Tennessee 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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I AM NOT BLESSED

Crossville. 2011 106It’s the time now when I have finished one book and about to get started on another. It’s time for resetting. A time where I prepare for book tour. This last book in the Appalachian series will include a talk/presentation for ancestry buffs, so I’m working on that.

But it also the time I set aside for reading, replenishing, thinking, filling myself up.

I get out of the house more. I’ll be meeting with Sarah TheBarge in Portland next week for a girlfriend get-together. I am very excited about her upcoming book WELL, about her work in Togo. I’ll let you know when it’s out.

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My Nomadic Mama

Me & Mama Hawaii

In Hawaii with Mama in her Jackie O days.

 

Her bible is sitting on my desk. One of many my mother studied. There’s a pair of black-handled scissors laying across it, and a postcard for one of my books. The one book I’ve written that Mama never read. She died before I wrote a single word of it.

One of my kin told me recently that she didn’t like the way we buried Mama. Said it bothered her that I had just poured Mama’s ashes into the hole instead of putting them into an urn and placing that in the ground.

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We hex our children

 

Read.

 

During a recent visit to my grandson’s home, Pistol Pete invited us upstairs to his bedroom. He refused to take one step until we were all lined up and following him – Pa, me and his momma.

It wasn’t his toys that Pistol Pete was eager to show us; it was his books. Everyone in the family started buying books for him as soon as we knew his momma was pregnant.  Whenever I travel, I pick up books for my grandson (and my grandchildren yet to come). He has an anniversary copy of Walter the Farting Dog that I bought at Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore in Tupelo, Mississippi, and his most recent acquisition was a book about Salamanders in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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The Holiness of Place

Can you see the holiness of a place

beyond

the “No Trespass” sign?

That moment

 when you knew the things

unknown

even to the “Video Surveillance”?

Bowed your heart

                        in silent gratitude

because words

                           nor song

were enough.

Only sucked back sobbing

                                                   would suffice

in such a sacred space.

Book Karen