Tag Archives: the South

Accumulated Baggage

Hello.

The good thing about never posting is that you eventually accumulate something worth posting.

And so it is with great pleasure that I link to a list of Ten Essential Southern Novels I wrote for Conversational Reading. Boiling down that list was instructive, revealing. So much gets left on the floor. For better or worse, there’s nothing too terribly idiosyncratic in my list, except for the fact that my list of novels includes four collections of stories. No matter, the collections are novelistically expansive, panoramically interesting. But it made me think of the paucity of my list-making ability. Get thee to the library! And it made me appreciate D.G. Myers’s energetic listing over at his excellent A Commonplace Blog. Here’s my favorite list he’s done thus far: Five Books of Professors.

In addition, I am happy to report that a short story of mine is in the newest issue of Louisiana Literature (27/2), available now in better bookstores and libraries everywhere. The story is called “Popular Baggage” and is included in the story collection that will come out next year. The story is my, ahem, High-School Prom story. Every writer who’s read Hemingway attempts a hunting story, and likewise, everyone who was a child in the 80s, or has seen too many John Hughes movies, has a High-School Prom story in them. My Prom story is a bit more like Carrie than Sixteen Candles, except there’s no blood, or telekinesis, or John Travolta, but there is dancing, by god.

Here’s how the story begins:

Continue reading Accumulated Baggage

The Portable Son: it’s officially forthcoming

Hello! I am happy to to announce that my first short story collection, The Portable Son, has been acquired by Aqueous Books, a wonderful new independent press brought to you by the same great people who run Prick of the Spindle. It will be published in the fall of 2011 both as a paperback and as a Kindle eBook. It’s difficult to write this blog post without sounding like a total spaz; I’m so excited I could spit.

The book is a collection of nine linked stories, all following a single character, Peter, from his Mississippi adolescence to his conflicted adulthood bouncing around the South, trying to figure out how to be a grown-up, which, if you read this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, is not merely a random authorial confabulation of upper-middle-class ennui, but is in fact an actual verifiable trend. (Ah, if we only had that “emerging adulthood” line back when we were twenty-four and sleeping in our childhood bunkbed. Back then they just called us Slackers.)

Anyway, three of the stories — “High Cotton,” “Timber Walking,” and “Nightswimming” — have already been published in print and online mags, and two more of the stories got picked up over the summer and will appear within the next several months.

So, in short, lots of excitement, and I am sure to actually begin posting something to this blog as my inevitable PR campaign of total devastation cranks its engine.

And I love that word — “forthcoming.” Good, good word.

How Much Cotton? High Cotton

Hello. I’m super pleased to report that my short story “High Cotton” has been published over at Fried Chicken and Coffee, the online blogazine run by Rusty Barns of Night Train fame.

The story is about two high school boys who start cotton diving in the afternoons. Much adventure follows.

Interesting historical factoid that’s somewhat related: in the story, the boys jump into actual metal bins of cotton. But now, if you drive through the Mississippi Delta in just a few short weeks, you won’t see many of these bins in actual use. Instead the farmers now pack the cotton in these long, rectangular bales and top them with plastic tarps. (The tarps almost always are blue for some reason.) They look like long blocks of cottage cheese, held together by some magical force. As such, they don’t look all that inviting for actual jumping. Alas.

But the old bins are still easy to spot. Like the slowly decaying cypress barns, they litter the landscape–another artifact of southern ruins.

Here’s how “High Cotton” begins:

Continue reading How Much Cotton? High Cotton