Celebrate Pearl S. Buck’s Birthday by Improving Your Writing Skills


Happy Birthday, Pearl S. Buck! In celebration of Pearl’s upcoming birthday -June 26th – the Calvin W Price Appalachian Enrichment Series in collaboration with Allegheny Echoes and The Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau will be presenting the second in the 2015 series of Creative Writing Workshops at Pearl’s Birthplace in Hillsboro.

This workshop will be held on Friday, June 26th from 1 PM to 4:30 PM at the Sydenstricker Cabin at the Pearl S. Buck birthplace in Hillsboro, WV. It is free to the public and there will be light refreshments. No preregistration is required.

Kirk Judd who is the Allegheny Echoes Director of Creative Writing explains how Allegheny Echoes became involved in the Creative Writing Workshops at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace.

“We started collaborating with the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation a few years ago” Judd says. “Pearl Buck’s birthday is June 26th and so they always have a celebration at the Birthplace there in Hillsboro at the same time we’re having Allegheny Echoes (in Marlinton) – about the time Echoes is winding up. One of the things about Echoes is we bring in masters, and we always bring in a creative writing master. We asked them while they are in Pocahontas County to be a workshop leader at Pearl S. Buck Birthplace.”

This year’s Creative Writing Master is Dr. Rob Merritt from Bluefield College who is a poet and a Chinese Scholar which makes him just about the perfect choice to conduct the workshop on Pearl buck’s birthday at her Birthplace. Dr. Merritt will be busy while in Pocahontas County that weekend.

“On Friday he will give a Creative Writing workshop on the grounds of the Pearl S. Buck birthplace, and on Saturday he will give a short presentation in honor of her birthday” Judd explains. “And also this year we are doing something a little different. We got with the Humanities Council and we asked Dr. Merritt to provide a Pearl Buck lecture at the McClintic Library on Thursday afternoon. So he’ll be busy.”

Judd gives a hint about Dr. Merritt’s writing workshop.

“Dr. Merritt is a Chinese scholar and poet and interpreter of Chinese Philosophy” Judd says. “And he’ll be coming to talk about the classical Chinese poets and how they’ve influenced Appalachian writers and Appalachian poets and the similarities and differences and using the Chinese philosophy that Pearl incorporated into her writing as a gateway for Appalachia writers.”

This ties in nicely with the overall theme of this year’s Calvin W Price Writer’s Workshops, which is “Crossing the Threshold; Finding the Gateways to New Understanding in your Personal Writing.” Judd explained that Pearl Buck wanted her birthplace to be more than just a museum. In her book “My Mother’s House” Pearl outlined her vision of what her birthplace should be, as Judd explains.

“That it should be a living gateway to new thoughts and dreams and ways of life wherein Art, Music and Education are valued and promoted” said Judd. “And as part of the Birthplace Foundation we are charged with carrying through that as part of our mission statement, and we felt that these Creative Writing Workshops would be a really good way to honor that wish of Miss Buck.”

Judd explained that Pearl Buck viewed her birthplace home as a kind of a gateway to a sanctuary where she left the dangers of China behind and entered the safety of America and her beloved Pocahontas County. Keep in mind that Pearl was in China during the Boxer Rebellion when foreigners were targets of violence. Judd relates the symbolic thresholds we as writers need to cross with the very real thresholds Pearl crossed when she returned from China to her birthplace home here.

“That she was crossing the threshold into a safe and happy place that represented America to her and Freedom” Judd said. “And so these workshops are based on crossing that threshold in your personal expressions of creative writing, how you step across out of yourself into the world of communicating how you feel to your audience.”

There will be a lot of things going on that last weekend in June – Allegheny Echoes will be winding up in Marlinton, and the Little Levels Heritage Fair will be getting ready to start right there on the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace grounds- if you are interested in writing, consider going to the Sydenstricker Cabin at the Birthplace at 1:00PM on Friday, June 26th and enrich yourself at this free Creative Writer’s Workshop.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

Current Weather