My small convent school had very strict rules.  There were rules that only made sense when you understood the establishment was "A School for Young Ladies."  It said so on the sign swinging by the gate at the end of the gravel drive.  Most schools in England had uniforms, in those days, and I am in favor of simple uniform, as it reduces competition among pupils in the fashion department, but our uniform included hats, socks, blazers, ties, gymslips, dresses, and gloves.  Not wearing one's gloves when arriving or leaving the property amounted to an offense to be dealt with by the headmistress herself.  Officially, we were supposed to wear navy blue underwear, but that was one item the nuns never checked.  Ladylike behavior precluded the chance of an accidental sighting.

When the annual school outing, to the Royal Tournament or The Championships, Wimbledon , was announced, one of the first questions asked was, "Do we have to wear our hats and gloves?"  The answer was, usually, no.  The excursions were usually in early July, near the end of the school year, this meant the upturned bowls with brims we wore on our heads were straw, with the school's ribbon and crest, and the gloves were white.  The hats were ugly. The gloves were hot in summer.  At least the even more hideous winter navy hats kept the rain off, and the wooly navy gloves kept your hands warm.  To be out in the world, in our blue and white polka dot dresses, with no hat or gloves, felt positively liberated.

Some of the rules were quite practical.  Walk, don't run, down the highly polished corridors, keep to the left and in single file.  This kept order and avoided accidents.  What a joy it was to have days when those rules could be ignored.  Such as on the day of the annual bazaar, when we walked, in the company of parents and others, several abreast down the middle. Thrills of excitement rippled through us, when the those seniors leaving thumped their way along the upstairs passage, then the lower one, doing the "bunny hop"--"a one, a two, a one, two, three"--still in single file, of course.  And when the last bell had rung, on the last day of the school year, we dared to run into a glorious slide, doubting we would be punished, along the slick floors.

Breaking the rules of writing can also be a heady experience, on one condition: the author knows the rules well before smashing or slicing them to pieces.  The most obvious rules of writing are those of grammar and spelling, and I'm sure I don't need to mention those to you, dear readers, but there are plenty of others.  In fiction, head skipping, or jumping from one point of view to another, in a single scene, is frowned upon for good reason.  It can be confusing and a distraction to the story.  Poets must avoid forcing a rhyme, with awkward constructions, or using "thee" and "thou".  Nonfiction writers must not make things up and call it fact.  Though it's hard to imagine, there may be legitimate ways to break all these rules, and it may be called great literature.

With regard to TMW's rules for the annual contest, there can be no rule breaking.  The rules are not there to save you from an accident, or turn you into young ladies, or gentlemen.  They are there to present the fairest situation for all entrants as possible.  They are there to preserve the anonymity of the authors, so that judging may be unbiased.  They are there to discourage perennial winners from taking the prizes every year, and to open the field.  They are there to maintain the most ethical competition TMW can devise.  Sometimes, TMW sees a new way to do that, and changes the rules.  Wanda Grooms and her Contest Committee have made some recent adjustments to the rules.  It's not too early to think about your entry for the next competition.  The closing date is February 1st, 2008 , only three and a half months away, and a big chunk of that time will be consumed by the buying, cooking and eating of turkeys. Imagine yourself hearing your name announced at the awards banquet of the 20th Annual Conference.  Perhaps we can have a record number of entries to celebrate.

But, be warned. Read all the rules at our website-tmwi.org. On this occasion, you must not only recognize your "hat" and "gloves", but you must wear them, and, while you are it, "keep in single file".

   Margaret Pennycook
   Newsletter Editor

: Both Carol Grametbauer and I have referred you to our website.  Unfortunately, our excellent site designer, K'Cindra Cavin, has been busy with vital family matters and some of the information might not be immediately available.  Please don't give up.  K'Cindra will have everything posted as soon as she can.  We beg your understanding and patience.



A new Tennessee Mountain Writers' year is off and running!  It seems like just a few months ago that I said this about our 2006-07 year.  Our Fall Workshop-a poetry critiquing workshop led by Marilyn Kallett on September 29-has already passed; and if you didn't register, we missed you.  But you still have plenty of time to register for January Jumpstart!  Check this newsletter for all the details.

All the plans are in place for our 20th-yes, 20th!-annual conference, scheduled for March 27-29, 2008 .  I can't say this without a HUGE tip of our TMW hat to our founding members: Pat Hope, Hayden Evans, Connie Green, Sue Hudson, Joy Margrave, Dorothy Senn, Jo Stafford, and Joan Wallace.  Pat says the East Tennessee Writers held a weekend-long "pre-conference" in 1985, but that it took four more years for the concept of Tennessee Mountain Writers to come to fruition.  The first conference was held in April 1989, and the original conference steering committee consisted of Pat, Hayden Evans, Dave McCoy, Nick Kostra, Raven Parris, Jane Wilson, Jo Stafford and Carla Radcliffe.  How much we owe all of these wonderful, hard-working folks for making their vision of an annual writing conference a reality!  Information on our 2008 conference can be found elsewhere in this newsletter, and on our web site, www.tmwi.org.
And speaking of our website, TMW was extremely honored to be featured as the "Tennessee Arts Spotlight of the Week" in the July 16 edition of Tennessee Arts Online, the Tennessee Arts Council's online newsletter.  We were billed as "a creative community sharing the joy of writing," and a link to our site was provided.  We deeply appreciate this recognition.

We also deeply appreciate past board member Margaret Pennycook for continuing to produce this newsletter, even though she left the board in April after concluding a three-year term.  Also leaving us this year were long-time board member Ruth Smalley, who served on our Program Committee for many years, and Denise May, who produced our brochure for the 2006 conference. 

On the bright side, we've gained three wonderful new board members.  Linda and Daniel Leonard of Oak Ridge joined the board in May.  (We enjoy these husband-and-wife teams so much!  Beverly and Charles Connor are currently serving the second year of their first term; they were preceded by long-time board members, Betty and Mike Roe.)  And our third new member is web mistress extraordinaire K'Cindra Cavin, who follows in the Roes' footsteps (or tire tracks) by driving all the way from Cookeville to attend board meetings.

Linda, Daniel and K'Cindra join our returning board members Robert Alfonso, Vicki Brumback, the Connors, Steve Dekanich, Connie Green, Wanda Grooms, Ruth Ann Maddux, Joy Margrave, Joyce McDonald, Sue Richardson Orr, Mona Raridon, Valeria Steele Roberson, Jane Sasser, Dorothy Senn, and Wes Sims.  Special thoughts go out to Joy Margrave, our immediate past chair, who is undergoing treatment and recuperating following surgery in June; we can't wait to have Joy back with us again.  Likewise, our best wishes to Steve Dekanich's wife Linda, who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant at Vanderbilt University Hospital .  We're looking forward to having Steve and Linda back in Oak Ridge next month.  Please keep Joy and Linda in your thoughts.

And I hope you'll seek out any or all of our board members, at our upcoming events, get to know them, and give them your input about our special events and conferences.  We want to make TMW everything that you, its members, want and need it to be.  

I hope to see each of you at one of our events soon.  In the meantime, keep writing!

n        Carol Grametbauer


Upcoming Events

Tennessee Mountain Writers and Tennessee Writers Alliance




Would you believe it's time to mark your calendars for January Jumpstart VIII on January 11 - 13, 2008, at the Best Western Motel in Sweetwater, TN, at exit 60 off I-75.  Our original Jumpstart I workshop leaders will be returning, Bill Brown for Poetry and Cecelia Tichi (Tishy on her books) for Fiction.  Saturday sessions will run 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 and 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. , Sunday session 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Bill Brown has published six collections of poems: Holding On By Letting Go, What the Night Told Me, The Art of Dying, The Gods of Little Pleasures, Yesterday's Hay and Tatters, released in March, 2007. During the past twenty years, he has published hundreds of poems and articles in college journals,
magazines, and anthologies. In 1995 the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts named him Distinguished Teacher in the Arts. He has been a Scholar in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a two-time recipient of Fellowships in poetry from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Cecelia Tichi is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University . She teaches classes in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, focusing on aspects of culture from consumerism and social critique to country music.  Her articles on a variety of topics and authors have appeared in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, and The Boston Review. She is also the author of three novels: Jealous Heart (1997), Cryin' Time (1998), and Fall to Pieces (2000).

This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Registration fees are $100.00 for TMW or TWA members, $110.00 nonmembers. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and donuts before the morning sessions and Saturday lunch are included.


Participants will be limited to 20 per workshop.  DEADLINE for registration is January 4, 2008 . Room rates are $58.00 + tax for single/double.  Call Best Western at 423-337-3541and mention TMW.

For additional information: please check our website: www.tmwi.org
or contact: Sue Richardson Orr - email: theorrs@usit.net

REGISTRATION FORM - print and mail in with check.

   TMW/TWA JANUARY JUMPSTART VIII - Fri, Jan 11 - Sun, Jan 13, 2008
Name ___________________________              Check one: fiction __   poetry __
Street _______________________________________
City/State/zip code____________________________
Phone _______________ e-mail __________________
Please make checks to TMW:  DINNER _______    Workshop ___________
TWA membership $25.00                 TMW membership $10.00   Total amount enclosed ________
Mail to: TMW/January Jumpstart 2008
P.O. Box 5435
Oak Ridge, TN  37831-5435                        

In the past, we have eaten at the nearby Cracker Barrel, but this location is closing, so we are offering an optional catered dinner on Saturday night for $15.50, tip included.  Menu: Barbecue chicken, beef tips with mushroom gravy, 2 cheese mashed potatoes, fresh vegetable medley, salad, cherry cobbler, coffee, tea, water.  We need advance reservations for the dinner by January 2, 2009 .  Hope you will join us.  It's a good time to get together with fellow writers.

    Sue Richardson Orr
        Chair, Special Events Committee


Tennessee Mountain Writers 20th Annual Conference

The conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel, in Oak Ridge , Tennessee , and begins with a reception on Thursday evening, March 27, 2008 , at 6:00 PM with a light buffet and oleo preview.  Friday, March 28, 2008 , sessions will run 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM and Saturday, March 29, 2008 , sessions from 8:30 to 9:00 PM , which includes the Awards Banquet.

Terry Kay
is an Award-winning novelist and screenwriter from Athens , Georgia .  He is one of the South's foremost writers.  Kay has received numerous honors, and was named one of the eight best theater critics in America in 1968, by the Sang Jury on Fine Art Criticism.

Peter Jacobi
is professor emeritus and visiting Riley professor at Indiana University's School of Journalism, and former professor and associate dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  His journalistic background spreads across the print and broadcast fields. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

Anne Shelby
, is the author of newspaper columns, plays, essays, and children's books, as well as poetry. Her plays have been widely produced.  She has published five books for children.  Her popular columns have appeared over a number of years in The Lexington Herald-Leader and other Kentucky newspapers.

Maurice Manning
has published three books of poetry.  His poems have been published in numerous journals.  He has held writing fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center, in Provincetown , and the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers in Scotland .  He teaches at Indiana University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College .

Ron Pitkin
is President of Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville , TN.   Ron entered the publishing business with a bang as co-founder of Rutledge Hill Press. Ron then founded Cumberland House, which currently publishes about 32 new fiction and nonfiction titles each year, in a wide range of categories, including biography, humor, self-help, cookbooks, inspirational, thrillers, mysteries, and vampire stories.

Patricia Lee Gauch
is vice president and editor at large of Philomel Books as well as a respected author in her own right. She holds a doctorate in English literature, and has taught children's literature on the college level and reviewed for The New York Times. Patti has edited three Caldecott Medal winning books.  Patti has written thirty-nine books for young readers.

Gloria Ballard
enjoyed a 32-year career in journalism as a feature writer and editor at The Tennessean in Nashville , Tennessee where she was Travel Editor from 1998 until 2006. She became a freelance writer, but currently writes travel features, community stories, garden features and a weekly garden column for The Tennessean.  She also writes fiction.

Jimmy Carl Harris
is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major with a doctorate from the University of Alabama .  He was an assistant professor at Southeastern Louisiana University .  He has received over forty writing honors. His stories have appeared in numerous journals.  He has published two collections of fiction.  He has taught writing workshops for the several writing conferences.  

Valeria Steele Roberson
is a native Oak Ridger and currently teaches in the Humanities Department at Roane State Community College , in Oak Ridge .  She has written and directed numerous plays.  She became the head writer and later the sole writer of a radio soap opera drama which aired in Nashville , TN , and later in Washington D. C.

Dorothy Senn
is an award-winning journalist whose career has included work as a reporter, feature writer, and editor for newspapers in Oklahoma and Tennessee and as a freelance writer for several other publications. Her newspaper column, The Creative Crowd, has appeared in the Oak Ridger for 31 years. She has taught classes in non-credit courses for the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge Schools .


This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional information: please check our website: www.tmwi.org



contest deadline is February 1.2008.  There are five adult categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, inspirational, and writing for young people.  The Sue Ellen Hudson Award for Excellence in Writing will be chosen from the first place winners of these categories.  There are two student categories: poetry and prose.  Please encourage your local high schools to enter this competition.  It's a great way to encourage budding talent.  See the website, www.tmwi.org for more information and RULES.

Don Williams New Millennium Writings offers $4,000 in prizes, plus publication in NMW and on the Web.  $1,000 for best Story; $1,000 for best Poem; $1,000 best Nonfiction (Nonfiction includes humor, memoir, creative nonfiction, travel, opinion, essay, interview, features, investigative reporting, etc.) Plus, $1,000 for best Short Short Fiction (1,000-word limit). Deadline: November 17, 2007 (postmark OK).
For more information go to http://www.newmillenniumwritings.com/awards.php.



Cara Ellen Modisett
Editor, Blue Ridge Country magazine
phone 540.989.6138    fax 540.989.7603

Blue Ridge Country is looking for RV story ideas for our May/June 2008
issue. Do you have a memorable trip you've taken, know of a beautiful,
out-of-the-way RV-friendly campground, favorite RV-friendly drive - and do
you have some great photos to illustrate? Let me know!


TMW Webmaster-K'Cindra Cavin

If you have a website, K'Cindra would like to post a link to it on TMW's website, please contact her at kkcavin@gmail.com.  She would also like to hear from members who have good news of upcoming publications of their work.  She requests information and preferably a photo (which she will keep on file for future uses) so that she may showcase them on the Member News page of our website.


Member News

Jane Sasser
won first place in poetry from the Tennessee Writers' Alliance . Jane also won second prize in the Knoxville Writers' Guild's spring poetry competition, with "Homecoming, for Jon".

Connie Green will be on a panel with Bill Brown and Rita Quillen, "Rhythms of the Natural World: Three Poets," at Southern Festival.  They will read at 2 pm , Saturday, October 13, 2007 , and will sign books immediately afterwards at 3:30 .  Connie's new book of poems is called Slow Children Running.  It is available at www.finishinglinepress.com.

Wes Sims' poem, "New Roads", has been accepted by The Binnacle at the University of Maine .

Edward Francisco's poetry collection, The Alchemy of Words, has been published by Birch Brook Press, and is available to Friends of Author at a discount price at www.birchbrookpress.info.

Former board member, Shannon Collins, has moved to Cookeville .  He has accepted a position of assistant professor on the main campus of Tennessee Tech University .  He says, "Actually, the courses I teach will change very little; however, I will now be able to vigorously pursue establishing a National Writing Project site in Cookeville as well as work on other similar projects."  We wish Shannon and his family well in their new home, but hope he will still be able to join us at TMW events from time to time.

And finally, your Newsletter Editor won first place in the creative nonfiction competition of the Knoxville Writers' Guild, with "Dream Catching".  The Guild posted the piece on their website http://knoxvillewritersguild.org/whatsnew.htm.  A different version of the piece also won second place in the National League of American Pen Women's Ashville Branch nonfiction competition.

If you have any information for the TMW Newsletter, send them to me, Margaret Pennycook, at mspenners@mac.com

Keep Writing.