Each writer had a different type of prose and their own inspiration for their work, and they said that sharing stories was a connection between cultures and each other.
Chelsea Adams, local poet, said it was special to listen to the work of other writers. She read while her husband played guitar.
“Its almost as if the poems come from listening and the music is found in the words,” Adams said.
With or without musical accompaniment, poems’ words are used to portray how the writer sees what is around them. Beth Wellington said the poems are an attempt to describe other peoples lives. This was showcased in the readings of George Norton, an agricultural economics professor at Virginia Tech.
Norton read creative non-fiction essays from his soon-to-be-published book "Hunger and Hope." Norton’s book is about his work in developing countries. He said he used the stories that caught his students’ attention most.
“As a teacher, I like to get people excited,” Norton said. “I don’t usually read, I usually tell, but I need to get (the stories) on paper to reach a broader audience.”
Norton said that in his travels to impoverished areas, he has found many similarities between people. Many of the poorest people he encountered had a lot of hope and strong desire to share, he said.
Sharing words and cultures was a common theme amongst the readers for why they write and travel.
Kathy Coleman, storyteller, self-described ‘Appalachian bag woman’ and former Virginia Tech student, said she was glad to return to Blacksburg.
Coleman has travelled across the United States and to China telling Appalachian stories. She said the people and cultures are more alike than different. Coleman uses her personal artifacts, which she carries in her bag, when she shares her stories.
“These educated folks call them artifacts,” Coleman said. “I call them my stuff. I carry the stuff to remind me and the world that we are a culture worth enjoying.”
More events like the ArtCrawl and Spoken Word Celebration are planned for Blacksburg this Summer. Other ones such as the First Friday gallery exhibitions and artist receptions, art therapy workshops at Eucalyptus Massage, the Summer Solstice Fest, Art at the Market and Steppin’ Out are striving to engage the public to support and promote artists in their area.