(the following conversation took place during a rarely granted interview with the reclusive pontificator known as b2. On plastic patio chairs overlooking the Piedmont forest he calls home we listened to the almost jungle like calls of sunset birds while Donovan sang of his friend, and mentor, Mac MacLeod softly in the background. We share a cheap cigar with plastic tip while he was busy carving a birdhouse on his back porch.)
Interviewer: What ya' making there, captain?
b2: This here is a Trenholm treasure. Ever since my family was led here to the plateau of four seasons we have really enjoyed walking down the gravel road that winds from Mountain Lodge to Connemara. When our eyes are not fixed on the horizon, or scouring the woods for bear, we are usually looking on the road for Trenholm treasures. Not quite one year into our adventure we have found over 20 different items that include turnbuckles, busted padlocks, and various pieces of rusted horse tack. I like taking these little glimpses of history and assembling them into my version of country folk art.
Interviewer: On our walk earlier I could see a glimpse of Mountain Lodge through the trees. Tell me what you know about this home and the impact its proximity has had on your writings.
b2: Very early on I felt that this house played a part in how my bride and I were led here from suburban Philadelphia. When I found our cabin on the Internet a year ago we had no idea that it was right across the road from the first permanent residence in Flat Rock. Charles and Susan Baring from Charleston built the home in the style of an English country estate. As was the tradition of the day they built a private chapel on their property which later became St. John in the Wilderness, which is now my family's place of worship.
Interviewer: At what point did you receive inspiration to write you poem about this historic chapel ( St. John in the Wilderness )?
b2: Shortly after I moved this magical place I had the opportunity to tour the house (borderline illegal I might add). The week prior I had read 15 books from the local library that made mention of this family and the impact they had, and still have, on the residence of this community. It touched me in a very special way and I felt compelled to articulate the sense of awe and respect that I have gained for the early settlers and current residents of Flat Rock.
Interview: And the day after you wrote the poem.....
b2:...ah, yes. The next day during the church service a young lady stood up during the announcements. She shared that the deadline for submissions to the First Annual St. John in the Wilderness Arts Festival had been extended. I knew then why I had written the poem, and in many ways, why I had ended up in Flat Rock.
Interviewer: Pretty heavy stuff. I understand that beyond being able to share your written work, you will also have a chance to read your poem to the community.
b2: The only thing that jives me more than writing is being able to share it by reading it aloud. On April 9th, the day of my birth, I will join a much more accomplished group of performance artists so that some of the folks that inspire my musings can hear a rendition of this particular poem direct from my lips. I am truly honored and could not imagine a better birthday present. It's worth noting that Susan Baring was also a poet, and I've often wondered would it would have been like to share some tea and conversation with this very storied couple.
Interviewer: You mentioned that your road also leads to the home of another famous author who called Flat Rock his home.
b2: In 1945 Carl Sandburg moved his family to the former residence of first Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederate States of America, Christopher Memminger. Around here though, his wife was the star with her prize winning goats.
Interviewer: How do you feel about that?
b2:What? You mean being overshadowed by your wife? I don't have FEEL anything about it,... I live it. And if you ask me again 'how I feel about something' you're gonna get a nasty-gram from my very competent, yet jealous, therapist.
Interviewer: What are you working on currently?
b2: Well right now I have five long term projects but two that will be coming to fruition in the next couple of weeks. I am putting together a collection of my most inspiring prose, Find YOUR Mountaintop, uncommon poetry for everyday folks... . It is also time for me to release the final three chapters of my serial anthology, Under the Gun .
Interviewer: Now UTG, as your readers commonly call it, is a bit experimental is it not?
b2: Quite so. Every episode of UTG is written in twenty minutes, or less, with no research or preparation. I read over the previous chapter as a review of where I left off, then wail away on the keyboard incessantly until my eyes start to bleed. A quick spell check (which does not do much for my take on the English langige) and it is immediately released for public ridicule.
Interviewer: The content sounds autobiographical.
b2: It's not a journal nor is it a memoir. Having that said, you should remember the words of Mark Twain, "There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages."
Interviewer: Anything else you would like to share with your readers.
b2: Yes. A table at Jongo Java . I will take an Americano with a cinnamon stick. And oh yeah, don't forget to bring your own cup.
(have a question for the pontificator that was not addressed in this interview? Go to b2 Publishing's Facebook page and let him have it.)
'think big, act swiftly....' - b2