The art of southern story telling

For as long as the south has existed, the art – or gift – of storytelling has been passed from generation to generation, and seems to be a part of the cultural DNA. From the Tidewater region along the Chesapeake Bay to the Mississippi delta of the mid south, great stories and great story tellers are part of that long and varied lineage.

Given birth as folk lore, and nurtured by every man, woman and child who greets the whole world as “ya’ll”, these stories were passed along over the centuries.  They became the engaging plots of great novels, because of their character building morals many were shared with children all over the world  (ain’t it so, Brer Rabbit), they became the screenplays for great movies, and they become the inspiration behind soulful music that can be heard in every blues bar and juke joint in the south.

I am honored to be a part of that tradition  

    About this site

    This is where I post samples of the stories I ‘ve written.  I rely heavily on the memories I have of growing up in the Mississippi delta in the 1950s and 1960s.  While the stories I write are fiction, they reflect the hardened lives of the folks who lived in the low lands of Arkansas, in an area identified centuries ago as The Great Swamp.

    Extreme poverty among whites and blacks – alike – and the brutal racism that is part of our history hindered the economic and social development of that area.  When the rest of America was engaged in a race with the Soviet Union to conquer space, when technology was driving the economy of much of America, the people in this part of America were still living in dilapidated three- and four-room shacks that had no running water and no indoor plumbing.  These folks were still chopping and picking cotton by hand, and were still trying to pull survival out of the mud of desperation.

    I hope you enjoy these samples of my work.  Your opinion matters to me so either way, I look forward to hearing from you.

    About Me

    I write southern fiction inspired by the people and places that shaped me. My stories are 50% true (the settings) and 50% fictional (the people, the events, the conflicts and the resolutions). I write about this part of the world, as it was in the mid Twentieth Century, because I believe it’s important that the lives and culture of the mid-south’s delta be remembered and valued.

    I was born in rural northeastern Arkansas in 1947.  I am the youngest of five brothers in a family that sharecropped 16 acres of cotton for survival. Like my brothers, I spent the hours, days, weeks, months and years of my youth working in the cotton fields that lay, like a patch quilt, over that area. I left those cotton fields in 1965 after graduating from high school, and a year later I left Arkansas in search of a broader horizon.

    Having traveled much of the world and having lived in Europe for four years, I began to see the mid-south delta region with a whole new perspective – one from the outside – one from an occasional glimpse where changes were marked and visible .  Upon realizing the culture I had remembered from my youth was either evolving into a different culture with a different landscape and different lives or was, in many ways, completely disappearing , I knew I had to write about those lives, about the world of poverty and hopelessness, about cotton fields and sharecropping, and the hope promised by our religion and impassioned preachers, and about the layer of violence that seemed to be beneath the surface of everything.