Ed Laird “Crazy”

Southern Legitimacy Statement
For southern highlanders and we who are their descendants, words are revered, but reserved and used with economy. But when the few words we use fail us, music enlarges our emotional vocabularies, and our simple ballads of love and heartbreak speak volumes.

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Tracei Willis “Cornbread Musing and All Such As That”

Southern Legitimacy Statement
I learned many a lesson at the hands of the women in my life, from my mama to both my grandmamas, to my aunties on both my mama and my daddy’s side, but there was one critical lesson I never actually mastered to anyone’s satisfaction, not even my own children–making a decent pan of cornbread. For as far back as I can remember, there has always been some well meaning relative in my life trying to explain the do’s and don’ts of cornbread making to me. Pull up a chair, sit awhile, and listen to some of my kinfolk explain the Holy Southern Art of Cooking Cornbread.

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Bobbi A. Chukran “Sadie and the Museum Lady”

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in Texas and influenced by eccentric kinfolks who were farmers, artists, graveyard caretakers and sharecroppers. I was raised on fried catfish (caught on trot-lines using blood-bait), fried chicken, collards and turnip greens. I used to help my grandmother gather poke sallet down in the bottoms. At the age of 42, I realized that I was more Southern than Texan. Since then, I haven’t forgotten that.

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Reno Gwaltney “Trigger Foods”

Southern Legitimacy Statement
I live in Bergamo, a lovely medieval city in northern Italy. No big deal, considering that 130,000 other residents here are doing the very same thing right now. The only difference is that while most of them were born here, I grew up on some prime North Carolina swampland that only a reptile or the U.S. Marine Corps could call home.

Twenty-eight years of expatriate life and an intense love/hate relationship with Italy have indeed made a foreigner of me in both of my homelands. Perhaps the essays I have written about my life here in Italy as a gay Southern Wasp-turned-Buddhist and my childhood in the American South are an attempt to unite the two worlds.

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Laura Seaborn “The Turkey’s Beard”

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
We moved to Florida when I was sixteen and when we crossed the border into the state, there were bill boards: This is Wallace Country. That was my introduction into a different and intriguing world. I took to the South, learned to love grits, rutabagas, and anything deep fried. My Midwestern born and bred parents never adapted to Southern ways, but I quickly learned to call sweet potatoes, yams, and baked them into pies like any true Southerner.

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Caren Rich “The Fruitcake”

Southern Legitimacy Statement
I was born and raised in the South. Sweet tea runs through my veins. There are enough lights on my house during the Christmas season to signal planes. I make fruit cake and love the sweet sugary pillows that are divinity. My kids run year round barefoot and the dog doesn’t wear a collar. I am southern and proud of it.

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Gregg Punger “The Candle Girl”

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I was born and raised by a true southern woman from Mars Bluff, South Carolina in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where I spent most of my youth making forts and mud slides in the creek behind my house and playing football. Through her stories about her life growing up on a farm and my time spent at my ancestral home, a two story white farm house with columns and a large porch surrounded by woods and acres of fields, I learned to be a southerner.

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Steve Gowin “Ringneck”

SLS
I am a Yankee… Ok you’d find out sooner or later. But most of my writer friends are Southern writers. My affinities are for Faulkner and O’Connor. Well if that doesn’t sink me, I hope you enjoy my story.

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