A ‘Long’ Read

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 16, 2013 | Modified: May. 16, 2013
A ‘Long’ Read

For more than 40 years, Noyes Capehart Long has been known as an accomplished artist and esteemed professor.

He has had countless portraits featured in some of the nation’s most prominent museum’s, including the Smithsonian. His tenure in teaching spans three states and has presided over classrooms during some of the nation’s most turbulent and inspiring times, including the Civil Rights movement and the conflict in Vietnam.

Now, Long is receiving some recognition as a wordsmith with the publishing of his new written work, “Devil’s Mark.”

Long, who is a Nashville, Tenn., native, came to the High Country in 1969 to teach in the art department at Appalachian State University.

Prior to his Carolina relocation, Long taught at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., before earning his master’s degree at Missouri University and later instructing at the University of Mississippi.

Since retiring from ASU, Long said he’s been in “creative mode.”

While Long has devoted much of his professional career to either creating or teaching visual arts, he also cultivated a deep love and appreciation for writing.

As the years quickly passed, Long grew rich in life experiences and spent many evenings with his family, regaling them with past travels.

He particularly enjoyed telling stories of his experiences as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from 1958-61.

Long came to the Big Apple with a professor to take in some of the sights and sounds of the city. What was supposed to be a four-day trip soon turned into a three-year stint, as he tried to deeply submerse himself in the galleries as a young security guard.

One evening, a story struck a chord with his daughter, Jennifer.

“We were sitting around the table one evening, when my oldest asked me to tell a New York story, and it had almost became a joke by that point, and I said, ‘Do you mean No. 17 or No. 34?’” Long said. “After dinner, Jennifer said, ‘Dad, you should write these (stories) down.’ And I realized that she was right.”

While his book, “Potato Eaters,” has yet to reach the press, Long was not discouraged and remained dedicated to his craft.

Another book that has yet to receive a publisher’s approval was inspired by his experience of beginning an art program at a prison in Spruce Pine.

“I wanted to give inmates an opportunity to express their feelings and release some of the toxins they lived with everyday,” Long said. “As I was finishing up, I came up with an idea for a novel.”

After years of penning new works, Long finally received the much anticipated acceptance letter he desired for his first novel, “Devil’s Mark,” which is now available for order.

“This book is fictional,” Long said. “This story is about art in a broad sense of the word. It is a very multilayered story.”

At the bare skin and bones, “Devil’s Mark” centers on a piece of artwork stolen from a private collector by the Nazis during the late 1930s for the purpose of filling Adolf Hitler’s personal museum.
The book shifts between modern and past periods of time, as the great grand daughter of one of the stolen pieces of work discovers the missing masterpiece in modern-day Europe.

Long said the reader is also gently guided back 500 years to the Renaissance period before the book comes full circle. “The book has ways of tying the past to the present,” he said.

While the road to becoming a published writer can be challenging, Long said it is also rewarding — even if he has to battle many misconceptions.

“People will ask, ‘Why don’t you get these (his other manuscripts) published?’” Long said.

His response?

“Why don’t I become seven feet tall?” he said. “The publishing world is one of the most difficult to get into. It would be like me putting one of my paintings in a car, driving to New York City and taking it to the different galleries and asking them how would they like to give me a gallery for my show?”

Orders for Long’s book in paperback and the version for Kindle can be filled at http://www.amazon.com or by visiting http://www.capehart.org.

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