Author Archives: Emily

New Cover and Books on the Way

The new edition of Bread Science is at the printer. I’m excited to share the cover with you!

About the 15th Anniversary Edition

cover of the book Bread Science with multiple breads on it and a badge reading 15th anniversary editionAs I shared previously (see here, scroll down), I decided not to revise Bread Science heavily for the new edition. I added footnotes indicating where new material is available. These updates are available for everyone on the Two Blue Books website, here. I did tweak a few sections for clarity and copyedited according to Chicago style. And, Cory Podielski designed an amazing new cover! Cory is a graphic designer and also my friend and bread class assistant teacher.

The new edition is at the printer and expected sometime this summer, so I’ve set the launch date as September 1, although it may be earlier. Once the new print books are here, I will update the ebook. I’ve added alt text and hopefully worked out kinks with the table of contents. And finally, I’m planning to create a “print-on-demand” version to make Bread Science available worldwide without expensive shipping from the United States.

Upcoming Classes

I’m teaching in person at the Campbell Folk School this October, as well as in April and October, 2022. Classes will appear here when they are open for registration.

I’m planning to teach more online classes through the Folk School, but have not yet scheduled any.

I’ll let you know when the new edition of Bread Science is here. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Online bread class, next week

Just a quick note, inspired by a last-minute online bread class…

Upcoming classes

photo with bread and banner with class titleThe Folk School just scheduled a second session of my online Bread Making Basics class. It starts April 7, so I wanted to share the news ASAP. (I taught the same class in March.) If you want to hang out on Tuesday evenings and talk about bread, check it out here:

If you’re holding out for an in-person visit to the Folk School, I plan to be there October 10–16, 2021, as well as in April and October, 2022. Links to those classes will be here:

Update on updates

As I prepare the 15th anniversary edition of Bread Science, I’ve gathered new material into an “Updates” page on my website, which is now available, here:

I’m still not sure when the new edition will be ready, but the drafts of the cover are exciting. As a reminder, I’m not significantly changing the text, but I am adding footnotes pointing to the Updates page, where I have new material to share.

In the press!

cover of Chapel Hill Magazine showing five young male entrepreneursI’m always excited when my name is in print.

Bread Science got a mention on Maggie Green’s Cookbook Love Podcast with Baker Bettie at the Green Apron. Maggie’s company helps people write cookbooks, and she interviews cookbook authors, collectors, and industry people. You can check out the episode here:

I was also in Chapel Hill Magazine’s “Noted” section in March, in my persona of women’s fiction writer. You can see it here (flip to page 22):

And Christina Wott reviewed The Forest Bride for Metastellar magazine, here:

I hope your spring is going well. In addition to teaching and updating Bread Science, I’m trying to keep up with my freelance editing work and revising The Village Maid, book 2 of my fantasy romance series (more at And I’m looking forward to being vaccinated someday soon. Stay well and please take care of yourself.

Online bread class in March

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written because I was busy publishing my first women’s fiction novel, which arrived in December. But today I have some other news.

Online class, The Basics of Bread

The John C. Campbell Folk School, where I teach bread-making classes, is sponsoring some online classes, and I’m teaching one. It will be a basic overview of bread-making. The class will meet on Wednesday evenings over four weeks using a Zoom-based platform called Lessonface. Students will do “assignments” of baking bread each week. During the class time, we’ll have lectures, demonstrations, and time for questions and feedback about assignments.banner from Lessonface website showing craftspeople at work

The first class is March 10, and you can learn more and register here:

In-person classes

The Folk School is planning to open in May. Everything still seems tentative, but I’m on the schedule teaching The Science of Bread on October 10–16, 2021. Currently, they have reduced class sizes and are requiring masks when indoors (no exceptions), although the rules might change by the fall. I’m really hoping I’ll be vaccinated by October and feel safe going to teach.

The registration is open here:

A fellow Weaver Street Market baker, Jon McDonald, is teaching a Holiday Breads class in December. He’s a great guy and it should be a good class. That one is online here:

15th Anniversary of Bread Science

I can hardly believe it, but it’s been 15 years since I published Bread Science! Self-publishing has come a long way in that time, and I’ve learned a lot.

copies of Bread Science book with background of fireworksI’ve considered how best to celebrate, given my lack of time to research new material for a “second edition.” The idea of a new edition has never felt right to me, since it excludes people with the first edition (or requires them to buy a new book). If I ever have time to spend months researching new bread topics, I would rather create a sequel (I’m thinking, More Bread Science) than create a second edition.

So for now, I’ve decided to simply get a new, professionally designed cover and call the book the 15th Anniversary Edition. I’m also going to copyedit the book according to the Chicago Manual of Style (the traditional style guide for books in the US). For a few items that I’ve learned more about, I’ll tweak the text and/or add footnotes referring to an updates page on my website (currently under construction).

I’m also considering distribution changes. It bothers me that it’s so expensive to ship the book outside the US. If I create a “print-on-demand” copy through Ingram (a giant distributor, which is available to self-publishers), the book should be available in any country that has an online bookstore that uses Ingram. I’ve found such bookstores in the UK and Australia (I know because my bike trip memoir appears in their catalog), so I’m hopeful about finding more.

Finally, once all this is done, I’ll update the ebook. I’ve finally learned how to add alt text to the images, and have ideas to shrink the file size and simplify the table of contents.

As a reminder, if you’re interested in following my women’s fiction writing news, I have a separate website using my middle name:

There’s an e-news subscription on that website that I use only when a new book is coming. I published The Forest Bride in December, and hope to have The Village Maid out by early 2022.

Stay safe out there, and I hope your year is off to a good start!

Bread-making Video Series

Hi everyone, I hope you all are staying safe and getting by okay this spring. I wanted to post because I finally uploaded some bread-making videos.

About the Videos

screen capture of bread-making video playlist page, showing the videos in a columnI had the idea to record some of the lessons from my bread-making class, if the class was canceled. I don’t particularly like being recorded, and also I don’t have a terribly nice kitchen. But I started seeing more and more bread-making on Twitter, and friends started texting for help, so making videos seemed worthwhile.

I finally was able to take a week off last week, and I finished six videos: some basic information about ingredients and recipes, two science lessons, and a discussion of preferments. There is also a tutorial of me making English muffins. (This was my “test run” video, where I learned to use iMovie.)

four English muffins on a plateI also have a bunch more footage and hope to post videos soon about kneading by hand and in a machine, followed by shaping, baking, and sourdough starter. (But, I’m back at work now, so it might take a little longer. But I have some momentum!)

You can see the playlist of all the videos here:

Watch Here

I’ve embedded the playlist below, so if you want to watch the whole series, press play.

Other News

chart showing word count progressing over two month period, with line to show average neededI’ve been lucky to have editing work (which I do at home anyway), so the stay-at-home rules have not been a burden on me. I did start a new fiction novel in April, and have been trying to do a little each day with a goal of finishing 50,000 words by the end of May. I’m using a Nanowrimo project to track my progress (see curve). The flat places are where I took a few days off to revise a different novel, in order to enter a contest with it, and where I made the videos.
As always, if you’d like to read more about my fiction (i.e., romance novels), please visit

As always, feel free to send me an email and say hello. Stay well and please take care of yourself.

Hello, Spring

It’s a weird time right now with the coronavirus spreading in America. While I’ve been lucky to have work, being more isolated has given me some extra time, so I wanted to share some plans.

Bread Events

The Asheville Bread Festival has been cancelled. I’m waiting to hear about my upcoming Folk School class, but it seems likely to be cancelled as well.

bowl of starter (with dramatic shadows)In anticipation of not being able to teach this spring, I thought of trying to make some videos of bread-making lessons, like basic kneading or oven tips. So stay tuned for that.

Two friends texted this week to ask about sourdough starter. Making a starter and bread is a great activity to do at home with kids! So after texting instructions twice, I posted instructions online here: I’m hoping to write a few more basic guides that might be useful to people stuck at home; I’ll write again if/when I do.

I’m not sure if there is space left in my fall bread class; there were a few spots last time I checked, but it has been a while (and a lot has happened). I have two classes scheduled in 2021: Baking Traditional Bread, April 4–10, 2021, and The Science of Bread, October 10–16, 2021. (Registration should open this summer.)

Fiction Writing News

coffee cup drawing and text, "I wrote a what? I'm revising my novel"I’ve been querying agents with story #1 of my romance series, and revising story #2. I just started drafting story #3 this week. Realistically, I don’t think the series has much chance of being traditionally published, because it does not fit neatly into any of the genres that already exist. But, I wanted to follow through with trying the agent route.

I’m actually excited to self-publish for many reasons. One reason is a recent idea I had to produce two versions of each book: regular and PG rated. That way, readers who don’t like reading love scenes could still read the books. The freedom of self-publishing would enable me to do this.

For more details about my fiction, please visit and subscribe for updates (I don’t send them often so I won’t fill your inbox).


magazine cover showing Emily in front of a bookshelfI was the “featured family” in the local Heart of Hillsborough magazine this past month! It was a lot of fun, especially working with the photographer, Barbara Bell ( and the content coordinator, Christina Hallock. The magazine is not available online, but you can see the article here (PDF).

I’ll leave it at that. Stay safe and healthy!

snowy tree branches

February News: Event Dates, New Facebook Page, and Writing News

Here’s a quick update on the bread-making classes I’ll be teaching, 2020 plans for writing and publishing, and how my freelance life is going.

Upcoming Events

artisan breads with logo for Asheville Bread FestivalThe Asheville Bread Festival is May 2, 2020. I will be there as an outdoor vendor, so please stop by and say hello if you attend. Tickets for classes are not yet available but you can sign up for updates at

I’ll be teaching two classes at the Folk School this year:

Tentative dates for 2021 are the following:

  • Baking Traditional Bread, April 4–10, 2021
  • The Science of Bread, October 10–16, 2021

Registration should open for April 2021 around mid-year 2020.

Publishing Plans

black cat sprawled on sofa

Gratuitous cat photo 1 (Blackwell)

This month I finally corrected the book description for Bread Science on Amazon, which required that I create a print-on-demand version. This was the only way Amazon would let me control the text (which until now read something like “250 pages, charts, pictures” with no real description).

Plans for later in the year include a new cover and re-doing the ebook to try to reduce its gargantuan file size. I don’t plan to do a new edition, but I want to update a few sections I can better explain now (I will share the updates on my website, for people who already have the book).

Writing Plans

fluffy cat resting on sweater

Gratuitous cat photo 2 (Scruffy)

I’ve been revising book two of my fiction series while querying agents about book one. I’ve thought a lot about where my book fits in to what is currently being published, and concluded that basically it doesn’t fit in. This means I’ll probably end up publishing it myself, but I’m okay with that, and even excited about it.

I won’t write more here as I know fantasy romance novels are not for everyone, but if you’re interested, I have a mailing list for future readers at I don’t email regularly, only when there is news to share.

Freelance Life

palm trees on top, snowy maple branches on the bottom

Florida versus North Carolina in February

I love working from home! I’ve been editing three or four science papers each week, and using the rest of my time for writing or for the writing-related tasks that never got done when I had a day job.

Due to my new situation, I was able to “work-cation” in Florida in January and attend a writer’s conference while still working from my laptop. I’m hoping to do more of this, although it is hard to be away from Scruffy.

One thing I learned at the conference is that if I want to use Facebook as an author, I need to use a business “page” instead of a personal “profile.” I’ve set up the new page here, using my fiction pen name, Jane Buehler:

As always, feel free to comment or send me an email.

dirt track across a field, on one side is dried out land and a dead tree,a dn on the other is a grassy field with poppies; an arrow points to the grassy side

Resources for Revising Your Novel

Here’s a compilation of resources I recommend when revising your own writing.

For the Opening

papers on table with red pen and coffeeBook: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.

First page reads: You can often find these sessions at writer’s conferences. Authors submit a first page, which is read aloud and critiqued by an editor or agent. Even if you don’t submit a page, hearing feedback about others’ first pages is helpful.

Read about the session I attended at RWA 2019:

And the session I attended at NCWN 2018:

First paragraph/page/chapter classes: Last fall I took “Killer Openings” by Alexa Bourne. It’s great to learn what makes a strong opening while getting feedback on yours from fellow students and the teacher. And, these classes are often taught online via a forum, so you can take them wherever you are.

More Books on Revising Your Work

dirt track across a field, on one side is dried out land and a dead tree,a dn on the other is a grassy field with poppies; an arrow points to the grassy sideSelf-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark (read my review, here)
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Jack M. Bickham

Story Genius by Lisa Cron: There are a lot of writing craft books, and no one book fits all writers. I gained a few very useful ideas out of this one, which focuses on how the human brain relates to storytelling and how to use that relationship to craft more-powerful stories.

chrysalis hanging from a branchSave the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody and Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes: I’m not totally sold on these two. The idea is that using certain story “beats” (a pattern of the plot) will increase your chance of success because the pattern is a winning pattern, but some perfectly good books DON’T fit this pattern. Even if you don’t want to conform, though, it is worth thinking about the beats of your plot and how to use them for maximum impact on readers.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi: This is a reference book of emotions that lists “symptoms” of each emotion, to help writers show an emotion instead of telling the reader about it. For example, if you had written “He looked angry” you could look up “Anger” and find a list of items like “face turns red” and “fists clench.”

Other Tools

Book maps: I learned about these in a class by Heidi Fiedler ( and I cannot say enough good things about them. Making a book map is the first thing I do after writing a story draft. I use it to keep track of the plot, the character arcs, the relationships, and tidbits (like what phase the moon is in; you don’t want a full moon rising night after night!). I blogged about book maps here:

words filled with symbols like spirals, suns, earths, and skulls, that say BE, CHANGE, BECOME ...practice it takesClasses: I mentioned some online classes about the story opening above. Other classes focus on different parts of revisions. Recently, I took “Character Torture” by Linnea Sinclair. The class looked at the goal, motivation, and conflict that drive a story along. These concepts are now the first thing I chart in my book map when I begin revising.

Workshops: Keep an eye out for local talks and workshops on writing, often sponsored by libraries and local writer’s groups. For example, I blogged about a workshop I attended on writing better characters:

Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward: This book is not about revising, but it’s so important that I wanted to include it. It is the go-to resource for authors who want to write characters who are different from themselves, in an authentic way. There are also courses taught and online resources at

Winter News

Happy winter! I’ve had a busy few months and wanted to check in before the end of 2019. I’m now 99% working from home as a freelance editor and writer—yay!

New Novel: The Village Maid

NaNoWriMo 2019 winner badgeIn November I completed National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the fourth time. So I now have FOUR fiction novel drafts to figure out what to do with. The new story is called The Village Maid and is the sequel to The Forest Bride, my fantasy romance. While writing, I made progress with understanding where my stories fit in; they are light-hearted (like the so-called chick lit genre) but set in a fantasy world with magic. So my new “comparable title” description is, “If you like Sophie Kinsella but wish her books had fairies and magic, my stories are for you.”

I also took two classes this fall (one on conflict and one on “killer openings”) and what I learned helped a lot with the new novel. For example, sometimes “writer’s block” is simply a lack of conflict; if a writer is stuck and it feels like nothing is happening, adding conflict to the scene can save the day. (Conflict doesn’t have to mean fighting or adversaries; it can also mean change.) I plan to revise The Forest Bride over the next month, using what I learned, and then query the agents I met at the romance writers conference last summer.

More information about my romance writing is available here:

New Cover for Somewhere and Nowhere

6 covers of outdoor adventure books, including the old and new covers of Emily's book

Which cover doesn’t fit in?

One project I was super excited to finish was a slight overhaul of Somewhere and Nowhere. I learned the importance of having a professional cover that “fits in” in a book’s genre (see diagram), so I had Tugboat Designs create a cover. It was easy to make the new cover available on the ebook version. The past month, I set up the book with the new cover using “print on demand” at both Kindle Direct Publishing (aka Amazon) and IngramSpark. So, print versions are now available! The old cover is still available at a discount. More info here:

If you are interested in learning more about print-on-demand and self-publishing, the slides from my talk at the library last September are still available on my website (fifth link from the top):

Upcoming Events

I’m looking forward to finding some conferences to attend in 2020. Part of my plan for being self-employed was to work remotely, so I’m excited to test it out.

The Asheville Bread Festival is May 2. I don’t yet know if I will be teaching, but I will be there.

I have two week-long classes scheduled at the Folk School in 2020:

I’m also excited to finally have time to TAKE a class and am registered for an illuminated lettering/calligraphy class. I figured it might be a useful skill for a fairy tale–inspired romance author to have.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that 2020 gets off to a great start.

Breaking News: I Quit My Job

mug with words "World's Best Boss"
Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

So I have some big news: I quit my day job. For years, I’ve dreamed of having more time for my writing, editing, and self-publishing tasks. Ideas have piled up on Post-it notes on the wall by my desk. This month, I finally did it. Soon I’ll be 100% self-employed and plan to spend time on building my editing business, pursuing my romance writing, updating my bike trip memoir, and renewing my involvement in the bread community.

More Editing

"option" key on a computer keyboard

Freelance editing is one way I plan to pay the bills without a day job. I’ve been editing academic papers (mostly in science) since 2013. Many of the papers are for authors whose primary language is not English, and I’m able to help them transform their writing to be understood by English speakers. I love this work as it’s a way for me to contribute to science without being in a lab.

In addition to research papers, I’ve written and edited all kinds of materials, from test passages to medical brochures to fiction novels. I hope to keep expanding the types of materials I edit and the levels of editing I provide. My editing website is

Romance Writing

fairy tale drawing of woman in woodland setting with deer, and man holding bow and arrow

I’ve written three drafts of novels since 2014 and learned a lot about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. My novels had three different genres, so I decided to focus on the fantasy romance genre first, using my middle name, Jane. For me, writing in this genre is a chance to write heroines who learn to believe in and value themselves; I can share with readers lessons I’ve learned and explore issues I still struggle with. I also decided to try a traditional publishing path, knowing that my debut novel might not “fit in” enough for any traditional publisher to take it on. In that case, self-publishing is an option.

In July I attended the national Romance Writers of America conference, where I met other authors and pitched my novel to agents and editors. I was excited to find that people in the business are excited for fantasy romances with less violence and less aggressive heroines. I’m currently following up with contacts I made. I’m also looking for ways to connect with other fantasy romance readers and writers. And, I’m planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November to draft the sequel. My romance author website is

Somewhere and Nowhere Update

cover of book "Somewhere and Nowhere" with photo of person on bike on road with evergreens and mountain background

In 2017 I self-published a memoir of my cross-country bicycle trip, Somewhere and Nowhere. I regretted some of the decisions I made in the process, mainly not having a cover designed by a professional. This summer I had a new cover designed, which I plan to use on the ebook as soon as I have time. I also rewrote the book’s blurb, hoping to better convey the contents to potential readers.

At the conference in July, I met the owner of Draft2Digital (D2D), one of the many companies that work with authors to self-publish ebooks. I’d meant to look into D2D as a way to expand my ebooks’ availability to more platforms, and talking to the owner made me feel positive about using that company. So I have an “ebook overhaul” on my to-do list as I upload the updated versions and try out D2D.

A future step is to explore print-on-demand options as a way to have print books available with the new cover, while still selling my stockpile of traditionally printed books with the original cover. I’d like to do this if only to learn about print-on-demand, which I have not yet used.

More Bread Science

cross-section of slices loaf of bread

Since publishing Bread Science in 2006, I’ve managed to keep teaching a handful of bread classes each year, but otherwise I have not been as involved as I’d like in the bread-baking community. I miss keeping up with news, researching bread topics, and presenting science material in simple language on my blog. Once I get some of the above items done, I hope to spend some time getting back into bread. I’d like to learn more about topics like what current research is saying about gluten or sprouted grains, and as always, to share what I learn. I’d like to attend more bread and fermentation events, as a teacher or vendor. I know opportunities exist to network with other bakers online. (I also hope to have time to actually make bread again!)

This might be a longer ways off but it is on my planner. My currently inactive food blog is here:

Being Uprooted

cover of Naomi Novik book, Uprooted, showing woman holding glowing flower, surrounded by castles, vines, animals, and other people

I just read a new favorite book: Uprooted, an award-winning fantasy novel by Naomi Novik. I could write pages about how much I loved this book. (Everyone who likes fantasy should read it!)

The book is set in a made-up fairytale-like land that has hints of eastern Europe. (It also contains really amazing magic, numerous awesome female characters, intelligent solutions to conflict where more killing isn’t the answer, and a subtle love story that has you holding your breath until the final page.) The author writes in the notes that she drew bits from the tales her family shared when she was growing up.

While I loved and admired the book, I felt a little sad thinking about my own lack of connection with a culture somewhere in the world.


I’m working on my first fantasy novel, and it came out as some sort of fairytale. This made sense: I’ve always loved fairy tales. I used to check out the giant books of fairytales from the grade school library, books so big they barely fit in my book bag and were a challenge for little me to carry home. But reading Uprooted made me look for any hints of my family’s background in my novel, and I didn’t find any.

This reminded me of something I learned a few years ago, when I participated in a workshop put on by the Racial Equity Institute, located in Greensboro, NC: The workshop leaders had the participants write down a few things that each of us liked about being a member of our racial group. The white people wrote things like, “The police don’t assume I’m guilty” or “I’m given a fair chance when I interview for jobs.” The people of color wrote things like, “Our food” or “Our music.” The workshop leaders explained that becoming part of the majority group often involves giving up one’s own culture.*

xerox of old timey ad for W.E. Davis and Son fishery
My ancestors’ fishery

This idea rang true to me. I tried to think of instances of a family culture in my own life. I remember some large Italian meals on a big birthday, wedding day, or funeral day. I remember homemade pierogi made by the women at my gramma’s church, and a Slavic lullaby that I can hum, if not sing. Once my aunt and I hunted down information on the German side of our family in the local history room at the public library in Wilmington, NC, where they had once run a fishery. But all I seem to have are bits and pieces.


I wanted my story to have more depth, and I didn’t seem to have folk tales or a culture from my ancestors that I could use. This made me think, what do I have? What do I believe in one hundred percent, that I could use? Here’s what I came up with.

a drawing of a bridge leading forward into a forest with golden light at the far side

Religion. When I was about 30, I spent a few years thinking a lot about religion. I read a book about the world’s major religions that illustrated (at least to me) that the common thread is a higher power that we leave to come to earth and then return to. Different religions have different paths for this to occur: In many forms of Christianity, you get one chance to live a good life, and either you succeed and go back to the higher power, or you fail and don’t. In Hinduism (as far as I understand it), you are reincarnated over and over, slowly working your way up until you are ready to go back. In Buddhism, you can “skip ahead” of the cycles of reincarnation by altering your behavior to reach enlightenment ASAP.** Different religions also include or exclude the souls of animals as part of this higher power.

I decided this common thread would be the religion in my fantasy world, called the “old ways.” The fairies are still in touch with the old ways, the villagers are starting to forget, and the evil king has corrupted them with his own ideas.

Nonviolence. I eventually began attending Quaker meetings, where I learned about things like nonviolence and the power of sitting quietly and of listening. I had planned a revolt in my story, but hadn’t wanted to write a bunch of characters killing each other. I ended up with (spoiler) a successful nonviolent revolt. (I immediately connected with the unusual treatment of battles in Uprooted, although it is different than my own.)

The role of women. From the beginning I intended to write empowered female characters. It was harder than I thought; I kept catching myself making all the leaders men! But coming up with a religious philosophy for my world made me consider the role of women, and how it would get to be what it is; what would cause women to be respected or seen as equals, that is lacking in our world? It seemed like religion has played a big part in determining the roles women have in the real world.

pierogies with shredded cheese and bits of dates on top
Oh pierogies, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

But also, back when the main tasks people did were finding food and shelter, women’s role as mothers probably affected their roles in the community. I don’t know enough about the history of women’s roles in societies, and details about matriarchal cultures of the past are not easy to come by. So in this case, I’m glad not to be drawing from the recorded history of the real world, but instead inventing a history.

Miscellaneous stuff. I’ve noticed that my characters (at least the good ones) seem to eat kind of healthily. They do things like garden or make useful crafts. These activities come from communities I’m part of. I’ve worked for years at a natural food co-op, and I know a lot of farmers and value homegrown and homemade foods. I teach at the Campbell Folk School, which has taught me about traditional crafts like basketry and pottery. I’m also involved in a community of musicians and dancers who play old-time Appalachian music.

So while I might have lost the culture my ancestors knew, I’m able to find new communities to learn from and participate in. Maybe I am growing new roots.

*This idea is part of a much longer discussion, covering the history of race in America. A balance is maintained of having enough of a working class for the people in power to use them to make money, without having the numbers of the working class swell such that they might be able to revolt. The result is that subsets of people in the working class are periodically subsumed into the majority, or given some privileges to dissuade them from banding together with the rest of the working class to rebel. Not being very knowledgeable in this area, I hope I’m presenting the idea properly.

**These were my takeaways from reading this book, and are extremely simplified. I’m sure there is plenty of room for people to argue that I have it all wrong.