South ~ My Writing Inspiration
Land of Legend, Song, and Hallowed, Heroic Memories
Southern fiction? The words of Edward Carmack (1858-1908), Congressman,
Senator and prominent journalist in Tennessee, offer a an insightful
place to start a discussion of my motives for writing about the South and
South is a land that hs known sorrows. It is a land that has broken the
ashen crust and moistened it with tears, a land scarred and riven by the
plowhare of war and billowed with the graves of her dead, but a land of
legend, a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic memories. To that
land, every drop of my blood, every fibre of my being, every pulsation
of my heart is consecrated forever. I was born of her womb, I was nurtured
at her breast and when my last hour shall come, I pray that I may lie upon
her bosom and be rocked to sleep within her tender and encircling arms.
literature, has long been recognized as a distinctive genre few other regions
of the United States can claim, the exception being the Western.
A look at the genre and its writers gives one a clue about the depth, breadth
and richness of the vein of storytelling ore that runs through the culture
of the South.
South Alabama cotton field
variety of locatings and settings is equally rich -- from mountains to
seashore, great forests to desert to lush farmlands, glittering cities
to sleepy small towns to vast rural stretches.
South boasts other elements that speak to its uniqueness... its 160 or
so spoken dialects and delightful Southernisms... the cuisine --
sweet tea, tomato sandwiches, cornbread, fried chicken (for that matter,
fried anything), succulent seafood and spicy gumbo ... the flora -- live
oaks draped with Spanish moss, ubiquitous pines, creamy-blossomed magnolias
and yucca, showy azaleas, sweet-smelling honeysuckle...
Pensacola -- My little sunbaked city by the
there's the history, the culture -- ten thousand years of Indian civilization,
European settlement, antebellum plantation society, the pervasive influence
of Christianity and tradition, and postbellum economic oppression that
lasted for generations. Throw in the hunting and fishing, Sunday
singings, college football extravaganzas, going to mama'n'them's, the many
distinctive music genres, renown hospitality and much, much more, and you
begin to see what makes Dixie a fascinating backdrop for the storyteller's
My Other Interests
Century Modern...anything. Art, architecture, furniture, housewares, fashion,
you-name-it. Vintage Travel Trailers -- restoration, or building new to
look old... Southern History and Heritage. Small craft design
a former staff writer for The Florida Sun, (now the Pensacola
Independent News), which was published, starting in 1999, in Pensacola,
Florida by former Congressman
Joe Scarborough (now the star of "Morning Joe" on MS- NBC).
Cover to Cover, Never Bound by the Truth" said the little slogan in the
top left corner of the cover. My articles were all nonfiction and
ran the gamut from travel to current events and chemtrails to Bigfoot in
me to write
Stout -- author of the Nero Wolf detective series -- the voice
of Archie Goodwin, who shares with Scout Finch the honor of being my favorite
first-person narrator. I read my first Wolfe Book at age thirteen, Might
As Well Be Dead.
Parkinson Keyes -- her sprawling Louisiana novels are a bit dated
now and politically incorrect but her settings and characters are highly
memorable. (Clyde Batchelor of Steamboat Gothic is the quintessential romance
Browning -- Back in the '80s, Dixie was the first to inspire me
to try my hand at writing romance. Most Dixie's novels that I read were
set in the South, along the Atlantic coast, which was a big attraction
for me. It was doubly enjoyable because I could tell Dixie was a Southerner
and knew her setting, and Southern people.
Mitchell -- Need I say more?
grew up a preacher's kid in Georgia and Alabama. My identity as a Southerner
is stronger than my identity as an American simply because it goes back
It goes back to at least age three when I was too young
to articulate it. We would climb into our pale green Henry J to go to church,
to town, or to visit family, and I would stand in the front seat (no wussie
car seats or lap belts for us Boomer kids, nosiree), stare out the windows,
and feel a sense of belonging to this place...
identified the place that evoked this sense of belonging as my hometown,
Dalton, Georgia, but as I grew older, the boundaries of my place expanded
outward. By the time I reached my teens, it encompassed the entire South.
sweet boy Flipper
a crazy cat lady. So what.