We love the South. (Buy a Mule T-shirt) We appreciate all the quirks, follies, and faults that have brought the region to where it is today. If our beloved “below the Mason-Dixon Line” self gives way to the influences of a status quo world which requires all people to be of one idea — to walk in lock-step with all others — we cease to be The South.Read more
There is a story that says a black man once came to Edward White’s door, telling him he had no money, hadn’t eaten in days, was on his way to Carolina. Edward took the man into his house, made him a big meal, let him shower and spend the night in the guest room, and made him breakfast the next morning before sending him on his way with a few dollars. It’s a story my grandmother told me. I don’t know if it’s a lie, or maybe she told it to me in a dream, but that’s what the story says.Read more
An Outsider’s View of Guns and the Men Who Shoot Them
My daughter, born and raised in Virginia, had already sided with Robert E. Lee by the time she was five. Maybe it was all those Civil War reenactments we enjoyed over the years. Or perhaps it was all those conversations we had, where I tried to present a balanced view of states rights vs. federal jurisdiction, that pushed her toward feeling that, like Lee, Virginia and its values was not just her state, but her country.Read more
Some Lovely Creative Non-Fiction. Enjoy …
Moonshine Piedmont North Carolina
Nick Pegram, Nicholas Talley Pegram, my grandfather was born in the Piedmont of North Carolina 1864 during the height of the Civil War. He was six generations from his ancestor, George Pegram, who came to America to Jamestown in the mid 1600’s.Read more
My mother always tried half-heartedly to beat back the kudzu that found a home on the brick of our house. She insisted it would damage the roof shingles once it finally wormed its way in there, but I liked how it looked reaching across our porch and climbing up the windows. I imagined that one day I would see a little green leaf poking out from my windowsill or between the floorboards. I don’t think I would mind. I would let it take over, grow over the walls and the ceiling. I would live in a house of vines.Read more
1. The car I used to race Lance in is gone, broken into and caught on fire by someone trying to get out of the rain. Whoever was in there tried to put it outRead more
SOUTHERN LEGACY STATEMENT: In my archives there is a picture of a young tyke sitting astride a mule—a live mule. The youngster is me; perhaps age 5. The mule was one of the pair my Grandfather owned: Bob and Mag. Poppa plowed those mules on his farm in Rowan County, North Carolina where he raised cotton, corn, wheat, and a vegetable garden that couldn’t be beaten.
Although I wasn’t raised on that farm, I was allowed to pick cotton in his fields. Rest assured as a young grade school kid, my bag wasn’t one of the big bags made up of two “tow bags” sewn end to end. Those bags stretched out along the rows as various family members pulled the white fibers from the bolls. As small as my bag was, I was never able to fill it. Poppa usually gave me a quarter for my meager efforts. He took the coin from his leather purse which he kept in the chest pocket of his overalls.
I have memories of him sitting in the “fire room” of the weather beaten farm house as he filled his pipe from his can of Prince Albert smoking tobacco, listening to Gabriel Heater on the radio during World War II. Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I live in Memphis. It’s a wonderful town. I resent the Yankee preconception that Memphians have but a full set of teeth between them. We have many teeth. I have between fifteen and twenty, whatever’s the normal amount to have. Read more
By Gideon C. Kennedy The Desire of Wrestling A southern experience “Weighing in at 250 pounds and hailing from Shermer, Illinois, The Nature Toy Devin Desire!” The goateed ring announcer directs the audience’sRead more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in Frederick, Maryland elementary, middle, and high schools, often finding myself visiting Baltimore to see the Ravens and read extensively on Poe. Everywhere else felt like an invasion until I moved to South Carolina to graduate from a Florence high school. I went to Francis Marion University for an undergrad in English and Coastal Carolina University for my Master’s in Writing. I currently enjoy teaching college literature in Beaufort, SC and cannot get enough of the eager, curious faces at the mention of “Lenore” and “The Case of M. Valdemar.”
I consider myself a writer of dark fantasy, though my nonfiction pieces borderline on the absurd and bizarre. As part of the Southern Gothic Revival I feel it is necessary to be positive in every aspect of my life, even when the deep southern Classics weep in their ledgers. We are a collective of strong, captivating people, I see it in my southern husband—all the loving and unique facets of the South: intelligent, rational, observant, collected, close, empathetic, and, of course, creative. My husband is my Gothic Muse and the South my office tucked away in the thick, old growth forests. We have great ancestral roots that wind their way freely into our lives, our families, at the dinner table during grace, and our imaginations. Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I have lived in Birmingham, Alabama off and on my entire life, with brief stints in Mississippi, Florida, and New York City. The following essay is, in essence, an extended statement of my Southern legitimacy.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement: There is at least one dead mule in my family’s history. My uncles “accidentally” killed the family plow mule with a hammer blow between his eyes, then tried to bury him but rigor mortis set in and his feet stuck up about two feet about the ground when they rolled him in the hole. Being rural Southern Children of the 1940’s guaranteed their resourcefulness and determination and so they buried him anyway. My grandfather discovered him when he went looking for the mule that had run off. My uncles were 10 and 13 at the time of the “incident.” I’m a child of South Carolina’s low country, story telling and black water runs in my veins and family history. I’m a fading Southern Belle who believes and says; ” Here in the South we don’t keep our history in a moldy old book on a dusty old shelf, WE LIVE it EVERYDAY!” Read more
SLS: I got my first name, Margaret, from my paternal grandmother, Margaret Harmon Lupton, who rocked me and sang “Old Mrs. FIddle Faddle jumped out of bed, ran to the window and she stuck out her head, she cried John John the grey goose is gone and he must be on the town-o.” She liked to be called Granny. Granny liked guiltless Metrical (sp?) caramels and kept a big box of them on her coffee table. I could have one. One time I spent the night at her house on Ingraham Street in D.C. and in the morning we had breakfast in her kitchen. Cheerios in cream with lots of sugar. When her Cheerios were gone, she picked up her bowl and drank the sugary cream. Then I picked up my bowl and drank the sugary cream. Granny said, “How rude!” I said, “But you did it.” She said, “It’s my house.”Read more
Generations of men in my family proudly have the middle name Leroy, including myself. And all of us have had home-cooked meals of squirrel or frog legs or venison and never turn down a slice of vinegar pie.
It seemed normal, growing up, that my grandparents had a 45rpm jukebox in their living room with Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, Elvis and John Lee Hooker on regular rotation. Dancing and carousing five nights a week at the Cain’s Ballroom wasn’t enough for them.
As kids, during the deep, hot, shoeless and shirtless summertime, rather than go in the house for a cool drink from the kitchen faucet, we’d stretch our tongues out under condensation tube on the window air conditioning unit that always dripped a mud hole below it.
And as the evening rolled in, after supper, we’d catch fireflies and dob their green, luminous butts on our ring fingers, make our childlike proposals of forever to cousins—well, at least the brief forever that was until the glow faded into the gloam.Read more
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
On my twenty-second birthday, in the spring of 1979, I had a crawfish boil, my first. Ninety pounds of red mudbugs on a picnic table spread with newspaper, my birthday cake sitting at the end of the table like an afterthought.
I hadn’t been raised in Louisiana, but no one cared about any of that. My friends treated me like I was a local. After we ate we played pool at a bar downtown. Full of crawfish and Dixie beer, I drank shots of peppermint schnapps and flirted with the boy at the next table, telling him yes when he asked if I’d like to go to the city.
We drove uptown, to Tipitinia’s—this in the days when tourists hadn’t yet discovered it was the best place in town—and later, long after midnight, to the Dungeon, just off Bourbon, where I would navigate the steep wooden stairs on my way up to the bar, trying not to fall, drunk with desire for this boy I barely knew.
When the sun came up we took the old Hammond Highway home, driving through the bayous with the car windows open, WRNO cranked up loud, taking our youth and freedom for granted because we didn’t yet know any better. Read more