Acclaimed North Carolina writer Valerie Nieman will be teaching The Breath of Life: Discovering and Depicting Characters at the Folk School, July 5-10, 2015. This month brings the release of her second poetry collection, "Hotel Worthy."
CP: How long have you taught at the Folk School?
VN: Hard question! I don’t have a great memory for dates. Several years ago, anyway. I began by teaching weekend character development classes and then graduated to a week-long fiction session in 2013. In 2014, I taught a weekend workshop and then spent a week taking a woodworking class – my first taste of being a student at John C. Campbell. What fun! I produced two lovely occasional tables, though I had never before worked with any power tools beyond a drill. The Folk School method definitely works.
CP: What is your favorite Folk School memory?
VN: Can I offer a quilt?
The magnificent elm tree in front of the Orchard House. Cracking thunderstorms. The Whipstitch Sisters rocking the house. The coal-smoke smell from the Blacksmith Shop. “Simple Gifts” sung by a chorus of hungry workers. Purple martins. River cane whispering near the stream. Morning Song. Smiles – always smiles! Enticing smells of Indian cooking emanating from the Cooking Studio. Cohosh berries – “doll’s eyes” – beside the path. Learning to contra dance. Bees working the gardens. Creaking floors at the Keith House. The dinner bell. Mist on the fields. The sound of hammered dulcimers. Wild blackberries!