest daughter graduated from Tulane and is marketing manager for the restaurant. Another daughter joined the military and serves in the U.S. Army.
The only boy in the family has disabilities but he works in the restaurant. He is her “heavy lifter” she said, and she could not get along without him. “He is the best son anyone could ever have. He never gives me any trouble.”

During the dark days after Katrina, Linda and her husband handled their grief in different ways.  As often happens after a tragedy, the couple separated. But they are back together, supporting each other, again.

“He hangs sheet rock and paints and helps keep the family afloat,” Linda told me with a laugh. He also helps with the restaurant.

“I met many wonderful people who showed such a lot of love during those difficult times," Linda said. "I will never forget them and many of them kept in touch. Some of them became good friends."

A year after Katrina, Linda opened a second restaurant in Woodstock, but she said she was blindsided by the recession. That hit her hard. Now GG's Fine Foods in Roswell, her third effort to share her love of Creole cooking, is growing by word of mouth. Her products are sold in some Kroger stores and she hopes to one day have them in stores all over the country. This video interview with Linda and a few of her customers will entice anyone who loves New Orleans food to stop in and take home their favorites. 

In September, Linda Gibson will have a book signing at the store on Webb Street. She has written a cookbook with her favorite recipes of Southern, Creole and Cajun flavors. Stay tuned for the date and if you live in the area, be sure to stop in and meet a strong woman who refused to give up her dream. 

It takes courage to keep striving when it seems that all is lost, and it takes courage to ask for help when you must. While the restaurant business is not easy, and Linda has overcome great odds to be where she is today, I’m betting on this woman and her family. 

Visit Linda's website  www.ggsfinefoods.com   

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Article by Lucy Gratton - Rice and Beall read at JCCFS

JOHN CAMPBELL FOLK SCHOOL
              On Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM, John Campbell Folk School and N.C. Writers Network West are sponsoring The Literary Hour, an hour of poetry and prose reading held at Keith House on the JCFS campus. This is being held on the third Thursday of the month unless otherwise notified.  The reading is free of charge and open to the public.  Writers Estelle Rice and Glenda Beall will be the featured readers, both of whom are well established poets in the mountain area. 
    
ESTELLE RICE

Estelle Rice, author of Quiet Times, a book of poetry, is a well-published writer whose short stories have appeared in The Appalachian Heritage Journal, the Journal of Kentucky Studies, and in anthologies and magazines, including Lights in the Mountains and Echoes Across the Blue Ridge.

She is a native North Carolinian, born in Rock y Mount and raised in Charlotte. She now lives in Marble, NC. Estelle received her BA in psychology from Queens University in Charlotte and a MA in counseling from the University of South Alabama. She is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor. Although she is a full-time caregiver for her husband now, she still attends writing workshops and continues to create poems and stories. Her poetry has been published in The Back Porch, the Freeing Jonah series and others.
Estelle has been a member of  the North Carolina Writers’ Network West for many years and has endeared herself to her friends and co-writers alike.


GLENDA BEALL

Glenda Beall’s poems, essays and short stories have been published in numerous literary journals and magazines including, Reunions Magazine, Main Street Rag, Appalachian Heritage, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Dead Mule, School of Southern Literature and Wild Goose Poetry Review. Her poems have been anthologized in Lights in the Mountains, The Best of Poetry Hickory Series, 2011, Kakalak: North Carolina Poets of 2009, and Women’s Spaces, Women’s Places, among others.

Glenda enjoys writing articles for newspapers on subjects that are important to her such as indoor air pollution and spaying and neutering pets. She supports animal rescue shelters with her articles. She  taught memoir writing at John C. Campbell Folk School for several years. She also teaches writing at Tri-County Community College.

Glenda served as program director of North Carolina Writers’ Network West in 2007 and 2008, and is now Clay County Representative for NCWN West.  Glenda is author of  NOW MIGHT AS WELL BE THEN, poetry published by Finishing Line Press, and she compiled a family history,  PROFILES AND PEDIGREES, THOMAS CHARLES COUNCIL AND HIS DESCENDANTS, published by Genealogy Publishing Company.

Glenda is Owner/Director of Writers Circle where she invites those interested in writing poetry or prose to her home studio for classes taught by some of the best poets and writers in the area.  Find her online at
www.glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com and www.profilesandpedigrees.blogspot.com







Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pat Conroy said:

“American men are allotted just as many tears as American women. But because we are forbidden to shed them, we die long before women do, with our hearts exploding or our blood pressure rising or our livers eaten away by alcohol because that lake of grief inside us has no outlet. We, men, die because our faces were not watered enough.”
Pat Conroy, Beach Music

Monday, August 4, 2014

Outstanding poets and poetry at Writers Night Out August 9

Rosemary Royston and Karen Paul Holmes, both well-published poets, will read from their new books at this month’s Writers’ Night Out at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, GA. The two plan to do a coordinated reading, alternating their poems on similar subjects. The event takes place on August 9 with a social hour at 6 p.m. (dinner available for purchase) and reading at 7 p.m.  An open microphone follows for those who’d like to read their own writing. The public is welcome to this free event.


Karen Paul Holmes, founder and host of Writers’ Night Out, is a freelance writer, poet and teacher whose new poetry collection, Untying the Knot, was recently released by Aldrich Press and is available on Amazon. It’s a story of loss and healing, written, as one reviewer put it, “with grace, humor and without a dollop of self pity.” Holmes teaches at Writer’s Circle in Hayesville, NC, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. She also hosts a poetry workshop in Atlanta. Publishing credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia. She won a poetry grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation in 2012.

Rosemary Royston holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and teaches at Young Harris College. Her poetry chapbook, Splitting the Soil (available through Finishing Line Press and Amazon) has been described as “Spiritual, sassy, smart, and so sure for a first collection.” Her poetry has appeared in many places, including Southern Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Town Creek, KUDZU, New Southerner, Dark Sky Magazine, and the Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia. Two of her essays are included in Women and Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland)

Writers’ Night Outis sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West and normally takes place on the second Saturday of the month (third Saturday in October). Prose writers or poets wishing to participate in the open mic can sign up at the door to read for three minutes. The four-year-old event recently moved at the Union County Community Center at Butternut Creek Golf Course, 129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76, phone (706) 439-6092.  Signs will be posted to direct attendees to either the upstairs ballroom or A-B conference room for the event. For more information, please contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or kpaulholmes@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I'm Scared. Aren't we all?

With a new class coming up at TCCC in August, I was reminded of a post by Nancy Purcell, wonderful writer and teacher from Brevard, NC.





We are all afraid of something and many of us live our lives in fear of making mistakes, disappointing others, making a fool of ourselves and looking ridiculous, not having the talent to follow our dreams and so we don't take any risks or try to do what we want. 

Nancy's article is for all of us who halfway live our lives. How many never follow their passions and fulfill their hopes for themselves? Don't let it be you.

Writing class will be held at Tri-County Community College, Murphy, NC 
August 5 - 26, Tuesday afternoons, 6 - 8 p.m.
Contact Lisa now to register.  Lthompson@tricountycc.edu


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Write What You Like. Tuesdays at Tri-County Community College

Tri-county Community College

21 Campus Circle, Murphy, NC 28906

August 5 – August 26 -- Tuesdays


6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m

 $29

Write What You Like: Fiction, Memoir, Articles – Fulfilling Writing Dreams & Goals, Creating New Writing, Revising & Polishing Your Writing:
  • This class is designed to help you fulfill your writing goals.
  • See what mistakes editors most often find in submissions and learn how to avoid them.
  • Gain the knowledge, inspiration and motivation you need to put your words on paper.
  • Each week writing prompts will generate material for new writing or further a piece in process.
  • Through examples of accomplished writers, you’ll learn techniques to aid you right where you are in the process.
  • You'll also get feedback on your work and learn revision tools.
  • Small class with interaction and feedback from teacher and other students

Instructor: Glenda C. Beall, published author and poet, experienced teacher and blogger. 
Owner/Director of Writers Circle Studio

Register now: Contact -Lisa Long
Director of Community Outreach
828) 835-4241

Monday, July 14, 2014

Karen Paul Holmes to teach weekend class at Folk School August 1 -3

Take note! If you have not attended a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School, where I attended writing classes for the past 19 years, this is an excellent time to come and take a class from poet and writer, Karen Holmes.

Karen Paul Holmes to Teach Weekend All-Genre Writing Class

Your Write Time
Itching to write, but can't find time? Or do you need a jumpstart to get you going? Give yourself the gift of a weekend devoted to writing. The instructor will provide inspiration, encouragement, writing prompts, editing tips, and one-on-one coaching. The Folk School provides the creative energy. Write here, then go home motivated to write more! For prose (fiction, non-fiction, memoir, blogging) or poetry. All levels welcome.

Ask the Folk School about 1/2 price tuition if you live in a near-by county.

Aug 1-Aug 3
For more info on the Folk School website, click here.  
or email kpaulholmesATgmailDOTCOM

Monday, July 7, 2014

Poets and Writers - July 9 - You are invited!

Coffee with the Poets and Writers is a monthly literary event held at Blue Mountain Restaurant in Cherokee County, NC on the corner of Hwy141 and Hwy 64.

On Wednesday, July 9, I, Glenda Beall, will read my poetry, some older poems and many new poems. I look forward to being at CWPW as I  have missed the last two meetings due to illness. We have had fun at this get-together of writers and those who enjoy writing for seven years.

One of my favorite guests is a man who recites poetry he memorized years ago. Some are clever, some are poignant and some are touching. He is a man who loves poetry and comes to listen and to share his favorites. 

At our open microphone session guests read a poem or a short prose piece. We give away door prizes - usually books of poetry- to some lucky person who signs our guest list.

This event is sponsored by NCWN West, our mountain chapter of the North Carolina Writers' Network, which also sponsors Writers Night Out facilitated by Karen Holmes.and held monthly in Blairsville, GA.

Everyone is invited to come out at 10:30  a.m. July 9 and participate in Open Mic and stay for lunch with us. See you soon.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Folk School Reading with Ledford and Simpson

Brenda Kay Ledford and Nancy Simpson gave delightful poetry readings tonight at the  John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. Several folk school students were present and many were from New York City. 


Brenda fulfilled their interests in mountain people and Appalachia with her poems about rural life, with images of nature, mountains, quilts, and lifestyles of her own family. Brenda has won many awards for her poetry and its historical value to this region.

Nancy Simpson has been writing and working on a new manuscript. She read some recently written poems and some of the older poems published in literary magazines and in her three poetry books.

Lucy Gratton prepared a program for the guests attending tonight's event. This monthly reading is sponsored by the North Carolina  Writers' Network West, the  mountain chapter of the state literary organization.  A large crowd turned out for two of our area's most prolific and most popular poets. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blue Ridge Mountain Poet featured

Blogger and poet, Brenda Kay Ledford, posted an interesting photo essay on Byron Herbert Reece and the farm and heritage center recently built to honor his life. 


Thanks Brenda Kay for sharing your excellent photography and facts about the outstanding mountain poet. I think his life would make an excellent movie for Hallmark.