Category: Fiction

The Patriarch by Carla Cummins

SOUTHERN LEGITIMACY STATEMENT:

My family arrived in the Isle of Wight, Virginia, in the early 1600s and decided they were here to stay. Fortunes being what they were, it wasn’t long after before they headed down to Carolina and set up camp on the Black River, where they’ve pretty much been ever since.

I grew up drinking tea from mason jars and sitting on porches, catching lightning bugs and dropping my r’s. I can recite all the books of the Bible and sing all the verses to “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.” My first kiss was to a boy with a pickup truck and Cherokee blood in his veins, who smelled of Drakkar Noir and tobacco.

I keep bacon grease in a coffee can under my kitchen sink, fry my cornbread, and ensure my luck by eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day.

I may now live in Australia, but the South is the home I always carry with me.

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“An Old Man The Night Before His Death” by Colby Swift

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

In the southern summers, my childhood friend/neighbor and I kept ourselves busy. If we weren’t following our mutts up the backroads to the corner grocer for a ham sandwich and Mountain Dew, we were in the woods behind our houses, stalking down squirrels with our Model 10 Daisies. On one such day we happened across a copperhead snake coiled up in the underbrush. My friend retrieved his father who, equipped with a hoe, followed us to the snake’s bed and beheaded the thing. He dumped the body in a tin trash can behind the house for fear that the dogs would eat the remains, and me and my friend spent the rest of that day daring each other to open the trash can’s lid and look in at the headless carcass. As I recall, neither of us was brave enough to do it.

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Educated Tina by T L Sherwood

My SLS is like a country song. At 17, I moved to Texas, got married, moved to New York, got divorced and now I think about my exes, and Texas, but not always. Sometimes I think about the pool at the La Quinta hotel next to the Kettle restaurant where my husband and I used to eat pecan pie.

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The Front Porch by Tracei Willis

I consider myself to be a Southerner with Northern tendencies, an illegitimate daughter of the South if you will. I was born in Ohio to parents who were born and bred in Alabama. They felt their southern roots wilting when I was five years old, so they uprooted their flower child from sidewalks, snow, and front stoops, and transplanted me in red clay of Alabama, the Magnolia trees of Mississippi, and right up on my Big Mama’s front porch.
Whenever my Northern idiosyncrasies began to surface, my parents would send to one of my grandmothers for some Southern reconditioning. It was in the kitchens of Nellie Willis and Annie Jones that I learned some vital Southern lessons: 1. In the South there are canisters on kitchen counters that contain sugar, flour, corn meal and grits– store brand sugar is acceptable, but anything other than Martha White Self-Rising flour, Sunflower corn meal, and Jim Dandy grits, and you’ll have a sure-fire riot on your hands. 2. There are as many ways to cook grits as there are women who cook grits, just smile and rave about not ever having had a finer bowl of grits and you’ll be okay. 3. Every kitchen counter has two blue cans of Crisco, one that actually has Crisco in it, and the other to hold bacon drippings. (Don’t ask questions, just eat.) 4. Sweet tea comes two ways down here, cold and sweet. You can make it on the stove top, you can make on the back porch, you can add lemon, mint, peaches or berries– just don’t make it from a jar of instant powder mix, and don’t make it with sugar substitute– if you ask for unsweetened tea down here, you’re libel to end up with a cold glass of ice water. 5. The best seasoning for greens, peas, beans, squash, and corn? Meat. Preferably smoked meat. Preferably the neck, hock, or tail of a turkey, hog, or ox. Running short on meat? (That’s what that can of bacon drippings is for.)
I am a Southerner, by way of Ohio, transplanted in Mississippi, with kudzu-like attachments to Alabama.

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Running the Dogs by James Dunlap

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Born and raised in Arkansas with a hog pen in the front yard and pond in the back–grits on the stove. In these parts the Civil War is only referred to as The War of Northern Aggression. I grew up about three miles from Clifton Clowers and if you don’ t know who that is, I’ll have to ask you about your southern legitimacy. I could also tell you about the fishing, the trees and much cattle.

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A Mule’s Gotta’ Die by Molly Dugger Brennan

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Southern Legitimacy Statement: My family, having disappointed everyone on the European continent, arrived on the shores of Virginia in the early 1700s to start anew. Being too lazy to pack for another big move, we have stayed in Virginia ever since and made the best of it. I live in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and the trifecta of Southern legitimacy: a porch, a pack of dogs, and pie.

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Just Like His Daddy by C. Ciccozzi

Southern Legitimacy Statement

My parents were born in the south. Colloquialisms are so ingrained in me that when I repeat them, people in the western states look at me like I’ve got a caterpillar perched on my nose. I don’t think I’ve pronounced the ‘g’ on any word ending with ‘ing’ since I learned how to talk. I say pillas instead of pillows and windas … well, you get the idea. My brother taught me how to catch crawdads in a can when we were kids. He also shot me in the face with his BB gun. Ouch!

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The Recidivist by John Branscum

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

My father was possessed by a trailer. My sister gave into the influence of a creek full of evil spirits housed in wrecked cars. I myself am unduly vulnerable to the influence of heavy metal and hip-hop. I wear my shirt open two buttons – not on purpose but because this is simply the kind of animal I am. I partially grew up in a trailer in Big Flat Arkansas, without electricity, that smelled kind of funny because of the dead salamanders. I almost fell over in the outhouse while simultaneously balancing on the one plank that wasn’t rotten and taking a crap. I had few friends as a teenager in Kentucky. And the ones I did have were mostly dogs and trees. I’ve killed a lot of things and felt bad about it, but can’t figure out any other way to live.

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The Preacherman by Hannah Spicer

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I proudly claim Southwest Virginia as my home. I grew up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains with three brothers. My childhood was spent roaming through the woods, choppin’ off roosters’ heads (Mom said we couldn’t have more than one rooster at a time), and going to school. When I was fourteen, my daddy taught me how to drive a tractor. When I was fifteen, my little brother taught me how to shoot a gun (only because them darn coyotes kept snatchin’ the baby cows – I would not have touched a gun otherwise).

As I grew older, people seemed to think that these things were something to be ashamed ’bout. I tried to write things that didn’t quite sound like me, but were about city people. I don’t know a darn thing about city people, except what I read in books. Therefore, my writing wasn’t that great. Then, I started writing about what I know – country people, and my writing sounded pretty good.

I say, leave the city writin’ for those that live in the city. Me? I am goin’ to write about the country and my beloved Appalachian Mountains.

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Herself, Alone by John Riley

Southern Legitimacy Statement

In August there was always the river. On dog days, school beckoning, the joy of uninterrupted time between the morning and evening chores long absorbed by a sun that had flattened your expectations of what summer would bring, I seemed to always find myself at the river. Some people are drawn to fire, others to water, moving water that is, even if the movement is nearly imperceptible, and in my South the summer heat warned me away from fire. It was the river inching through the thick woods that lured me to come, preferably alone, to come and clear away a spot to sit among the dead leaves and rocks and branches, to come and immerse myself in the stream of thoughts and dreams and ambitions that, yet unbruised by the world, raced inside the visitor sitting above the patient river.

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