Appalachian Posts

About Hillbilly Elegy & Those Who Champion Us


Photo by Sue Counts

Photo by Sue Counts

I’ve been reading the book that everyone was talking about six months ago – Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It has been touted as an insightful book about Appalachia and more specifically about the people who voted Donald Trump into office.

It’s not really either of those things. When Vance says he’s from Appalachia what he means is that his people are from Kentucky, which is unquestionably Appalachia. But he grew up in Ohio, which to people who are Appalachian, not Appalachia.

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Fiddleheads: Giveaway



You may or may not have heard that I have a new book coming out later this year from Mercer University Press: BURDY.

It is the sequel to MOTHER OF RAIN.

You definitely will want to read MOTHER OF RAIN before reading BURDY.

There will be more news about all this later.

You may also have heard that a new store has opened up in my hometown of Columbus, Georgia.


You can like them on Facebook by clicking this link. 

I know the folks who own and run Fiddleheads and you might know at least one of them if you followed along on my last book tour. Michael Ross Harper, or Ross to those of us charmed by him, hosted a book event at his sweet store in Pine Mountain.

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Who My People Are



My people are a superstitious bunch.

We don’t walk behind rocking chairs.

We don’t iron on Sundays.

Lord, God forgive us quick if we break a mirror.

Who can afford seven years of bad luck?


My people know that if your nose is itching, company’s a’coming.

They know if there’s a ring around the full moon, somebody you love is going to die.

They know if your ears are burning, somebody’s talking about you.

They know there will be a winter snow for every fog in August.

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Mothers & Mental Illness


My childhood girlfriend was institutionalized following the birth of her first-born. Here she was, ten years later, in the third-trimester of her second pregnancy, talking out of her head again. We were having one of our catch-up phone calls. She from her home in Georgia. Me from my home in Oregon.

“I know what the problem is,” she whispered.

“Problem?” I asked, holding the phone closer so I could hear better.

“Yes,” she replied. “I know why I can’t get anything to eat. I can’t get into the kitchen.”

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This was posted first at the Vietnam Memorial Wall Foundation blog. 

By Karen Spears Zacharias

Some people know them as the “Yellow Hatters”, the familiar park service volunteers dressed in bright yellow shirts and matching hats who stand ready at The Wall. Ready to help with a pencil tracing of a name. Ready with a ladder. Ready with a bottle of water. Ready with pack of Kleenexes. Ready to tell people to turn off their cell phones. Oftentimes, they are ready just to listen, and to offer a welcome hug.

Around our house, we know them simply as “The Uncles.” They are the men who served in Vietnam and then came home to do just as they promised to do – Never Forget. They pay their deepest respects by volunteering at The Wall. Digging deep into their own pockets, they travel in from across the nation and spend days standing guard at The Wall, in wicked heat and blustery wind, handing out pencils and sheets of white paper, guiding people to names they cannot find.

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