By Hank Bond
The Greenup Beacon
Georgia Green Stamper lived in the area for 30 years, from 1967 – 1997. She is the daughter of Dexter and Geraldine Green and was born in 1945.
She is married to Ernie Stamper and they have three adult daughters: Shannan, Becky and Georgeann, each of who graduated from Russell High School.
She and her husband Ernie, a retired Ashland Inc. executive, lived in Greenup County for 30 years, and now live in Lexington.
They are the parents of the three adult daughters and have six grandchildren.
She graduated from Owen County High School in1963 and Transylvania University, 1967. She did graduate work at Morehead State University.
Georgia is a former high school English and speech-theater teacher at Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland.
What exactly does she do now?
“I write. I have been back page essayist for Kentucky Humanities Magazine for about four years; and have been a local NPR commentator for WUKY at University of Kentucky for 4 – 5 years.
“I have also been a local newspaper columnist for about 10 years; author of two book length collections of essays You Can Go Anywhere (2008) and Butter in the Morning (2012).
“Both of these were recognized by the Carnegie Center in the series New Books by Great Kentucky Writers and praised by reviewers in The Courier-Journal and other regional newspapers.
“I am affiliated with the Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau, I also speak throughout the state about the importance of preserving family and local stories. I also teach writing workshops.”
Stamper has been in this pursuit for a long time.
“I’ve written most of my life, but first began to get published about 12 years ago.”
Stamper said she can’t pinpoint exactly where and how she has reached this point in her writing career.
“That’s a hard question to answer since I’m unclear on where I am now or even where I set out to go.
“I’ve worked is the easy answer, but I’ve also had a bit of luck and help from kind people along the way.”
Reading began her road to authorship.
“An only child growing up on a farm, I read voraciously to keep from being bored to death. Many people who love reading, I think, want to try their hand at writing.
“I would compare it to going to the circus, loving it, and then wanting to take a turn as the ringmaster or least become a part of the act.
“I also grew up in a family of storytellers. That’s how they entertained themselves in rural Kentucky in the mid-20th Century. I breathed in the stories as surely as I did the air.”
She set her course in several ways.
“I read then and read now. I think reading is the best way to learn to write, maybe the only way.
“I majored in English in college which is another way of saying I read. But in my college classes, I began to think about the craft of writing, the parts that made the whole, in a way I had not done before.
“For the past 15 years, I have attended writing workshops conducted by the best instructors I had access to. I have studied with Tony Crunk, Joyce Dyer, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Silas House, and Linda Scott DeRossier to name a few.
“The most significant mentor in my writing experience, however, has been Leatha Kendrick. I have been privileged to study under her at Lexington’s Carnegie Center for many years, and continue to do so whenever I have the opportunity.
“I regret that I did not pursue an MFA degree. Circumstances did not align earlier in my life to allow for that, and now I think I am too lazy to do the work required.
“Finally – oh, really, this is the important thing I do to “enhance” and “grow” – I stay in the room.
“I do not believe in “inspired” writing or waiting for the muse to strike. Writing is like learning to play the piano. Even if you can play by ear, you still have to practice, practice, practice.”
She spends most of her time writing.
“I just write. Every time I finish an essay, I am convinced that I will never be able to write another, that I have said all that I could possibly have to offer.
“ But then I get up the next day, or the next week, and start again. I wish I could say that writing has gotten easier for me. It has not.
“If anything, it is harder for me now than when I began because I am a better writer.
“Better is harder to produce than the “so-so” that satisfied me at the outset. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to produce great writing.’
Stamper continues to look ahead.
“Well, I hope to have a third collection of essays published within the next year or two. I also have – as most writers do – an uncompleted novel stashed in my computer. I’d like to finish that novel even if it’s never published.”
Stamper can point to many who have assisted her along the way.
“So many wonderful teachers have encouraged me along the way – I named a few earlier – but my high school English teacher, Eileen Morgan, perhaps gave me the greatest early encouragement along with Dr. Albert McClain, my creative writing teacher in college. Theirs were the two voices I heard early in my life who thought I had a knack for writing, and their opinion hung around in my head even during my silent decades of teaching and child rearing.”
She finds writing a life’s motivation.
“Writing makes my brain feel alive! And sometimes, people even stop to listen to what I’m saying. So I guess I would say that writing connects my heart and mind to other hearts and minds, and reassures me that I am not alone in my responses to the universe.”
Stamper is: “Part humorist, part memoirist, part philosopher and sociologist – essayist Georgia Green Stamper is hard to categorize.
“Some critics have called her a Kentucky Bailey White. Others have compared her to Wendell Berry.
But most agree with novelist Silas House who said, “Stamper's essays do that most important thing that only the most accomplished writers are sometimes lucky to do: capture and preserve a place, a time, and its people.”
A seventh generation Kentuckian on both sides of her family tree, Stamper grew up on a tobacco farm in Northern Kentucky.
An only child, she turned to books for companionship and dreamed of becoming a writer. Although she published a poem in a national magazine, Wee Wisdom, when she was in the second grade, her writing ambitions languished for a lifetime while she did other things.
She says it was not until a dozen years ago that she began to frame her experiences as literature with the realization that they told a story larger than her own.
Her essays appear regularly on the back page of Kentucky Humanities Magazine, and have been published in a variety of journals, magazines and literary anthologies, most recently Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas (Kentucky Monthly Press.)
Since 2004, she has written a column, “Georgia: On My Mind,” for The Owenton News-Herald. In early 2006, she became an NPR local commentator for NPR member station WUKY at the University of Kentucky. Close to 100 of her stories have aired in the WUKY listening market.
Supported by the Kentucky Humanities Council, she speaks throughout the state about the importance of preserving local and personal stories.
Her first book, You Can Go Anywhere, was included in The Carnegie Center’s “New Books by Great Kentucky Writers” 2008 series. The Courier-Journal described it as “elegant in its simplicity—as well as simply elegant.”
Her second collection of essays, Butter in the Morning, was released in December 2012. It was included in The Carnegie Center’s “New Books by Great Kentucky Writers” 2013 series.
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63rd district tournaments: All games of the tournament will be held at the Lewis County Middle School Gymnasium.
Thursday, February 26,2015: 7:00 p.m. Girls-Championship
Russell vs Lewis County - champtionship
Friday, February 27,2015: 7:00 p.m. Boys-Championship
Greenup County vs Raceland - championship
64th district: All games of the tournament played at Boyd County Middle School
Thursday 7:00 girls championship
Ashland vs Boyd County
Friday 7:00 Boys championship
Boyd County vs Ashland