Author Archives: Grace

About Grace

I'm a biographer, writer/editor, photographer based in Carrboro, NC. In 2006 I got my master's degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. I've worked as a reporter, science writer, oral historian, and photographer. When I'm not doing those things, I like to sing, dance, and play music.

Carol Woods Caterpillar


Earlier this week, I came across this rather interesting-looking member of our world.  He (she?) was hanging out just above the sidewalk at Carol Woods Retirement Community, and seemed to be wriggling about a lot.  At first, I couldn’t tell what in the world he was.  Then, my brain processed, “caterpillar!”

Luckily, I had my camera handy.

(Please excuse the focusing issues — am still exploring best ways to use new camera!)

Manifesting is fun and easy

Finished felted purse closeup

New manifested purse

Last week I took a great walk around Occoneechee Mountain with Susan.  We talked about manifesting, and how we can all do it.  Like the time that Erin and were looking to move in together, but we couldn’t for the life of us find a house that we both agreed on and that we could afford.  So we did a little manifestation ritual, writing a letter to a friend as though we’d already found the perfect house and describing it in detail.  We didn’t send the letter, but kept it on our little buddha altar.  Within a month, we’d found the perfect house, where we’re still living.

So I know I can do it, but most of the time, I forget.  This week something small but cool happened to remind me of how we can manifest even little neat things in our lives.

It started when my purse died.  The purse that I’ve had for nine years, that I love.  Dang it!  I hate purse shopping, because most purses for sale all have bling of some sort on them, or are too large, or have too many pockets, or blah blah blah blah blah.   Continue reading

There’s Nothing Scarier…

…than what’s inside your own imagination.

Storyteller Donna Washington

Storyteller Donna Washington

Last weekend I attended the Garner Storytelling Festival at North Garner Middle School.  Kids were telling stories, and so were adults, including the renowned Donna Washington, a fantastic storyteller who kept both kids and adults hanging on her every word.

I think stories are so cool.  In journalism school, I learned how most of what we know about the world comes to us through stories.  It’s not like we’ve gone out and experienced everything that we have knowledge about.  Most of the things we know, we know because of stories: stories from school textbooks, stories from the news, stories our parents and grandparents told us, stories we hear from friends about their lives or something they’ve experienced.  (What else is the news feed on Facebook but a long list of stories?)  As the very wise Erin Coyle said to me this morning, stories are almost all we have. Continue reading

Rockin the Cradle

Singing and dancing are two of my favorite things to do.  So I was very excited when my friend Megan Leiss recruited me and Tim Wells to perform with her at a fundraising concert for our church, The Episcopal Church of the Advocate.  The church is in the middle of raising money for its new building; I’m happy to say that the benefit was a great success (raising $4,000!) — and it was an awesome good time, to boot.

Here’s some video that my sweetie shot of Tim Wells & Friends performing “Who’ll Rock the Cradle?”  Thank you to Elia and Allyn for kicking it up a notch with their dancing!

…and now for some awesome gospel harmonies, harmonica, and washboard! Continue reading

Tippin on the Tightrope

A perfect song about the creative process, “Tightrope” caught my ear when it came out in 2010, and hasn’t really let it go since.  Based in a funky alternate reality in which the musicians are inmates in an insane asylum (now there’s some symbolism!), the song talks about how you have to keep on keeping on — and keep on making your art — no matter “whether you’re high or low,” or if people are criticizing you, or you’re on top of the world, or whatever.  As an artist who struggles with keeping upbeat on dreary “down” kind of days, I find this song totally inspiring.  Not to mention totally fun!  Janelle Monáe sings it right on.  Take a listen:

Continue reading

Fear is the lock, and laughter the key


Flying blue bird, by cat2owl

Fear is the lock / And laughter the key to your heart

How beautiful is that?  And how applicable to the artist’s journey.  To any journey, actually.  I’m thinking I may write this one down and post in a place where I’ll see it regularly.

Those lines have been playing through my head since last night, when I watched The Music Never Stopped, a fascinating movie about a guy with a brain tumor who can’t form new memories — except when he’s listening to the music he grew up with in the ’60s.  It’s based on “The Last Hippie,” an essay by Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and writer famous for his books about (among other things) memory and music. Continue reading

Soaring into Mystery

Soar PaintingLast week, I took a walk at the Mason Farm Biological Reserve in Chapel Hill.  It’s one of my favorite spots.  Walking there, it almost feels like you’re far, far away from human civilization.  Lots of big, big trees, quiet pathways, and lovely undisturbed open spaces where bluebirds and other birds like to live.  I saw a new barn owl box in one field, put up by my friend Mark and others of the local Audubon Society – very cool. Continue reading

Snow? Snow!

Snow treat

A snow treat!

Last week, after Christmas, Erin and I visited our fabulous friend Shelly and her family in the lovely North Carolina mountains near Asheville.  After a great day of bumming around Asheville, we were all thrilled when it started snowing!  You piedmont-dwellers know how it is: with so few chances for snow in Chapel Hill, snow almost always feels extra magical.

That is, it felt extra magical until we began driving home from Asheville on windy, unsalted mountain roads.   Continue reading