Stories & Essays
When Nora had all she could take of life, she doused her hair in kerosene and ran down the road swaying and hollering like a branded calf before she finally crumpled to meet her Maker face down.
“The Chifforobe: An Overlooked Ingredient in Southern Writing”
Devotees know a good Southern story when they read it. Works by William Faulkner, Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor represent the best of Southern literature, as do stories by Harper Lee, Ernest J. Gaines, Dorothy Allison and many others.
All of these writers were born in the South, but what exactly makes their stories “Southern”?
I believe part of the answer lies in the presence of a once-proud piece of furniture: the chifforobe.
“A ‘Frank’ Story of Survival
Experts tell us that hot dogs are full of preservatives. I know this for a fact.
When I was ten years old, my mother had a portable dishwasher she seldom used. She preferred hand-washing to dragging the heavy machine across the linoleum and hooking the clumsy nozzle to the hot-water faucet. So the portable stayed next to the refrigerator – and this is where our saga begins.
One day Someone pulled a package of hot dogs from the refrigerator. Somehow, Someone didn’t notice that a hot dog escaped its package and rolled under the dishwasher. There it lay in wait without drawing attention to itself, even though we had a dog and two cats at the time.
Two Bridges and the Black Jesus
For sixty years, Aunt Lydia had saved everything that ever darkened the door or filled the mailbox, and in ten days, Bea had pried it all free, sorting everything from African violets to canning jars. Going through the old lady’s things was a heart-wrenching chore, especially since she’d left her niece the house and its contents.
“Discovering the World of the Noonatic”
My cousin has seen “Camelot” 38 times and Barry Manilow 27. I thought this was over the top until I discovered Noonatics.
OK, I’ll admit I was a Herman’s Hermits fan back in the day. No, it was more than that. Lead singer Peter Noone (“Herman”) was my teen idol, but I didn’t realize he still had a fan club until I saw that he was giving a concert in Lenoir, NC on Dec. 7. The ticket website noted “Noonefest at noon.”
When Aunt Shirley called to say that Steve had died and would I please help with the ashes, I had no idea what I was in for. I wasn’t surprised that Steve had passed. He’d lingered a good while with lung cancer.
“You will help lay him to rest?” she said.
If we could have chosen anyplace to live, it would’ve been Deanie Fripp’s side of Tampa Bay. The Fripps lived on Davis Islands, a swanky neighborhood connected to the rest of the city by a short concrete bridge. The bridge wasn’t but a few hundred feet long, but it might as well have been a hundred miles, compared to our place.
Carolyn had never met anyone in the middle of a bona fide midlife crisis until last Thursday, on the way to Greensboro. She and Jaki Stallets were sharing a ride to a teacher’s workshop, one of those Continuing Education classes aimed to keep their teaching certification up to date. “The Future of the Multinational Classroom,” “eBooks for easy readers.” “multi-tasking.”
Reviews and Interviews
Women’s Fiction Writers
“Author Tamra Wilson Says Short Stories are Big Things in Little Packages and Explains How 64 Rejections Can be Inspiring”
a book review in North Carolina Literary Review, East Carolina Universit
Charlotte Readers Podcast. Discussing teen idols with fellow writer Amy Rogers
Book Review : Dining with Robert Redford & Other Stories
Shenandoah Literary, Washington & Lee University