What is the South? For some, it’s a place of comfort—even if only in memory—it’s fried chicken and homemade blackberry cobbler under spreading oaks after Sunday services in a little country church—the down-home south. For others it’s a place to escape from: poverty and drunkenness and cruelty; ramshackle houses where the wind blows through; lives teetering on the abyss—the grotesque South.
To others, it’s a place of cultural roots—Atlanta and Memphis, New Orleans and jazz and hip-hop and barbecue, Elvis and velvet and frilly pageant girls in fluffy dresses. It’s the Civil war and hoopskirts and our boys in gray; it’s Stone Mountain.
There are as many Souths as there are writers about it--Flannery O’Connor and Margaret Mitchell and Pat Conroy; Celestine Sibley and Lewis Grizzard and Sweet Potato Queens and Dixie Divas;Jim Grimsley and Rosemary Daniell and Connie May Fowler; Joshilyn Jackson and William Hoffman and Terry Kay.
I can only give you my South—hilarious and mysterious, frightening and puzzling and beautiful, sometimes pitiless, always redemptive. I can give you the sun on the golf course and the ghost under the bridge; the Spanish moss draping the swamps and alligators and the lazy Ocmulgee, and, of course, the cotton fields and the gins and the mills and those who work them. And most of all I want to give you a South bright and clear; a place full of poetry that sings in the spaces between all the notions about what the South really means .
One of my short stories is posted for your reading pleasure, along with some book reviews & choice miscellany.