The creative arts have been a constant theme throughout my life and I bring that sensibility to my governing decisions.
My plastic arts include sculpture, ceramics, wood carving, cartoons and most particularly, and recently, painting in oils. I have studied landscape painting with master artist John Mac Kah in the River Arts District since 2006, and have had a few one-person shows around WNC.
As a slam poet I won the 1993 Southeastern Poetry Slam, participated in the national slam in San Francisco that year, was published in the inaugural issue of the Asheville Poetry Review, and have published in chap books and audio tapes.
A lifelong musician, I have written songs since 1968, led a rock band in the 1970s, played pubs and coffee houses in the 1980s and ’90s, and have performed at fundraisers and political events in the 2000s. I love to skewer pompous public figures in my poems and music. most successfully in my take-off on “If I were a carpenter” (a lovely ballad) with the alternative vision “If I were a lawyer.”
I have ten books in print: two collections of the best of my syndicated columns, an organic gardening guide, a collection of short stories, a political biography of Billy Graham, a report on the criminal hijinks of Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Lee Medford, a memoir concerning ethics, a novel and the best selling guide to Asheville (now in its 10th Anniversary Edition).
In 2016 I published a collection of speeches made in 24 cities and 12 states. I was founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal Heartstone, writer of WWC’s Swannanoa Journal radio program, and managing editor of the Mountain Xpress. Along the way I picked up national and regional awards in criticism, humorous commentary and investigative reporting.
Taken altogether, I understand the drive to create and the struggle to market the arts.
Hey, some of my best friends are artists!