Friday, January 1, 2010

Southern Authors - Rick Bragg in particular

I want to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.
(an Irish Blessing)

I had posted this yesterday when I realized it was my third post for the day, a bit much. So, I deleted it and here it is today

There is just something about southerners and writing, maybe a special gene? They can tell stories like no one else and Rick Bragg heads up that list of professional writers in my opinion!

I have read all his books and will soon own them all. I received his latest for Christmas and am reading it now, the most they ever had. It is good on so many levels, about the cotton mills of the south, globalization and how it has affected working Americans, his people (the working class of southerners in Alabama right on the Georgia line). It starts in the early 1900's and comes right up to 2001 with stories told him from the descendants of those early mill workers. It breaks your heart, but it is also uplifting to know the strength of these people. I think I identify with it because I come from that same class of working people who originated in the hills of Tennessee and North Carolina and migrated to the hills of southern Missouri, Christian County, in particular. Oh Lord it is like hearing stories told in the kitchen when we as children were sent outside or were banished to the living room but would listen as hard as we could to what the women folk were saying that we shouldn't hear.
They didn't work in mills, but were laborers of one kind or another. They worked hard all week and drank hard on the weekends. During my Grandpa's time, lots of troubles were resolved with fights, knives usually the weapon of choice. There were moonshiners in the area, every man had coon dogs and that was a favored pastime, that and squirrel hunting.

I would suggest you read at least one of his books; his writing alone is worth it even if the stories don't interest you. They are not huge tomes, but don't let that fool you. They are stripped down to the bare essentials of truth. They flow over you like music. I can almost cry reading them.

Now I will listen to Levon Helm's The Dirt Farmer and my nostalgia will be complete.

I finished the book late yesterday. It should be required reading for all Congressmen and women! Maybe they would think harder about passing laws that send all our blue collar jobs to other countries..........

1 comment:

  1. I have to return some books to the library next week I will look for Rick Braggs books, I was wondering what to get to read next time thanks for the post.