One of my greatest joys is visiting museums. I love museums of all kinds but I’m particularly fond of author museums. It should come as no surprise that my bias leans toward Southern authors. (And, if I break it down further, I’d say, I’m even fonder of Appalachian authors.) AContinue Reading

When you grow up sheltered in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains, magic is all around you. My people came from across the world to these mountains and hollers: bringing with them a mixture of religions, demons, folklore, and wisdom. The mixture of these cultures, combined with the ever-present headyContinue Reading

People are often horrified when I explain how much a scene in the movie Deliverance, based on the James Dickey novel, reminds me of my family and fills me with such fond memories. No, not that scene, though I can’t blame anyone when the mind instantly leaps to that part.Continue Reading

The dialect and language of Appalachia is unique. Our way of speaking hearkens back to 1500s Middle English. Some of our words are, arguably, even Old English. (Hit, for example, is, as Wylene P. Dial writes, “the Old English third person singular neuter pronoun for [the word] it . .Continue Reading

Their similarities were keen enough to define an archetype of the Appalachian writer at mid-20th century. Their differences were such as to make each a singular talent. Jesse Stuart, James Still, and George Scarbrough knew one another and admired each other’s work. All possessed shared experiences of growing up onContinue Reading

The rolling, rock strewn mountain forests of Southern Appalachia can be a wonderful place to experience the vast wonders of the natural world on a peaceful hike. The region is rich with bounty. Its hills, hollows, and valleys full of wild, edible plants, tasty fruits and berries, wholesome nuts, plentifulContinue Reading

Now my mind was again filled with memories of my mother’s homemade cakes. Boy, they sure were good. I wondered how they all were – my sisters and brothers. I wondered how my father was doing. My father didn’t write much, but he didn’t have to. I knew by nowContinue Reading

When my brother and I were little, we raced to sit in front of the TV to watch cartoons on our three channels. (Five, depending on how you rotated the outdoor antenna.) Whoever sat down first could watch whatever cartoons he or she wanted. This “plan” was doomed, however, whenContinue Reading

Growing up in the 1960s during an era of assassinations, civil unrest, and the war in southeast Asia, at times I wore sadness like a raincoat as a palpable and threatening cloud hung over the nation. My memories of that time recur as a series of stock and binary images: Continue Reading

  The causes of World War I are arguable, but its devastating physical and psychological effects on Europe’s home front and battlefield are not debatable.  Before the war, no one could have foretold that the events which stemmed mainly from rivalries and alliances1)Sherman, Denis, and Joyce Salisbury. The West inContinue Reading