Big Canoe Writers

Words and Wit for the Ages

Carolina Wren

February 7
by Ken Reynolds

Some people have really interesting hobbies. Jim Tanner, a good friend and neighbor, shoots photos of the scenery and animal life in our North Georgia community. Jim says he has “been hearing and seeing this little Carolina Wren off and on for a few weeks.” Even now he is not satisfied. I think Jim’s assessment is modest. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Amazon Consume Everything?

December 19
by Ken Reynolds

Once upon a time independent merchants comprised the hubs of neighborhoods and the centers of small towns. Chains and big-box stores and the internet have all but eliminated those focal points of community commerce. Even the government post office, once “the center” of every community, has become little more than an outdated relic. The world of commerce has changed and we are not likely to return to the old days, but that change has altered our sense of loyalty to the community. Read the rest of this entry »

Where we meet

October 31
by Ken Reynolds

photo by Jim Tanner

October is a beautiful month in Big Canoe. Topography, weather and colors combine to make this a wonderful place to live. The autumn beauty surrounding the Lodge where The Big Canoe Writers Group has gathered since 1999 is not an atypical scene.

photo by Randy Lewis

The seasons do change, and before too long the colors will fade and winter snows will drive us inside to the warmth. The Lodge and it setting remains an inviting and enchanting place for writers and artists and everyone who is not immune to the majesty and mystery of our surroundings.

Personal debt and remedial classes

August 8
by Ken Reynolds
We should rethink our national idea that everyone should go to college

What has happened to the solid old notion of avoiding debt? Repayment has been a nagging problem since the inception of the Student Loan program. But now the Education Department reports a dramatic rise in late payments of student loans and in the number of those loans referred for possible legal action. No doubt the current recession is contributing to the problem, but there is another less publicized cause. In my opinion, the false belief that everyone should go to college has led to unrealistic academic and career expectations.

Read more of this opinion on Ken Reynolds’ blog

Small Bookstores

April 14
by Ken Reynolds

I would prefer to buy my books in person from an independent businessman, but in reality it happens only when I travel to a town that still has such stores. Several of my essays are about some of those places and I lament their passing. Our culture is changing, and  we will be poorer for the loss.

In 2008 I wrote the following article for “Smoke Signals” in recognition that times have changed, it is included in my 2010 book, Turned Pages.   KR

Where Did The Small Bookstore Go?

Do you remember small bookstores? Fifteen years ago almost every town had at least one bookstore for new books and another selling used books. The stores with new books had limited inventory — the latest best sellers and some of the classics. The remainder of the stock was devoted to cooking, crafts, current fads and children’s books. A real advantage was they would order almost any book you wanted and have it to you within a few weeks. Now those stores are hard to find. They could not compete with twenty to forty percent discounts on best sellers. Read the rest of this entry »

A Step Back In Time

March 5
by Ken Reynolds

Atlanta Book Exchange

The exterior of the Atlanta Book Exchange belies the treasure waiting inside. From a cramped parking area barely visible steps lead to an enclosed porch that functions as storage and display of a few-less-than valuable books. But, passing into the main shop reveals something akin to paradise.
Read the rest of this entry »

Galt and Roark: Rereading Ayn Rand

January 2
by Ken Reynolds

Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged is more widely read and John Galt is better known, but it is Howard Roark, the architect in The Fountainhead, who set the standard of the individual’s struggle to be true to his principles. Read the rest of this entry »

Unpaid Taxes: A Quandry?

October 7
by Ken Reynolds

     The Internal Revenue Service reports that as of the end of 2009 Americans owed more than $100 billion in delinquent federal taxes. The Washington Post points out that 638 employees of the U S Senate and the House of Representatives owed more than nine million of those dollars, and that a member of the House is sponsoring legislation to fire federal workers who are not signed onto a tax payment plan. The Post does not indicate whether the amounts owed include penalties and interest.

     Why do we need a new law to collect over due taxes? Is this another attempt by a member of Congress to make his constituents believe he is working for them?
Read this opinion  as published in Smoke Signals, October 2010

Read about Ken Reynolds on the Writer’s Bio page

Memorial Day Is Not A Vacation Day

May 9
by Ken Reynolds

This post is a part of a a special on-line edition of Smoke Signals Memorial Day Tribute to the men and women who have fallen in service to America. To read the special edition click here.

On May 31 some Americans will observe Memorial Day and consider the real sacrifices the day is designated to honor. Others will enjoy it without thinking about its meaning; to them it is just another holiday. Many others do not know that Memorial Day means more than just time away from their jobs. Even as the list containing the names of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan expands, our understanding of what that list means to our nation shrinks. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting Free Speech

April 6
by Ken Reynolds

What Happens to Free Speech If No One Listens

If we do not teach our children to disagree reasonably the next logical step is unreasonable disagreement. The step after that is violent disagreement. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Wrong With Encouraging Manual Arts Education?

April 3
by Ken Reynolds

Between 1944 and today we somehow morphed into an “everyone should go to college” national mindset. I accept the risk of being labeled a curmudgeon, but not everyone should go to college. There is a major difference between advocating college for every student and encouraging individual students to prepare…..    read College Is Not For Everyone

Let’s Repair The Broken Connections

March 10
by Ken Reynolds

Every generation likes to remember the good old days when things were different — meaning better. When I think seriously about what American life was like in my youth — not just my life, but life for Americans in general — I know we are healthier and more comfortable, but we have paid high prices. In my opinion the highest price has been a diminishing sense of connection — to one another, to our families and to our nation.

Read the rest of this entry »