At the end of February, we packed our bags (masks, sanitizer, and alcohol spray included) and took a daytrip to downtown Asheville, North Carolina, to visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, honoring the Appalachian writer, novelist, playwright, and poet, Thomas Wolfe. We took the scenic route on 25-W and it wasContinue Reading

One day, I’d just hung up the phone after talking with my mother, and my oldest son asked, “Mom, how come you talk different when you’re on the phone with Mammaw?” “Do I?” I asked, puzzled. My youngest son chimed in, “Yeah. You do. You talk more country. It’s weird.”Continue Reading

My first “spiritual” teacher arrived simultaneous to the literary discoveries. Anything but spiritual and much older, he drew me at nineteen into a long and difficult entanglement, a liaison lasting years that would, these days, set off all the #MeToo sirens. The sum of it was traumatizing, but there wereContinue Reading

I Appalachian women are, arguably, the most unacknowledged and undervalued segment of our region. But . . . that fact wasn’t always so, particularly in the matriarchal Cherokee tribe, where lineage was matrilineal (meaning the descent was determined through the female line), and where women were completely independent. They couldContinue Reading

A few years ago, I visited the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Rocky Top (formerly Lake City, formerly Coal Creek), Anderson County, Tennessee. The facility provides a historical glimpse into the lives of coal miners in the Fraterville and Briceville mines, particularly from the late 1800s to the 1930s. TheContinue Reading

We’ve come to the third and final post in a series about the Extraordinary Tanner family (See posts one and two.). Today, we’ll meet the trailblazing, tenacious Tanner women, who were exceptionally intelligent and highly successful in a time when women, especially African American women, weren’t afforded serious education orContinue Reading