Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Scared Young (or not) Artist 

No one ever changed the world working from the center of a crowd. Artists need room to move and fresh air to breathe in order to produce their finest work.

You can’t produce vigorous, creative thought in the suffocating confines of other people’s walls, those walls set up long before you even thought to pick up a pen or guitar or brush. 

Humans need paintings to hang on hotel walls and songs about bubble gum and books about vampires-it’s all valuable in its own way and necessary-but new ideas, dangerously original ideas, come from the outside.

Originality comes from frightening places,  distant Elsewheres among the ether. 

Your finest, most honest works live in that scary Undiscovered Terrain our deeper selves wish for but to our conscious selves, remain resisted and strange.

Some place along the fringes, along those Outer Edges of the ether is where we have to walk alone and find original thought curled up alone and sleeping.

Work with your one singular mind, separate and far from the safety of the hive. Risk walking the Outer Edges, risk falling. Create.

Help Delegate Pushkin Fight Domestic Violence 

Once, over a decade ago, I walked into a courthouse in West Virginia and asked for a restraining order against my then boyfriend. 

The clerk told me my protective order was still active. I informed her I didn’t have one. Turns out, his ex-wife did. I had no idea he had a history of violence against women.

My abuser was convicted of assaulting us both, receiving only one year of home confinement for MULTIPLE related offenses including restraining order violations. Before it was all over, he would physically assault me a second time. 

This time, the charge was a felony since it was his third offense. He fled that night and was never found.

I would not have become involved with this man had I known he had a domestic violence history. He fled and now, a third unsuspecting woman somewhere is probably on a date with him right now. Maybe when he chokes her, she’ll not be so lucky as to wake like his wife did, maybe she won’t be so lucky as to escape his chokehold and run, like I did. His ex-wife and my story were years apart but eerily similar. 

I told my story to West Virginia Delegate, Mike Pushkin (D-WV) and shared with him my idea of creating a registry for domestic violence reoffenders. In 2016, he introduced the Central Abuse Registry Bill. Unfortunately, it did not make it on the agenda.

Right now, Delegate Pushkin needs your support for the Central Abuse Registry Bill this upcoming legislative session. 

Think domestic violence offenders only abuse their partners? Not so. Domestic violence offenders are often the same men who commit mass shootings, such as the Las Vegas shooter of 2017.

As if it isn’t horrifying enough that three women a DAY are murdered by partners and exes, these same men murder their own children, co-workers, first-responders, family members, and neighbors. They are also more likely to abuse animals. 

What if someone has three restraining orders from three victims? What if he is convicted of three misdemeanors? What if your daughter just met him? What if you were considering asking him to coach Little League? What if you are considering renting a room to him? Hiring a tutor for your son? This information would be free to request. And it should be! 

Please contact your representatives, West Virginia, and ask the House of Representatives to put the Central Abuse Registry Bill on the agenda this 2018 session! 

Use this link to find their phone numbers and email addresses: Contact Your Representatives!

And don’t forget, you can also send letters to the editors of your local paper urging your representatives to take action.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

"You Know What I'm Going to Say"- a poem of the Las Vegas Massacre by Andrea Fekete 

There has been another mass shooting.
You know what I'm going to say. The shooter was a(nother) American, white male.

A(nother) legally bought gun, legal bump stock. You know what I'm going to say.                     

You know what I'm going to say. He abused women, how shooters do. Hundreds of humans died for no real reason.

People just like you and me, with skin, bones, and hearts, some with scars, explained in stories beginning with, "there was this one time" they tell at parties or to someone they loved.

They each had smiles, dimpled or crooked, toothy or bright. Each loved by at least one someone. Each with the same beginning, curled quiet in a woman's womb.

Many had run down a green field toward the goal or slung a bat into dust before speeding around bases. Some had jumped out of airplanes, maybe clinging the hand of a husband or best friend, laughing. All remembered their first kiss or the first that counted, at least.

Surely, they'd flown a kite.

Baked a pie. Drank wine, played in snow, surely, cried in a driver's seat to a love song.
Willie Nelson or Alicia Keys, maybe?

Just like you and me, they gathered at a church school work theater a concert to
pray learn work watch a movie hear someone sing.

You know what I'm going to say.
They were just minding their own business.
Nobody knows why he did it.
They were innocent.

Here are a few things about the victims, Things You Didn't Know I Would Say...

He was a young registered nurse.
He shielded his wife's body with his own.
They were married just over a year. She survived.        
He was killed.

She was 32 and the youngest of four siblings.
She loved the Golden State Warriors.        
She was killed.

He was from San Francisco and served in the Navy for five years as a master-at-arms.    
He was killed.               

He was a young Walmart employee who loved
music and helping his neighbors.
He used his own body to protect his friend's wife. She survived.       
He was killed.

She was a kindergarten teacher from Palmdale, California.
She was killed.

He was 34, a soldier in the 100th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Las Vegas. He was killed.

She worked for the Manhattan Beach
Police Department for 10 years.                             She was killed.

His sister, Shannon, described her brother as a man with a hearty laugh who loved hockey.     
He was killed.

She graduated from Riverside Poly High School in 2015. She was a cheerleader, in choir, and theater.
She was killed.

He was a 23-year-old mechanic's apprentice, an only-child.
He was killed.

She was a high school secretary in New Mexico.     
She was killed.

She was a family law attorney that coworkers described as happy.
She was killed.

He laid his body over his wife's as a barrier and said "I love you." 
She survived.
He was killed.

She was a 20-year-old receptionist described by her friends as a "ray of sunshine."
She was killed.

She was the office manager at an elementary school. She had two children.                    
She was killed.

He was 20, a fisherman and snowboarder.
"He was the most kind and loving soul" said his sister, with whom he spent his last minutes.
He was killed.

She was a single-mother of three.
She just adopted a 2-year-old girl.                            
She was killed.

He was 56, remodeled homes and loved dune-buggies. His son said, "He gave his life for someone he didn't even know."                         He was killed.

They were teachers and fathers, sons, daughters, moms, and popaws.
They were aunties and nurses, soldiers, and cops, best friends, artists, and brothers.
They were uncles and bankers, fishermen and cousins. They sang and cried, laughed and told stories, cooked meals or gave birth and danced.

They each whistled and whispered, hoped and wished when blowing out birthday candles.
They all knew how to cry.
They were all someone's best friend.           They are remembered, missed, and grieved. Like each of us, they loved. Most importantly, they loved. You know what I'm going to say.                  

Please, stop me if you've heard this part.          
Please.

They were all killed.

This poem is dedicated to the families of the innocent, beautiful music-lovers who were murdered in the Las Vegas Massacre October 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. 






Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the West Virginia coalfields in Logan County. She is a proud "Man Hillbilly." She is author of the novel Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and high schools. Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, and ABZ, and more.


In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College.

Currently, she is seeking an agent for her newest novel-in-progress Native Trees. She is also currently seeking a publisher for the anthology of women's writing Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, which she co-edited with the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge.

All blog materials are copyrighted (2017) by Andrea Fekete and may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the express permission of the author.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn in West Virginia: Giving Thanks by Giving 

"Welcome Fall. Welcome October. Welcome All Hallow's Eve. Welcome sour pumpkin-smell, surrounding porches. Welcome yellow, rust-orange, and dirty-red leaves, near-rotting, and spotted in brown. Welcome cold mud caking the bottom of our boots. Welcome cheek-freezing, late-November nights, just tipping over the blade-sharp edge of winter." 

(From the novel Native Trees copyright 2017 by Andrea Fekete. This except may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the express permission of the author)


Giving Thanks This Season

Friends, give thanks if you are lucky enough, on this first day of autumn, to know where you'll sleep during the long dark of winter. Give thanks if you have heat, food, warm water, and a good coat to wear. Give thanks if you're not counted among the 1.6 billion homeless worldwide. Give thanks if you live in West Virginia, yet are not one of the 275,280 people struggling with hunger - and your children are not among the 79,050.

Give thanks if you sleep beside someone who loves you, safe in a real home with windows that glow warmly in the night. 

Give thanks and gratitude by giving to your local missions, food pantries, Salvation Army, and local churches


Donate or volunteer with these local shelters in Charleston or Huntington, West Virgnia. 

Union Mission: Crossroads Men's Shelter503 Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston, WV 25301 304-343-4352

Mountain Mission (Kanawha Valley)1620 7th Ave, Charleston, WV 25387. 304-344-3047

Sojourner's Women's Shelter1418 Washington St E, Charleston, WV 25301. 304-340-3562

Huntington, WV City Mission624 10th St, Huntington, WV 25701304-523-0293

Salvation Army List of Local Resources 

Heart and Hand Outreach Ministries 212 D StreetEdit Charleston, WV 25303   304-342-0029


Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the West Virginia coalfields in Logan County. She is a proud "Man Hillbilly." She is author of the novel Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and high schools. Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, and ABZ, and more.

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College. 

Currently, she is seeking an agent for her newest novel-in-progress Native Trees. She is also currently seeking a publisher for the anthology of women's writing Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, which she co-edited with the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Excerpt from the novel-in-progress, "Native Trees" by Andrea Fekete

No, she's not really a blogger! She's a West-Virginia-coalfields-born-and-raised novelist and poet who writes about her native land. Andrea Fekete's newest novel, set in a modern-day southern West Virginia coal-town, follows the main character, thirty-something Honeybee, who returns home to Blue Rock Creek, after she spent two decades in Boston, Massachusetts.

The following is an excerpt from "Native Trees" by Andrea Fekete (copyright 2015). Reproducing, copying or distributing this excerpt in any form without express written permission from the author is violation of the law and copyright infringement.

"During those 20 years in Boston, where I was called my legal name, Harper, I had forgotten what I was called on this creek when I was a little girl. When I got back home, I worked with my sisters, Tina and Maggie, running the family grocery store. Us three was together again, how I felt like it should always be. And Jeremiah was there too, still with the same smile.
They’d teach me what all I’d forgot, mostly who I am. They had remembered and kept my name for me, my "real" name for me.

On October 28, 1977, I came into the world. Daddy was holding me for the first time and declared my name. Mommy said, “I ain’t namin’ our baby girl after your damn goofy brother. I love him too, but Harper’s a boy’s name!”

As usual, Mommy eventually gave in to Daddy’s wishes, and I was named Harper. But true to form, Mommy would find her own route to get her way, by giving me a name of her choosing, Honeybee. This name would stick for the rest of my life, at least here in Blue Rock Creek.

Since I’ve grown up, most folks call me simply “Honey” but to my mommy, two sisters, and my old long-forgotten childhood friend Jeremiah, I will always be their Honeybee.

Harper Jordon never appears anywhere but in typeface, with personality-less fixed letters made with a machine by somebody who don't know or care to know me. Honeybee only appears written in longhand, with great big or too small H's or funny-looking, scrunched together e's, depending on the personal flair of each loved one who wrote it.

The only proof a Honeybee ever existed is its appearance on keepsakes, yellowed, tattered notes from childhood friends, love letters  from high school boyfriends, and birthday cards. My heart just don’t react when I hear I love you, Harper not the way it rises when I hear, I love you, Honeybee.
For two decades, I was away from Blue Rock Creek being Harper, attending a not-Ivy-League but semi-decent university in Boston.

One day in some science class, the professor explained the importance of place and of names, about how planting trees in their native soil is best because it’s in their home soil where they survive best. Trees in native soil are more resistant to drought and disease.

Trees in their home soil stand the strongest. After 20 years in Boston, fate intervened to send me home. I knew I could fall back home, get well, and then return to the “real world” of the city, return to being Harper. But that didn’t happen. I was home.

In its native land, the native people there often know every tree’s name by sight. After a month in West Virginia, I slowly started to forget Harper. Everything there, my sisters, Grandma Bibi, the store we owned, the hills, and the little boy, Jeremiah, all grown up, who’d I’d forgot all about, reminded me of myself. I slowly grew backwards, into a native tree again, standing in soil that remembered my name, Honeybee."



Photo credit: Andrea Fekete 2016

The above excerpt is from "Native Trees" by Andrea Fekete (copyright 2015). Reproducing, copying or distributing this excerpt in any form without express written permission from the author is violation of the law and copyright infringement.



Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the West Virginia coalfields in Logan County. She is a proud "Man Hillbilly."

She is author of the novel Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and high schools. Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, and ABZ, and more.

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College. 


Currently, she is seeking a new publisher for Waters Run Wild and for her newest novel-in-progress Native Trees.  She is also currently seeking a publisher for the anthology of women's writing Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility which she co-edited with the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Anthony Bourdain Loves West Virginia 


That is Anthony Bourdain and my mom at Keith's bar and grille in Man, West Virginia. (Y'all seen pics of me there on my blog post about my being a part-time city mouse) He's visiting the coalfields and apparently, thinks it's got some beautiful country, great food, and people.

Online, he has said nothing but kind things about coalfield people. A person who is truly worldly and intelligent understands the value in all cultures and is respectful to members of that culture. I'm sure he wouldn't mind my calling myself hillbilly.



I may have to call myself "Appalachian" when I am around certain company to avoid offending (think, authors and conferences about Appalachia) or so they do not think I am dogging myself, because to some people, "hillbilly" is a dirty word, but I AM a hillbilly. It isn't a dirty word. My dialect and accent are also not dirty to me. I'm not ashamed of people from my hometown, even the few who may fit the stereotype nor am I ashamed of those parts of myself that are "stereotype." If it embarrasses someone that I haven't dropped my accent, they really have too much time on their hands. 


I caught a LOT of shit for my last blog post "Fake Hipster Hillbillies: We Working Class Ain't Your Costume." It's about that famous (and very, very old) story of outsiders exploiting our culture for personal and corporate profit.  I also talked about divorcing the term "Appalachian" when referring to myself. Outsiders hated it.

Those who hated it seemed to think us country mice from the coalfields ain't allowed to talk about our own culture or decide how we want it treated. They also felt entitled enough to tell me allllll about it in really, really long posts to my author page

People think I'm against outsiders coming in. I'm not. People think we don't want anyone bringing new industry or spreading our wares outside our region. Wrong! There's a difference between helping our people and exploiting us. 

It's true, I don't want you selling quilts you made. How about you buy them off someone from the region who makes them and sell those? How about you don't sell "Appalachian cuisine" without hiring a chef from the region? Why not buy some of our locally-grown foods and other products for your restaurants and dinner-tables?

How about you don't write books about us and make money off them without writing about us respectfully? Better yet, support authors FROM here who do that already! (Yeah, I'm in this book but so are LOTS of my favorite West Virginia writers!) 

Buy me!


I've been told I am abandoning my heritage because I am dropping the term "Appalachian" (now that outsiders bought it) and instead, I'm calling myself hillbilly.

Apparently, outsiders think it's only OK to choose what term you wish to be called (or to call yourself) if you are a member of any other subculture in the US. 

Hillbillies are the last group in the US who it is socially acceptable to exploit for personal or corporate gain, so, stands to reason we're the last group who get to call ourselves what we choose, right?

Well, those who hated me for my blog post need to know, a lot of people back in my hometown are cool, and we do NOT call ourselves "Appalachian" but Hillbillies, Man Hillbillies! 



AND

Visitors ought to learn a lesson from Mr. Bourdain. Be respectful. Leave your judgment of our dialect, manner of dress, humor, and whatever else you ain't used to, at the door

Then, sit down and let's talk. One mouse to another.





Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the West Virginia coalfields in Logan County. She is a proud "Man Hillbilly."

She is author of the novel Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and high schools. Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, and ABZ, and more.

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College. 

Currently, she is seeking a new publisher for Waters Run Wild and for her newest novel-in-progress Native Trees.  She is also currently seeking a publisher for the anthology of women's writing Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility which she co-edited with the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The University of Wikipedia: Training Facebook Warriors of Tomorrow 



It's hip right now to get your PhD from Wikipedia! Everybody's doing it! We are conveniently located anywhere you have an internet connection. Tuition is as free as an internet troll's unbridled stupidity.

Are you stuck in a dead-end job where no one cares if you exist? Are you in need of a defense mechanism for your uncontrollable feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing?

Do you preach endless tolerance for everyone, yet deeply hate anyone who has an opinion different than your own?

Do you have few interests of your own but enjoy poo-pooing the interests of others?
Does seeing strangers openly express their happiness and opinions on social media just bite you right in your uptight, judgy ass?

Are you the naysaying nay nay who can't pass by an online opportunity to tell someone they are wrong, wrong......and wrong? But you'd never do it in-person because even YOU know deep-down, behaving so abrasively in-real-life is socially unacceptable and just plain shitty.
Then, we're a perfect fit for you.

The University of Wikipedia will prepare you for your happy, fulfilling life as a full or part-time Facebook warrior!

You'll easily dominate your opponents on social media and shine as the most knowingest of all the know-it-alls in the comment sections under every blog or Salon article you HATE during break at work.

Do you know the difference between you're and your? Do you know the names of the last three presidents? Do you have some vague idea of the location of North America on a map? Do you believe calling a woman a big, ugly lesbian invalidates her ideas?

Then, you have what it takes to become a University of Wikipedia graduate.
Apply for your graduate degree at the University of Wikipedia today!

It's easy. Merely type in a word, skim the pages briefly, and voilĂ ! You now know as much as the next rude dumbass with an Internet connection!

Learn to pontificate on topics about which you know little to nothing with more self-righty righteousness than a (closeted) gay TV evangelist threatening eternal brimstone and fire to "headed-straight-to-hell-homosexuals!"

We offer cutting-edge programs in political science, history, sociology, quantum physics, religious studies, English, microbiology, and many others! You can study any topic you can fabricate! Anything you claim is a thing can instantly be a THING! Like:
  • Obama is a Muslim or 
  • women's rights activists eat kittens
  • conservatives are wrong 100% of the time and should be whipped publicly with pillow cases full of potatoes
Some of our graduates have authored papers like:
  • The Art of War: Why I Know Better than Generals
  •  Trump and Trump: Forever and Ever Trump, Go to Hell Libtard! Truuuuump!
  • Gays and How They Destroy 'Merica with Gross Hand-Holding at Wal-Mart
  • Police Officers Suck and I Hate Their Faces (Until Someone Breaks in My House)
  •  Muslims are Bad, Mmkay?
  •  You Misused a Comma and Are Now Invalid
  • Hurricane Irmagerd: Why is Obama Golfing Now!? 
  • I'm a Liberal and Love All God's Creatures (Except Christians, You Guys are F'n Stupid, Brainwashed, Bigoted Assholes)
  • You're Wrong, Wrong, I Just Don't Like Your Face, Shut up, Stupid, You're So, So, Wrong. Trump is the best. I Hope You Get Hit By a Truck.
  • I'm Just in a Bad Mood: Wanna Wrestle?
Just minutes after graduation, you'll be fully-qualified to dominate the Facebook threads of ANY of your 1,000 Facebook friends you've never actually met in real-life!
You'll be:
  • correcting grammar based on memes about correcting grammar 
  • using logical fallacies in every conversation
  •  calling people feminazis, fascists, meanies, chauvinists, psycho right wingers or commie libtards 
  • Writing long posts using terms you don't understand what you picked up from other Facebook posts
  • And more 

...all this while completely confident of your 100% righteously right rightness, basking in the glow of your self-aggrandizing, extreme rightness!
Join us at the University of Wikipedia! Expand your horizons! Know a little bit about a whole lot but know almost everything about...well, nothing.
We are.......Wiki!







Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the West Virginia coalfields in Logan County. She is a proud "Man Hillbilly."

She is author of the novel Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and high schools. Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, and ABZ, and more.

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College. 

Currently, she is seeking a new publisher for Waters Run Wild and for her newest novel-in-progress Native Trees. She is also currently seeking a publisher for the anthology of women's writing Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, which she co-edited with the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge.