Mentors of the Peace


By Kanta Bosniak “Herein lies the real hope for our future. We are moving toward the ultimate destiny of our species—a state of compassion and love.” – Jane Goodall “Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.” –Nikola Tesla “We use our gifts to bring people together.”–Babtaunde Olatunji Over a period of twelve years, I painted a series of sixty Contemporary Folk Art portraits that I use as teaching tools and which I exhibit in universities and other educational settings. The Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech is … Continue reading Mentors of the Peace

Work Meets Play


A friend and co-worker, Caroline Eberly, shares her essay about mixing labor and leisure. This piece first appeared on Story Matters, the digital expression of Journey Group, a Charlottesville creative agency. [divider] Work Meets Play: An invitation to turn up my senses.   Looking out the window at this wide, dried-out wilderness, I have sympathy for the desert-crossers who have gone before me. The wayfaring types who pushed sand with feet to cover this bare country. Just minutes before, I’d been considering the people of the future — those beings who might live in these shiny, … Continue reading Work Meets Play

Christmas Chaos


Leaving for L.A the day after tomorrow and realize I have not rented a car, wrapped presents, packed for California chill and sun, booked a motel for the road trip up the coast, or logged my students exam grades, nor scribbled notes for my house-sitter, arriving tomorrow. The clothes in my dresser drawers (spanning decades) are packed so tightly I am unable to dig past the tangled surface to even guess what archeological layers lie below. I fling everything out and now, panicked, realize there’s not enough time to thoughtfully sort and neatly fold, and … Continue reading Christmas Chaos

How Marcy Got Her Groove Back or…what I learned at my writing retreat


  Late on a Sunday afternoon, after a nearly eight-hour drive, I arrived at The Porches in Norwood, Virginia. I met my host, got the tour, unpacked my stuff, opened my laptop and stared out the large window in front of my writing desk, which overlooked a porch, and beyond the porch, the mountains. It was then that I noticed several strange, faint noises: a slight breeze rustling the tree leaves, the low hum of my ceiling fan, crows calling in the distance and, somewhere in those endless trees, the low rumble of a train. … Continue reading How Marcy Got Her Groove Back or…what I learned at my writing retreat

Ten Books You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On


  Okay, there is no such list.  In fact, you can go ahead and file that under Lists You’re Unlikely Ever to See in Our Current Culture.  Because, these days, it seems we’re all supposed to pretend that there are no bad books.  Critics may still pan movies, artwork, dance and theater, but fewer and fewer reviewers are willing to talk tough about a book.  Not long ago, the New Yorker’s web site published a rambling mea culpa from critic Lee Siegel who confessed that he’d written negative book reviews in his career, but has … Continue reading Ten Books You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On



The poet/novelist James Dickey – who, among his many accomplishments, wrote the novel, Deliverance, is said to have once claimed that reading detective fiction was like opening a gift by first eating the excelsior. Dickey was really onto something with his cruel remark, but perhaps no one remembers excelsior (I’m assuming a quorum of readers who remember Deliverance). Excelsior, for those fortunate enough not to know, was material made from thinly sliced curled wood shavings and used to provide packing for fragile merchandise. It was later replaced – within living memory of some of us … Continue reading Excelsior!

Silver Apples of the Moon by Sarah Sargent


We’ve all done it. Found ourselves reading a successful, but dreadfully written book and exclaimed “I can do better!” Well, this was the genesis of Silver Apples of the Moon, the novel  co-authored by me and my sister, Felicity Blundon. In our case, the dreadful book was The Bridges of Madison County. Bad as that book was, it did touch on a couple of important themes. One was the fact that the protagonists were mature, as opposed to twenty-somethings—targeting it to an older demographic was a key ingredient for success given the aging Baby Boomer … Continue reading Silver Apples of the Moon by Sarah Sargent

Listening to the Land…


  Charlottesville filmmaker Jamie Ross and photographer Tom Cogill have recently collaborated on Listening to the Land: Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley. Ross and Cogill document the rich stories and images of West Virginia landowners whose passion has protected and conserved this lush, historic Valley in the Appalachian Mountains, its rivers feeding into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Commissioned by the Cacapon and Lost River Land Trust, Listening to the Land… is described as “a conversation between the people of this Valley and their land, chronicling this community’s dedication to preserving its farms, … Continue reading Listening to the Land…

A Playwright’s Inspiration


Creative writing can come from many sources, and personal experiences and stories from friends can provide inspiration for your next writing project. Some people argue that you can’t tell a story with anecdotes alone, and that writing someone else’s life is biography and not creative writing, but I contend that “true stories” and even tall tales can pepper your writing with humor and local color. As a playwright, I am forever taking mental notes of my friends and family’s behavior to help me build realistic characters. We’ve all taken the role of observer when seeking … Continue reading A Playwright’s Inspiration

Molly Haskell to Speak


Molly Haskell, feminist film critic and author of My Brother My Sister: A Transformation, will lecture on Gender, Films and Feminism at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 7 at Sweet Briar College’s Conference Center, Wailes Room. Haskell’s free lecture will include discussion of her thoughtful, outspoken memoir about transgender and family.

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