|Can read the sign? It says, Frank Beamer!!!!|
Hello there, Harriet here, today I am in Fancy Gap, Virginia (don’t you just love that name) where I have come to visit with Vie Herlocker and Joy Writers and hopefully visit some place called Beamer’s Knob. I can’t wait. I wonder if there might be relations down here. Max might have talked about it at one time or another but I don’t remember.Vie is such a sweet, funny woman I couldn’t wait to share her with you.
I met Vie at The Lakeview Restaurant in Fancy Gap, Virginia, where we chowed down on fried okra, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, and apple flapjacks. Then we headed under the bridge to The Gap Deli for a cup of coffee and a thick slice of fresh coconut cake.
|We had lunch here|
Here’s the gist of our conversation, as near as I can recollect (talking Southern-ha!). Vie is an absolute hoot and I hope to visit her again. I will vie (ha-ha) for her attention once again.
|And pie here|
Harriet: Well tell me a little about Fancy Gap, Virginia. What’s so fancy about Fancy Gap?
VIE: Fancy Gap is located at milepost 199 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The BRP, or as I like to call it, the BuRP, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression. It’s a 469 mile-long national parkway that winds from Front Royal, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina! The next time you are in town, Harriet, we’ll head off in my camper-bus and travel the whole parkway, seeing as you like mountains and buses so much.
Harriet: Oh, I would love that , dear. Can my dog, Humphrey come along? He’s a Bassett Hound and I miss him terrible. I’ll never leave home without him again.
VIE: Of course he can come. The more the merrier I always say.
|The Book Mama! I love her!|
Oh, did I tell you? From my house on the hill, I can see clear to Pilot Mountain, North Carolina! Yep, that’s right—that’s the “Mt. Pilot” from Andy Griffin’s Mayberry TV show. And, if I trip in the backyard, why I’ll roll downhill all the way to Mayberry! Yeah, it’s really Mt. Airy—Andy’s hometown, but everybody calls it Mayberry.
Harriet: Really, Andy Griffith. I loved that show. So wholesome, you know. I think Andy was one of the best TV Dads ever.
VIE: Well, Mt. Airy may have Andy, but Fancy Gap is the home of the famous Coach Frank Beamer, from Virginia Tech—did you see his name on the Welcome to Fancy Gap sign? I was wondering if you might be related to him. Wish we had time to drive over to Beamer’s Knob road—that’s the highest spot in our county.
Harriet: Frank Beamer? That’s hysterical. I don’t remember Max—he’s my dead husband—ever mentioning a Frank Beamer, Rufus Beamer, but no Frank. Uhm. Well it is a special town. I especially enjoy the views. I’m a mountain person myself. Some folks like the beach. I prefer the mountains. Anyhoo, why don’t you tell me a little about the Joy Writers. I’m sure my readers would love to know.
VIE: When my husband and I retired here a few years ago, there wasn’t a writer’s group. I moaned, I whined, I prayed, and then I decided to start one myself! JoyWriters had their first meeting in May of 2009, with my friend and Amy Award Winner, Nancy Hoag, as our speaker. Nancy lives in Montana, but she and her husband were living in their RV, doing Habitat for Humanity builds across the country for a year and happened to stop to visit me the week of our first meeting. Now, that was definitely a God-thing! You can “like” JoyWriters on Facebook, and visit our webpage www.joywriters.org.
Harriet: Yes, Joyce Magnin, she’s the author who wrote my book Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, often talks about the importance of writers having groups. HA! That reminds me of a joke. If buffalo run in her herds, what do writers run in? HA! Blocks!
VIE: Oh, Harriet, you crack me up with those jokes! Reminds me of my new exercise equipment. It’s a wooden alphabet block. I place in on the floor and “jog around the block” several times a day. I mean after homemade, fresh coconut cake, the Book Mama has to keep her matronly shape from getting overly jiggly.
Harriet: Ha, ha, don’t I know it. I’ve been getting so much exercise on this trip. Walking. So tell me a little about your family and who is this Mama person you mentioned? Do you have a dog? I have Humphrey, but I just told you that.
VIE: Well, Book Mama is me! Or as the French and Miss Piggy say, moi! Now, when I was editing a book a few years ago, the author started calling me his book mama. The name just settled on me. Mama was baking cookies and spoiling all her writers, like a mama should—but writers sometimes need tough love to make it to publication. You know what I mean? So, Book Mama has a friend, Miz M.O.E., and she is one Meddlesome Old Editor, if you can read between the lines. Together, encourager Mama and measly M.O.E. make a nice editing team.
Speaking of tough love, whack me, Harriet. There I go running off on turkey trails instead of giving concise editor-like answers. So, where were we? Family and animals? I have two married sons (hey kids!) and I’ve been married to Lee Herlocker for more than forty years! Isn’t that how long the Israelites were lost in the dessert? Er, desert. Fresh coconuts grow in the desert, don’t they?
For fun, Lee and I enjoy seeing the county in our camper-bus, and our dog, Roscoe is Lee’s co-pilot. Roscoe would love to meet Humphrey. By the way, I am able to do my editing work from where ever the camper takes us. Have air card, will travel! Whahoodally Whoo!
Harriet: Do you have any favorite writers? Books?
VIE: The book that was a life changer for me is Virelle Kidder’s, Meet Me at the Well.
And, I adore the characters in all of Joyce’s books—they are just like so many of my friends. I especially enjoyed Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise—Charlotte lives in a trailer, kind of like my camper, but in one place. I also devour all of Trish Perry’s humorous romance books, and Lynette Eason’s suspense books. And, I like reading kiddie-lit books—I recently finished Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newberry winner by Jack Gantos. It was a hoot—and one character, Miss Volker, reminded me of Joyce’s characters. Have you met her, Harriet? Miss Volker, not Joyce.
Harriet: Oh no, I’ll have to check her out, now tell me a little about your own writing? Anything you’d like to plug?
VIE: Well, I do freelance editing, and I also edit for a small Christian Publisher, Sonfire Media. We’ve released a brand spanking new book by Tim and Tami Thurber, it’s called Handing It Down: Teaching Your Children the Basic Truths of Faith. It is a fun guide for home devotions and instruction in our faith. We also published Dave Fessenden’s Concept to Contract: Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book and Luke and Trisha Priebe’s , Trust, Hope, Pray: Encouragement for the Task of Waiting. We published Thomas Smith’s Something Stirs, a Christian supernatural suspense, and Marsha Hubler’s Secret of Wolf Canyon. Releasing soon will be Shirley Leonard’s With Each Passing Moment: Help and Hope for Caregivers, and Ashli Roussel’s, Boundless, a book about eating disorders. (Ashli is in college—she wrote this book at age nineteen!) Whack me, Harriet! That’s Book Mama wanting to brag about all of her babies!
Harriet: Wow, you are a busy Mama! What about hobbies? I collect salt and pepper shakers. I must be sure to pick up a set from Fancy Gap. Can you suggest a great place to get souvenirs?
VIE: Harriet—I knew you like shakers! I have a vintage, real plastic, made in Japan, ear of corn shaker for you! I found it at the Hillsville Flea market—there was only one and I almost walked away. But then I thought about how you are only one now—and that isn’t stopping you from being useful. Yes, I know you miss your husband, Max—and Humphrey too, but you are taking the trip of a lifetime! I knew no one else would buy that single shaker, but it needed a home—and I figured you would take it in and love it! We can mail it out to Henry and Prissy Proper Pru right from the Fancy Gap Post Office.
Harriet: One of the things I’ve been doing on my adventure is keeping my senses peeled for when I feel God’s pleasure with me. What do you think it means to feel God’s pleasure?
Vie: Oh, now we’re talking! When I stand on my deck and feel the wind, it’s like being in the presence of God.
I never liked wind much—it messes up my hair and blows my hat off, but I have a new appreciation for it now. Look what I found in Psalm 104:3 (NIV): “…He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” I stand on the deck and picture God riding on the wings of the wind.
And check this verse out, it’s repeated several times in Revelation 2 and 3 (The Message): "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
Wind words. Isn’t that beautiful, Harriet? God speaks pleasure into my writer’s heart on the wings of wind!
HARRIET: Wow, I think I might stitch that and hang it over a door. It’s lovely and I never read. Thank you! Uh oh, there’s my bus. Thank you for having a visit with me, Vie. It was nice to get off my feet.
Vie: Be sure to friend me on FB, and LIKE the Sonfire Media and JoyWriters pages too, okie dokie? Hugs and Sparkles from Book Mama to you Harriet! Bye! Bye!