At this year’s Squire Summer Writing Residency, registrants got to know one another by collaborating on new stanzas for North Carolina’s State Toast.
North Carolina is the only U.S. state with an official toast. Here’s the first stanza of the original:
Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!
And here’s what Squire Summer Writing Residency attendees penned:
Here’s to the land of the ocean’s roar,
Where bicycle mechanics rise and soar,
Where Wolfe and Sandburg came to create,
So, Tar Heels, toast the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where the wind blows fair,
Home to Hatteras light and Virginia Dare,
Where the people work hardâ€”early and late,
On the Outer Banks of the Old North State!
Here’s to the sea where fishermen toil,
The inland palace found Tryon disloyal,
Where potters and weavers and writers create,
And in summer the Yankees still swarm the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where authors blossom,
Huler, Stephenson, Kenanâ€”awesome!
Where writers gather behind Peace’s gate,
The writingest land, the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where the keyboards pound,
Where the spouses complain of the ceaseless sound,
Where submissions are swift, rejections late,
To the writingest scribes of the Old North State!
(Scott Huler, who lead the workshop in creative nonfiction and who knows a thing or two about North Carolina’s State Toast, was so moved by the program he wrote the final stanza all by himself….)