It’s true, Writer’s Digest went and asked me to write a little something. And here it is. Enjoy.
Setting the Tangible and the Enduring: Writing Southern Fiction
It encompasses the lyrical and beautiful, as well as the vulgar and grotesque. It is both comic and tragic in the same breath. Seeding the South’s traditions into each new generation, the canon of Southern literature continues to grow: brambled and wild, like some ever-abundant garden.
This garden should have died out long ago with the remnants of the Old South: Faulkner and Hurston, Welty and Warren, and all the rest. Our world of strip malls and fast food joints has no need of mule-plowed fields or jumping jook joints. Today, it is all about information: the Internet and YouTube and Wi-Fi access. This digital world is as vast and as wide as the imagination, and just as intangible.
As our homogenized world becomes more virtual, our sense of place becomes more uncertain, and our sense of self becomes less secure. Now more than ever is the need for a firm anchoring of setting in our lives and our fictions.