The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:46 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

Going Rogue

By Stephanie Williams Dean

“Don’t worry – your picture’s gonna turn out – unless you go rogue on me,” warned Katy. As a participant in a “follow the leader” workshop with featured artist in Our State Magazine, Katy Podracky, I placed all confidence in her instruction.

I gave Katy’s words thought. I like it – going rogue, that is. I enjoy branching out and doing new things. Every January – I think rogue on interesting activities and plans for a new year. The time’s mine – time to think differently. A time to be uniquely myself– using talents God gave me – participating in hobbies that bring me joy.

When a group of talented scribes formed the writing guild – we racked our brains for a name to call ourselves. When Renegade Writers was suggested – we instantly and unanimously agreed. There was something about that word – renegade.

The word calls forward an image – a unique person who beats to their own drum. She goes her own way. She disregards the usual ways of doing things – stepping outside the crowd. As an outlier – she travels her own path. She has the confidence to express herself in unique ways.

When we refer to a finished product – our art, for instance – that’s one thing. But our spiritual life is very different. We don’t ever want to go rogue on God. Like the shepherd who’s leading his flock – He leads, and we follow. Jesus is the good shepherd who guides and protects his flock. Shepherds don’t drive their flock – instead, leading them to greener pastures.

The Holy Spirit inspired men to write the Scriptures through illumination. Today, the Spirit enables us to understand His truth – and directs us in living according to God’s will by planting truths in our minds. Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help remind them of His teachings – so they’d remember if they strayed from it. John 14:26 reads, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (NIV)

Just One More Bend

By Julie Terry Cartner

My sister and I have always loved to walk on the beach, along the shoreline, water gently lapping at our feet. We could go on for miles, always anticipating the possibilities inherent in the next curve of the shoreline, the next bend to go around. “Let’s just go around one more,” one of us would say to the other, and then we’d laugh because we always knew there’d be another bend, another curve, in front of us to tempt us. After all, there just might be something amazing around the next one.

We might go around a bend and see the skeleton of an old shipwreck. There might be dolphins cavorting in the water. There might be a driftwood log, the wood silvery warm in the sunlight. We might find that special shell or that piece of sea-green beach glass. Maybe there would be a flock of shore birds diving for fish, their black heads shining in the sun, their grey and white feathers fluttering in the breeze. Or, there might be a family of chicks racing back and forth to the water’s edge, or horseshoe crabs, or even blue crabs, their brilliant blue claws glinting in the sunlight. The possibility of any of the wonders of the nautical world taunted us. We never knew what the ebb and flow of the tide would reveal.

Similarly, as I wander through the woods, there are always options as the paths diverge. Should I go left or right? How far should I go? If I take too many branches, will I get lost? But the stronger pull is the desire to see what’s down the next path. What will I see when I get around this curve? I’ll go this way for a while, then I’ll come back and go the other way, or, if I don’t have time, I’ll take the other path another day.  There’s just something about the mystery and fascination of what will be revealed if I take this fork? What’s around the next bend?

A few weeks ago, I had the same feeling as I walked along Soco Creek below Soco Falls in Jackson County, NC. Like countless others who had met the challenging trek down the hill, I had admired and taken many pictures of the beautiful double cascades of Soco Falls, then, with time on my hands, I decided to follow the creek downhill. I’ll just go down a bit, I told myself, then return to the base. Right!  Every hundred feet or so, another small drop would occur, creating mini waterfalls of varying shapes, the water tumbling over rocks, then resting in deep tranquil pools or rushing downward, as if anxious to reach the next drop. Each scene was more beautiful than the last. Sometimes the sun would stream through the droplets of water creating a rainbow, other times the shadows would play with the swirling water causing deep pools of dark green. I never knew what I would find.

So, I continued hiking, the rush of the water, splashing over rocks, the trills of the birds, and the silence that is not the absence of noise, but the absence of man-made noise, filling my senses. I took picture after picture as I traversed the rocky ground, as each new slice of beauty enraptured me. Just one more, I’d promise myself, then three or four drop-offs later, I’d remind myself again, just one more. Hours later, I returned to the base of Soco Falls and rested on a mossy bank while again captivated by the power and beauty of the cascades.

There’s just something about the allure of the next curve, fork, or bend that appeals to the imagination, that pushes us to go a bit farther than planned. Awash in serenity and beauty, I’m almost driven to continue. The siren’s call of what may be beyond the next curve is like the challenge of life itself as we push ourselves to try new things, to experience one adventure after another. For what is life itself but a series of curves and forks that we must navigate? Why not embrace the adventure? Why not, indeed!

Photo Memories

By Gaye Hoots

Cammie gave me a small packet of pictures that had belonged to her father. The first three were of Norman Spry, one of him standing loose-limbed, arms at his side in the front yard of the home where he grew up. Another is of Norman and James Lester Tucker sitting in a swing on the front porch, and the third is of Norman with his back to the camera, wearing a black shirt with Shady Grove Motorcycle Club Advance N.C. written on the back of his shirt.

Roy had a picture of himself wearing a similar shirt with a motorcycle cap, a scarf around his neck, and a large motorcycle belt buckle along with black boots. He was standing proudly in front of a black motorcycle.  I have only a vague memory of the motorcycles, but many stories associated with them. The Potts’ boys and Harvey Zimmerman had motorcycles, as did others.

A picture can trigger many memories. Bob and Norman Spry worked for my dad on the farms, helping get up hay, and other farm chores. Brenda Spry and I started first grade together, and Doug was just ahead of us in school. I remember him cutting up on the bus rides to high school.

My memories of Mildred, the older sister, are more recent. The Spry homeplace joined the home my mother was living in when she had a stroke. Mildred had traveled with Betty Potts, Dub’s widow, and they were friends of Mom. When Mom’s health started declining, Mildred would call her every morning to see how she was feeling; she also cooked meals for Mom and would bring them to the window of her bedroom and pass them in through the window, so Mom didn’t have to carry them through the house. Mildred was the one who alerted Faye that Mom was not answering her phone when she had her stroke.

When Betty Potts was in a long-term care facility, I often took Mildred to visit her, and Mildred invited me to eat at times. The last time she asked me, she was so weak she had to call Doug to finish cooking the meal for us. Currently, I was living in the Hartman house and Brenda and Kenny Burton were near neighbors. Kenny had been a friend of Roy’s for many years.

Mildred told me the story of Brenda’s birth; it was a home birth. Mildred was grown and working at a furniture plant in Lexington, but for some reason, the plant had to send the workers back home that day. Mrs. Grace Spry had a fire going under the wash pot when Mildred got home, and Mildred helped her hang the clothes on an outside line. When they finished, Mrs. Grace told her the baby was coming and asked Mildred to get her dad while Mrs. Grace got a bath. When Mildred returned home her dad went to fetch the doctor, and when he arrived, Mildred took the other children that were home down to a tobacco barn and kept them there until the baby, Brenda, was born. Hard to imagine the conditions women lived with then.

The picture of James Lester Tucker reminded me that he had also worked for my dad, and Daddy must have liked him because when James was in jail for some minor offense, Daddy took me with him to visit. The visitation was in the yard inside a fence, possibly in Salisbury. Those with visitors sat with them around picnic tables in the yard. I had never seen anything like this before, so it made an impression.

The other photos in the pack were of Roy’s graduating senior class at Shady Grove School. Four generations of our family have attended since then. I will do another article on the other photos.

School Starts Again

By Marie Craig

     This is page 40 of the book I wrote, Mary Ellen’s Diary, 1924, which is the imaginary diary of a twelve year old girl in Mocksville writing in her diary in 1924.  Actual newspaper articles from 1924 formed the basis for the book.  (The book is available for purchase at the library for $10.00.)

          Normally, I would be upset about the school year beginning, but this year will be different!  They finally finished our new school building in time to begin again.  Today, September 8, 1924, was the first day of school in this wonderful, huge building.  I used to go watch them slowly construct this, and I can’t believe they’re done!  I read in the paper that the contractor was C.B. Mooney from Mocksville, and that the school cost $60,000!

  It’s called a high school even though all eleven grades go there.  I’m in the seventh grade this year, and my teacher’s name is Miss Willie Robinson.  She is from Troy, South Carolina.  She told us that it is a very small community, much smaller than Mocksville.  She talks slower than we do.  But I think she’ll be a really good teacher for us.  She didn’t give us any homework for the first day, so we were all glad about that.  But we didn’t have a full day in her classroom.  Everybody met first in the wonderful auditorium for a program.  My mother came, too, because she has helped a lot with school from the past years.

  All five ministers were there to celebrate the new school, too, and they all got to talk a little bit to us.  We sang “America” and then had a prayer for a good school year.  The head of my school is Superintendent E.C. Staton.  He’ll also teach mathematics to the high school students.  There are five other teachers in the upper grades.  Miss Johnson teaches English, Miss John teaches Latin and French, Miss Jackson teaches science and history, Mr. Tatum teaches agriculture, and Miss Mauney teaches home economics.  They announced this morning that Miss Mauney would teach classes in home economics at the high school at night to the adult women in Mocksville.  I bet my mother would like to do this.  Not that she needs to learn more homemaking skills, but she would probably like to do this.

  I can’t believe I’ll be in high school next year.  Then the next year, ninth grade, then tenth grade, and then eleventh grade and I’ll graduate.  Wonder what I’ll do after that?  Mercy!  I’ll be 17 years old then – almost old.

  My parents told me that I am very lucky to be able to go to such a new school.  They each went to different one-room schools in the county where all ages of children were taught a few at a time.  That must have been really hard for the teacher to work with so many different subjects and ages of children.  I’ll try to work hard this year and make them proud of me.