I have to say I’m amazed to be included in this anthology of Southern women sinners. Really, all I did was enter an essay that I had so much fun writing that it seems a sin for it to actually be published. But then again, isn’t that the best kind of work? The kind you had a blast writing and then, just for the helluva it, you entered it in a contest because it was so blamed funny, and TRUE, which is the real kicker, and there you are, in a book edited by the “Godfather of creative nonfiction.” I thank Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly for including me in this collection of Southern women writing sinfully, deliciously true stories.
The book releases in October and there isn’t a single person who keeps up with my blog that should not be pre-ordering this book. In three different cities in North Carolina and Arkansas, I have hosted open mic readings celebrating women writers; many who, had they submitted their own work, would be included in this collection. I can tell you this from keeping up my subscription to Creative Nonfiction magazine–the stories will all be good. Here is the editor’s preview of what you can expect:
“These stories may be from the South, but there are no shy, retiring belles here!
Whether remembering the power of a cheerleading uniform or flirting with another woman’s husband, the women in this collection of true stories play with fire — sometimes literally. These stories range from the poetic and personal — dancing warm nights away with strangers and renting out rooms to adulterers with an exhibitionistic streak — to the journalistic, including a piece about Willie Carter Sharpe, the “queen of Roanoke rum runners,” and the story of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward, whose plan to run away and live as “man” and wife ended in scandal and murder in 1892.
This collection includes contributions by Southern women from a broad range of circumstances and stages of life–from teenage lifeguards-in-training to middle-aged lesbians struggling to find acceptance from their aging parents and Atlanta divorcees trying to get back into the dating game.”
I leave you to guess which one of these examples speaks of my situation. To be sure, you better get the book and read them all. Every one of them sounds fascinating. Really, I cannot wait. And for my nearest and dearest, know what you are getting for Christmas presents this year. I’m ordering at least ten of them myself. I’m sure I’ll spend most of my check on the book. You can pre-order if you want (and I would if I were you) by going to their website–https://www.creativenonfiction.org/books/southern-sin. My gut feeling is, get a bunch. You are going to want to give these babies away without lending out your copy.
I have always loved the South; am proud to be “from here” which I consider the home of true story-telling. I have heard tales similar to those published in Southern Sin whispered by God-fearing parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. They’d gather on front porches at night, the halo of nearby street lights limning their profiles as they rocked forward to keep their voices low. Grown-ups didn’t want the kids, who lay on the sofa just below the front windows eavesdropping for all they were worth, to hear the raunchier stories of neighbors and not-so-distant relations.
I know some folks say about the South, but those same people will dog out any state, no matter on which side of the Mason-Dixon it lies. As if the State were the people who lived there, the politics belonged to all people alike, and everyone did nothing but listen to country and bluegrass all the livelong day. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with country or bluegrass. Like opinions and prejudice, Southern music has changed over the years. And it has long included voices that were hard to hear outside of New Orleans or Memphis, Biloxi or Charleston.
So, listen my friends and you will hear, Southern stories by women that will burn your ears. And I’m not talking the hot, buttered variety. Not the way you usually think of it anyway.