Category: Essays / Memoirs

“Grandpa! Grandpa!” by Jeanne Lupton

southern legitimacy statement:
Since coming to Northern California ten years ago from a lifetime in Virginia where my father’s Quaker family had lived sinnce around 1720, i can see my time there more clearly as material and have enjoyed working with memory to write about it. Hope you enjoy.
**We encouraged Jeanne to find her voice. The little voice tucked away in her heart. Well, dammit, she did. How old are you when you remember? Six? Four? You will find this touching and brilliant. Odds are, you too will start remembering and when you do, write us a piece of your history. You can be six or four… or eighty.

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Six Short Works by Joyce Rushing “Dancing With Dementia”

Joyce has never published a darn thing in this world. Never thought she was a writer but knew she had some stories to tell. So she figured out how to submit with our Submittable process and we loved what we read. If you think this whole submission process is too complex, take heart. If she can do it — so can you. You will hear more from Joyce in October in our True Stories from the South issue. These six works are Prose Poems but they are more because of the quiet dignity of their truth. They will be published in both the poetry and essay sections.
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I’ve been married to a Mississippi boy for 54 years and lived in Mississippi for 50 years. I’m responsible for bringing 16 southern souls into the world… so far. That alone ought to be good enough for anybody.

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Heath Carpenter: Postmodern Reality Television: White County, Arkansas

SLS: I have spent the majority of my life in small-town Arkansas, with small stints in Europe and Florida. In that time I have experienced the glorious and the grit that encompass Southern living: Mint juleps and front porch sitting mixed with dirt roads and mosquito swatting. In the end, I am more Southern Gothic than Southern Gentry; give me Oxford American over Garden and Gun– O’Connor, Faulkner, and Percy are my champions.

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Everyone Wears A Nametag – Valerie MacEwan

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
My yard dogs are polite and only bark when strangers walking by neglect them and forget to speak to them. The voices of people I’ve never met will waft up to the second story windows of my home, “Hello there, everything okay today? How ya’ doing? Sweet pups. Nice pups … “

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An Eyepatch and a Grainy Orange Keypad by Kevin Winchester

Southern Legitimacy Statement…well, I poked a dead mule with a stick once. I know where “yonder” is. The first time I traveled north of the Mason-Dixon line I got in an argument with the assistant to the assistant manager because their restaurant did not offer grits on the breakfast menu. Speaking of grits, I like mine with red-eye gravy. I believe Dukes mayonnaise and Cheerwine are part of the vegetable food group. I know how to clean a squirrel. I may or may not have Wilkes County, NC moonshine in a Mason in my cabinet. Did I mention that I know where “yonder” is? Eight generations of my relatives are buried in the red clay of North Carolina, and I reckon I will be too. Right over yonder…

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Ballerina of the Neighborhood by Jeanne Lupton

Southern Legitimacy Statement
How I miss the Virginia countryside, the dusy red dirt, the soft summer rain, the green of the Shenandoah Valley, the damp heat of the swampland where I grew up. I’m so proud Virginia went Obama’s way in the election. The Old Dominion ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be. How I love her, even now from the other coast, and I always will.

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Jeanne Lupton : Morning Glory Blue

The best thing about this essay besides the essay itself? We’ve asked Jeanne to write more for us. Betcha’ can’t wait until next month …
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in Virginia and live in Norhern California now. In imagination and memory Virginia will dwell within me as long as I live as a place of summer rain, the brilliant maples of October on Barton Street, cozy nights and peaceful walks in the woods at Skyland, a walk in a blizzard up to Columbia Pike to buy a jug of Gallo Port, wanting poems in a bottle, and such memories that make a life that’s a lot about the place where it happens.

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Cynthia Ezell : Mountain Laurel

Southern Legitimacy Statement

In my house, Saturday nights meant fried chicken and mashed potatoes and Buck Owens on the little black and white that sat in the corner by the fireplace. Like a proper southern man, Daddy grew all our vegetables, raised beef cattle and filled the freezer with venison. My mother taught me how to make hot biscuits and red-eye gravy when I was in elementary school. Our neighbors sometimes called the police when our rabbit hounds got a bit stirred up and bellowed all night. I never knew there were people who did not put sugar in their iced tea, didn’t eat cornbread with their white beans, and didn’t say y’all when addressing more than one person until I went to college. I never wanted to go anywhere else. Why would I? The South has Emmy Lou Harris, the Mississippi River, Flannery O’Connor, flaming red azaleas, catfish and stone-ground corn grits.

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