HERE'S HOPING: "Almost everybody in the book is a decent human being doing the best they can," says Ron Rash of his new novel, Above the Waterfall, his most optimistic book to date. Interestingly, despite more than a dozen drafts to fine-tune the language, Rash says he never rereads his own novels after publication.

Ron Rash’s new novel offers poetry, optimism

This sentence appears in the preface to Above the Waterfall, the newest novel by Ron Rash: “I watch last light lift off level land.” It’s just one of thousands of slight, deftly crafted lines. But there, before the story even begins, Rash slows the pace and announces himself, not just as a craftsman of rich, dark Southern fiction but also as a poet. He’ll present the novel at Malaprop’s on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold juxtaposes the dirt and decomposition of disused spaces with saturated colors that hint at former glory — a strategy that brings hauntingly evocative results to each canvas.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features the art project of Hendersonville photographer Walter Arnold, a new kiln for the ladies of Mudhoneyz Studio and entrepreneur Derek Plumb’s quest to make dorm rooms into havens for creativity.

Sparrow Pants and Keith Smith of The Resonant Rogues busking at the Flat Iron on Battery Park Ave. and Wall St. Photo by Erin Derham, Buskin' Blues.

Buskers to City: Don’t put art in a box

The streets and squares of Asheville were quieter than usual on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 24. Despite brilliant sunshine and pleasant temperatures, some of the city’s best-known street performers crowded into a meeting room to give City Council members an earful about proposed busking regulations in three high-traffic areas downtown.