No. 180       Jan. 2011             82 Highland St., Weaverville, NC 28787             Editor: Pete Koschnick

                             A publication of the Asheville Storytelling Circle

The Unfurling of a Gift……… Connie Regan-Blake
        Some gifts come in unex-        the focal point of the weekend.         made their first flight! We were
pected packages. A few years ago,                Once inside our home,          right there to witness that mo-
my siblings gathered to celebrate                                               ment too. We named them
                                        the little pods turned from a
an early Christmas with my hus-                                                 ‘Leon’ and ‘Noel.’ The pair
                                        bright green to a blackish color,
band Phil and me. My brother                                                    spent the next few days flitting
                                        with a ring of decorative dots that
Gordon, and his wife, Mary Alice        looked like gold filigree. They fit     around in our bay window, din-
drove up from Florida and my                                                    ing on a saucer of water and
                                        right in with the Christmas glow
sister Bonnie came in from Geor-        of sparkling lights and holiday         drinking in the nectar of fresh
gia. It was the first time all of us                                            blooming amaryllis and daisies.
                                        ornaments. With chairs pulled
had been together in our Ashe-
                                        up close, we all took turns gazing               The third chrysalis waited
ville, NC home during the win-          at the wonders of this dark new         for its own perfect timing. Its
tertime holidays and Phil and I
                                        life – knowing it was in the proc-      curtain rose at 10:30 pm on
were excited to welcome them.           ess of becoming. We called each         Christmas evening – and only
         My brother had been            other over to witness each stage        Phil and I had front row seats
'raising' Monarch butterflies.          of change. The design and color         this time. We sat and watched
One of the Christmas gifts he           of the intricate wings gradually        with silent awe and inspiration.
planned for us was a milkweed           appeared through the translucent        Change can happen in a blink of
plant that serves as an ‘incubator’     pod - a slow movement with sev-         an eye, in the flutter of a wing –
for the Monarchs – its leaves help      eral long intermissions.                and as the fortunate beholders,
fatten up the caterpillars and the                                              we were transformed.
                                                But then two of the main
Spring orange blooms are sweet
                                        characters emerged - the                         May the coming New
nectar for the regal butterflies.       'unfurling' happened very quickly       Year unfurl with the gift of hope
When he was packing the car, he
                                        and it could have been easy to          and the promise of peace for all
noticed the milkweed pot had a          miss. We all felt privileged to see     of us - and for the world. Hope
chrysalis dangling from it; then
                                        them come to life. They emerged         our paths will cross in 2011.
he spotted another one on the
                                        wet, crumpled and fragile - and so
leaves; and another! Three chrys-                                               Cheers!
                                        beautiful! It took my breath
alides attached to our gift.                                                    Connie
                                        away! Those two butterflies spent
         So the butterflies-to-be       the next 4- 5 hours hanging on,         We do not remember days.
made the 452 mile journey to the        drying off, all the while, unfold-
chilly mountains of North Caro-         ing and flexing their wings.            We remember moments.
lina, riding on the back seat of a                                              Cesare Pavese (1908-1950)
                                                Then came Act 2 (or was
4 door sedan. Their simple              it Act 5 by then!) when they
drama of transformation became
Page 2                                                                                                 The Storytelling Chronicle

Greetings From The Editorial QWERT Y Keyboard ……………… Pete Koschnick
.          Happy New Year all you lovely      riod the Wilhelm the 1st of Prussia         Last Stand), and this was still the native
tellers of tales. Here's hoping everyone      longed to join the unified Germany of       stomping grounds of Sioux and Chey-
had a wonderful holiday season despite        Count Otto Von Bismarck. There had          enne warriors. There were raids and
the cancellation of our Christmas party.      been huge class riots in Prussia for        conflicts, and the imagination of Ferdi-
Personally I had a wonderful time this        twenty years as industrialists decimated    nand was inflamed. In 1873 he ran off
year. My youngest daughter, Silvija, flew     the farms for factories and marginalized    to the west, eventually marrying a Sho-
out from Portland, Oregon. We haven't         the common people. Hoping for a war         shone woman (with out bothering to
had one of the kids to our house for          with France, Prussia introduced a mas-      divorce his wife in Minnesota by whom
Christmas since 2005 so this was a real       sive campaign of conscription which         he already had one daughter). He set-
treat for my wife and me. We decked           forced nearly all the young men in the      tled in San Francisco and, when his new
the halls and went out Christmas Eve to       country to become soldiers. The newspa-     wife bore him a daughter, he sent the
get a tree (an old family tradition dating    pers of the day played up alleged insults   girl back east to be raised by his first
from the days when I was too poor to          between the Prussian king and the           wife. This girl was my grandmother, and
buy one at full price. Those trees get real   French ambassador, inflaming public         like her sister she was given a name
cheap at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24). After trim-      opinion on both sides. France mobi-         from opera and art, from Cassatt's Lydia
ming the tree and attending the candle        lized, and on 19 July 1870 declared war     Leaning on Her Arms, Seated in Loge
light service at my church, we went           on Prussia.                                 ,which depicts a young woman en-
home for cocoa and a little stocking                                                      thralled by an opera. As I say, Ferdinand
                                                        Enter into this an American
stuffing. Sitting before the fire, the con-                                               was massively literate and more then a
                                              salesman, a Yankee huckster of the fin-
versation turned to family and I was                                                      little pretentious. After his Shoshone
                                              est degree. American speculators had
compelled to tell the story of my                                                         wife died of tuberculosis he returned to
                                              bought up huge tracts of land in the
mother's family and their flight from                                                     Minnesota.
                                              northern great plains from the Dakotas
Prussia in 1870.
                                              to Wisconsin. They controlled millions                 I cobbled this tale together
           From a small village outside of    of acres needing only farmers to lease      from family hints, faded documents,
Konigsberg, these were a people steeped       the land, plow the fields, and buy every-   and the two remaining bits of Ferdi-
in political and religious liberalism. One    thing from the company store. Between       nand that exist. There is an album of
of my ancestors, Heinrik, was the Lu-         them, Heinrik, Ferdinand, and the sales-    pen and ink drawings, characters from
theran minister of the town (the son          man convinced the entire village to emi-    his life, which he drew for his grand
and grandson of Lutheran ministers),          grate enmass.                               children in the late 1910's, and a ragged,
another, Ferdinand, was the son of a                                                      leather-bound book with marbled end
                                                        Thus they found themselves in
failing local farmer. Ferdinand was mas-                                                  pages and a flaking gold leaf title, a col-
                                              the middle of the Minnesota wilderness,
sively literate, considered him self an                                                   lection of short stories in French. I have
                                              in a town where only German was spo-
artist, and was, I imagine, a man ever                                                    held that book, closed my eyes, and
                                              ken and where sausage and sauerkraut
looking at the horizon and dreaming of                                                    imagined Ferdinand reading by camp-
                                              were held in the highest regard. Bare in
what was beyond (my great aunt de-                                                        fire light some where in the Utah wil-
                                              mind that this was six years before the
scribed him as having " ginger in his                                                     derness, the ginger in his pants urging
                                              Battle of Little Big Horn (aka Custer's
pants"). It was obvious during this pe-                                                   him ever Westward.

A Dog's New Year's Resolutions …………………………….…Unknown
         I will not bark each time I see or hear a dog on TV.
         I will not steal underwear belonging to my mistress and then dance all over the back
         yard with it.
         I will not chew red crayons or pens, because my master will think that I am hemor-
         I will not roll my toys behind the fridge.
         I must shake the rainwater out of my coat BEFORE I enter the house.
         I will not chase that stick unless I actually see it leave my owner's hand.
No. 180                                                                                              Page 3

A New Year’s Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anonymous
                                                                                     New Year's Day:
Dear Lord, please give me…                                                            Now is the ac-
  A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;
                                                                                     cepted time to
  A work to do which has real value,
     without which the world would be the poorer;                                   make your regular
  A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;                   annual good reso-
  An understanding heart;                                                             lutions. Next
  A sense of humor;                                                                 week you can be-
  Time for quiet, silent meditation;                                                 gin paving hell
  A feeling of the presence of God;                                                   with them as
  The patience to wait for the coming of these things.
                                                                                       Mark Twain

How to Tell That You have Entered 2011:
-You hear most of your jokes via e-mail instead of in person.
-Your grandmother clogs up your e-mail inbox asking you to
                                                                                    Good resolutions
send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a
screen saver.                                                                       are simply checks
-You enter your password on the microwave.
                                                                                    that men draw on
                                                                                      a bank where
-You haven't played solitaire with a real deck of cards in
years.                                                                               they have no ac-
-You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of
four.                                                                                  Oscar Wilde
-You chat several times a day with a stranger from Canada,
but you haven't spoken with your next door neighbor all last
-You check the ingredients on a can of chicken noodle soup to
see if it contains Echinacea.                                                       Every New Year is
-You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to                        the direct descen-
see if anyone is home.                                                              dant, isn't it, of a
-You buy a computer and a week later it is out of date and                             long line of
now sells for half the price you paid.                                              proven criminals?
-The concept of using real money instead of credit or debit to
make a purchase is foreign to you.                                                     Ogden Nash
-Your idea of being organized is multi-colored Post-it notes.
Page 4                                                                                                    The Storytelling Chronicle

                                          CALENDAR & EVENTS…
Jan. 9-13 Connie Regan-Blake presents a four-day workshop, “Home Cooked Stories”, during the Key West Literary Seminar in Key
West, Fla., a great place for a winter vacation. 828-258-1113 or

Jan 12       Marvin Cole will present “An Evening With Mark Twain” at 6:30 PM at Big Canoe, Georgia.
Jan. 17     Monthly meeting of ASC at Asheville Terrace, 200 Tunnel Rd., at 7:00 PM.

Jan. 23      Dan Beebe and Ed Sacco perform at Western North Carolina Baptist Home at 2:30 PM.
Jan. 22 4 Bold-Faced Liars’ Showdown at the Storytelling Arts Center
of the Southeast – 131 South Main Street in Laurinburg, NC Afternoon
competition … from 2 -5pm …Evening Concert …7 – 9 pm
For information or to reserve tickets to the event, go online to or call 910-706-3266.
For competition information, registration forms can be found on the
website. Email or call 910-706-3266.

Jan. 28-30 NCSG Winter Workshop with Antonio Rocha at Fort
Caswell, NC. Contact Sandra at 274-1123 for information

 Jan. 28      Connie Regan-Blake
performs at the Black Mountain Ele-
mentary School Storytelling Festival.

 Jan. 28, 29     Michael Reno Harrell
performs at the Pike Piddlers Storytel-
ling Festival at the We Piddle Around
Theater in Brundridge, AL, and at the
Trojan Theater at Troy University in
Troy, AL. More information at a later

          Any ASC member interested in telling at the retirement communities in the area should call Ed Sacco at (828)686-8791.
Page 5                                                                                         The Storytelling Chronicle

                ASC MEETING TIME
    The Asheville Storytelling Circle meets the third                  OFFICERS FOR 2011
  Monday of each month at Asheville Terrace Apart-                     (for membership contact use only)
  ments, 200 Tunnel Road, and begins at 7:00 P.M.
  The next meeting will be January 17 . Come bring a         President: Wayne & Jane Sims
  friend and a story!                                        E-mail:
                                                             (828) 664-1429

                                                             Vice President: MaryAnn Wharton
                Mission Statement                            E-mail:
  The mission of the Asheville Storytelling Circle is
     to affirm our various cultures, nourish the             Vice President/Special Projects: Roselynn Katz
  development of emerging and established artists,           E-mail:
   and promote excellence in the oral traditions.            (828) 299-0748

                                                             Treasurer: Charlie St. Clair
               Newsletter Deadline                           828-253-8377
   Deadline for the February Newsletter will be Jan.
    26 Send regular items , upcoming events, news            Past President: Steven Boyer
          about your activities and stories to               E-mail:
                                                             (828) 658--4151
                  and calendar items to                      Permanent Board Member: and Secretary
                                                              Sandra Gudger
               gudgers@bellsouth,net.                        E-mail:
                                                             (828) 274-1123

A Storytelling Opportunity
        Sara Lynch-                         pecially Appalachia. The              a few short tales that would
Thomason, a resident activist               event will be a fundraiser, so        be wonderful. The event
and ballad singer in the Ashe-              she can't promise money,              would be on Saturday, April
ville area, visited the story-              though if there is a minimal          30th, 2011 starting at
tellers circle last year and                fee she would consider it (as         7:00pm.
was very impressed by the                   an artist and singer, she's
                                                                                          Sara is hoping to at-
stories she heard there and in              well aware that we all gotta          tend the next Asheville Story-
return offered us a short bal-              eat).
                                                                                  tellers Meeting on January
                                                    She would like to have        17th to talk more about the
       She is setting up an                 a more children-oriented hour         event and generate inter-
event centered around May                   at the beginning that primarily       est/feedback. You can con-
Day at Firestorm Cafe and                   utilizes storytelling based           tact her at
Books. Using music (mostly                  around the general themes of
vocal) it will focus on labor,              liberation and so-
environmental and revolution-               cial/environmental justice. If
ary history in the U.S. and es-             anyone is interested in telling
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