444 Chapters
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Medium 9781574412086

12. Gerald Thurmond, “Faith’s Place” from Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 12

Gerald Thurmond

Faith’s Place

Gerald Thurmond grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He attended Baylor

University and the University of Georgia and is a sociologist at Wofford

College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He has a fascination with all kinds of critters. He is an avid birder, he keeps snakes, and, as a sociologist, he is a professional people watcher. His essay “Midnight with Elvis” won the Hub

City Hardegree Creative Writing Contest for non-fiction and was published in Hub City Anthology II. He edited, with John Lane, The Woods Stretched for Miles: New Nature Writing from the South published by the University of Georgia Press. “Faith’s Place” was previously published in Crossroads: A

Southern Culture Annual from Mercer University Press.

The white-frame house seemed much the same, but the little town around it was slowly dying. Old Calvert Street was mostly empty of traffic, and several of the stores along it were boarded up or had that hopeless look that empty, dust streaked windows give. I had traveled over 1100 miles to be here. For twenty years I had come, but now it was different.

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Medium 9781771870849

Plastic Flower

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

]>

ONE NIGHT IN 1964 soon after getting my licence, I was taken to task by my minister for driving recklessly on Main Street. He blocked my way down a claustrophobic staircase between the balcony and main floor of the church one Wednesday night after prayer meeting. We teenagers had knelt on a bare floor that sloped down toward the sanctuary, facing the backs of the benches — they could hardly be called pews — and taken turns reciting our petitions: God bless so-and-so mission-arying in Peru, such-and-such a couple trying to save Indians around Montreal Lake, every acquaintance in “foreign lands and north lands,” as my father divided the world in his prayers at breakfast — bless every one of them. We had entreated God, too, for our wayward relatives in BC and Ontario: “Grant them neither peace nor rest until they return to Thee.” The minister had just heard me pray like this, yet he felt constrained to halt my descent to the parking lot, and admonish me.

“I’ve heard how you squirrelled your tires on Main Street,” he accused, nervously twisting a corner of his flappy leather Bible. And how did I think this was a good witness to the many lost souls around us, or consistent with what I’d just prayed up there? His tone was not angry; but if I was squirrelling tires now, who knew if I wouldn’t be rocking on city bandstands next, like they were doing in Pittsburgh PA?

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Medium 9781847772114

Aftertones

Blunden, Edmund Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

AFTERTONES

T

he summer of 1918 drifted past with its eddies of intrigue and dispute and rumour in the camp and the world beyond. It was a camp among ancestral trees, copses, meadows, cornfields bubbling with poppies, windmills on their little heights of goat-grazed turf; besides, the sky was blue and the air southern; yet I screen my eyes from that summer. The delight of being away from France after almost two years of ruins and ever-spreading terror was not itself wholly good; youth, now certain of a short time to live, through some magic dispensation of the War Office, did strange things in a world which it had never had the time to study. Moved by some instinct of spiritual pride, I no sooner arrived in the camp for my six months’ respite than I wrote – I ‘had the honour to submit’ – my application to be allowed to return to France, where such unpleasant German manœuvres were proceeding. The application received no answer, except amused comment from an old major before dinner. I waited a week, then repeated my appeal with more eloquence. This time the

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Medium 9781574416367

Then the Walls Closed In: The Virginian-Pilot / By Sarah Kleiner Varble

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press PDF

Then the Walls Closed In

The Virginian-Pilot

June 29, 2014

By Sarah Kleiner Varble

Part 1 of 4

Patrick Ryan arrived home from work one day to find his wife glaring at him over the second-floor banister.

Their month-old daughter was stripped to her diaper.

“Something's wrong with the air conditioner,” his wife yelled. “It's

85 degrees up here.”

It was August 2006, and Jennifer Ryan was on maternity leave with their firstborn. Patrick was puzzled. The unit in their new house in Isle of Wight County was only 3 months old.

A couple of years later in Virginia Beach, Liz and Steve Heischober were having a different kind of trouble.

Liz used to stay up until midnight, but she had begun drifting off to sleep after dinner. Her doctors couldn't explain her fatigue.

172

Best American Newspaper Narratives, Vol. 3

Night after night, as his wife slept in her chair, Steve gave her a nudge and said he was going up to bed. Sometimes, he'd come downstairs hours later and find that she hadn't budged.

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Medium 9781743603604

Horsing Around France

Berendt, John Lonely Planet Publications ePub

I am very fond of France – whenever I think of going anywhere, I have to say, ‘But maybe not France this time.’ In France, all Americans are guilty until proven innocent (or perhaps guilty of perennial innocence), but I don’t mind, the landscape makes up for it. So in 2007, I signed up for a horse riding perambulation of Aquitaine, a part of France I had never been to – but of course I used L’Occitane Citrus Verbena Shampoo and L’Occitane Shea Butter Verbena Soap and I had seen Katherine Hepburn play Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, so I considered myself fully prepared. It was the end of July. I took my own saddle. My husband, Jack, and I flew Virgin, passed out in Dublin, awoke in Biarritz. Already, the first day, we felt profoundly sophisticated as we strolled around the casino, thinking of Audrey Hepburn and Sean Connery (and it didn’t matter that they had made no movies in Biarritz – Monte Carlo was close enough). Jack took a dip in the ocean (colder than Atlantic City) and I took a dip in the language. We smiled.

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Medium 9781771870849

The Bush

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

]>

THERE WERE TWO WAYS INTO THE BUSH. One was through the ditch of the correction line, where weeds and reeds grew as tall as I was; and at their densest spot I had to jump over a mud bottom to the other side, where the brush began. But a barbwire fence stood in the way, and I had to pass through it like a woman through a magician’s knives, only I often had a rip in my pants to show for it later.

The other way led through the pasture, with its notorious bull that might charge at any time. Not that he ever did, but he could— and this was another deterrent. So sometimes I skulked along the carragana hedge at the north until the beast looked the other way, and beelined over to the dugout that lay between me and this side of the bush. My older cousins had built a raft from leftover boards and railway ties, and kept it tethered to a post at the water’s edge. They used it sometimes to dive from the middle of the dugout, when they weren’t off shooting gophers or working in the fields.

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Medium 9781771870849

Water Carrier

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

]>

OUR PORCH, which opened directly into the kitchen, contained only a washing machine driven by a Kohler gasoline engine. In the kitchen itself, there was a coat closet on one side of the door; and on the other, the party-line telephone that reminded me always of a face: its silver bells bulged like eyes at the top, a mouthpiece protruded like a long knobbly nose, the shelf below suggested a chin, and the receiver hung like a distended ear on the left. When someone phoned for us, the face rang longg-short-longg. A white cupboard stood against that wall with cooking pots on its lower shelves, and above them, our cups and bowls stacked beside a Nabisco shredded-wheat box. The table along the opposite wall was covered with leftover linoleum from the floor.

Two south windows let the sunshine into the room, and between them stood a low sink with a cold water tap. Hot water came from the reservoir of the Enterprise cookstove opposite. Outside, under the windows, some men once dug a hole and buried the skeleton of a Whippet car body, to prevent our sewer from caving in. At night I felt eerie looking out there, as if we had a grave beside our house, half-full of putrid black water.

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Medium 9781847772114

A Battalion History

Blunden, Edmund Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

A BATTALION HISTORY

(with apologies)

T

he Southdown Battalions’ Association dines annually at the Brighton Aquarium, doubtless startling the regular inhabitants with its boisterous cheerfulness. At the last dinner something occurred which also startled me. It was publicly proposed, and so far as I could observe it was generally demanded, that I should write the history of one at least of these Southdown Battalions. In a spirit of mingled cowardice and devotion to duty I found myself rising to accept this ‘onerous honour’ (the evening was far advanced); and I now present my old friends with something which nominally tallies with their request.

Unfortunately it is shorter than they expected, but the war was also shorter than they expected.

The 11th Royal Sussex Regiment, otherwise the First

Southdowns, otherwise Lowther’s Lambs (and of course the Iron Regiment), being composed principally of Sussex men, was formed at the outset of the war, but was not sent overseas until March, 1916. On March 5th the battalion landed at Havre. A week later, in the usual fashion of that period, it left billets in Morbecque for trenches at Fleurbaix, in which it received instruction from the Yorks and

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Medium 9780253356864

25. Opportunity

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Mem. There never is but one opportunity of a kind. (153)

Walden tells the story of a triumph: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment,” Thoreau declares in his “Conclusion,” “that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” (217). For Thoreau, this success was the discovery that he would henceforth be able to avoid regular work; even more important, he had fashioned a way of living and writing that, by tuning his disposition to the natural world, would provide him with satisfaction and even joy. He had reason to brag like chanticleer about what he had found in the woods.

And yet there had always been other possible versions of this story. The deaths of his brother and sister, the Week’s absolute commercial failure, the seven-year struggle to complete Walden, his neighbors’ persistent doubts, his own intermittent melancholy—all these things Thoreau suppressed. “If the reader think that I am vainglorious, and set myself above others,” he confided in a passage cut from Walden, “I assure him that I could tell a pitiful story respecting myself, … could encourage him with a sufficient list of failures.… Finally, I will tell him this secret, if he will not abuse my confidence—I put the best face on the matter.” This passage, one of the most revealing Thoreau ever wrote, confirms that despite its opening warranty of truthfulness, Walden was constructed like a fiction.

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Medium 9780253356864

6. Colors

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

“Colours spur us to philosophize,” Wittgenstein once observed, but what are to make of Thoreau’s prodigality with them? In “The Ponds,” he begins a description of Walden by casually remarking that “All our Concord waters have two colors at least, one when viewed at a distance, and another, more proper, close at hand” (121). He doesn’t leave the matter there. The ensuing paragraph assembles twenty-nine separate mentions of color to suggest how the neighboring ponds and rivers appear under different conditions and from different perspectives: blue, dark slate-color, green, as green as grass, the color of the sky, a yellowish tint, light green, uniform dark green, vivid green, verdure, blue mixed with yellow, the color of its iris, a darker blue than the sky itself, a matchless and indescribable blue, more cerulean than the sky itself, original dark green, muddy, vitreous greenish blue, colorless … as … air, green tint, black or very dark brown, a yellowish tinge, alabaster whiteness.

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Medium 9780253000958

Wildness

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Hope caught me by surprise a couple of weeks ago, when the last snow of winter hit town on the first day of spring. It was a heavy, slashing snow, stinging the skin, driven by a north wind. Because the temperature was near freezing, the flakes clung to everything. A white streak balanced on telephone wires, on clotheslines, on every branch and twig and bud. Many buds had already cracked open after a spell of warm days, so we fretted over the reckless early flowers and eager trees. By noon, snow piled a foot deep, and more kept falling. The few drivers who ventured out usually wound up spinning their wheels in drifts. Soon even the four-wheelers gave up and the city trucks quit plowing and the streets were abandoned to the storm.

I made the first blemish on our street by going out at dusk for a walk. The light was the color of peaches, as if the sky were saturated with juice. The clinging snow draped every bush with a lacy cloak. Even fire hydrants and cars looked rakish in their gleaming mantles. I peeled back my parka hood to uncover my ears, and heard only the muffled crunching of my boots. Now and again a siren wailed, a limb creaked, or wind sizzled through the needles of a pine, but otherwise the city was eerily silent, as though following an evacuation. In an hour I met only three other walkers, each one huddled and aloof. The weight of snow snapped branches and toppled trees onto power lines, leaving our neighborhood without electricity. As I shuffled past the dark houses, beneath unlit street lamps, through blocks where nothing moved except the wind, my mood swung from elation toward dismay. The snow began to seem a frozen burden, like a premonition of glaciers, bearing down from the heedless, peach-colored sky. The world had been radiantly simplified, but at the price of smothering our handiwork and maiming trees and driving warm-blooded creatures into hiding.

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Medium 9780892727605

Autumn

Down East Books ePub

Richard Russo

T hough he never set foot in the state, my grandfather would have been a natural Mainer. When I was a boy, he was already in the autumn of his life, having survived two world wars, the Depression, and a daily existence too full of Duty (both secular and religious). Prematurely bald and rail thin from the malaria he

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Medium 9780253018571

LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka and Me

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

THE TENSIONS BETWEEN Amiri Baraka and me began when the late Calvin Hernton, Amiri (then LeRoi Jones), and I were standing at the bar at The Five Spot in 1964 and I told him that his poetry was weak. I had a hard time getting through a poem called “The New Sheriff,” which had been published in The Evergreen Review. Obviously angry, he left the bar in a huff. It was then that I understood the power that Amiri had in downtown Bohemia. Having overheard my remark, the owner of The Five Spot barred me from the club. Amiri was good for their business. His jazz columns brought customers to the club. Later, Baraka dismissed these early poems himself. Blamed them on his being under the sway of “a white aesthetic.”

Amiri (then LeRoi Jones), and I were standing at the bar at The Five Spot in 1964 and I told him that his poetry was weak.

In 1964, some members of the Umbra Poetry Workshop read at Columbia University with Amiri and Allen Ginsberg. After the reading, Amiri approached me and brought up The Five Spot encounter. I still have a newspaper photo of Amiri bawling me out. At that time, he was still LeRoi Jones. He could have remained LeRoi Jones and continued to be “The Emperor of the Lower East Side,” the title given to him by The Herald Tribune as a result of his connections to the Beat publicity machine. These were poets who were featured in mass magazines like Life and Time.

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Medium 9780253356864

23. Numbers

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

• 2,000: population of Concord during Thoreau’s stay at the pond

• 2 years, 2 months, 2 days: length of Thoreau’s stay at Walden (before deducting a month spent at home while his cabin was being winterproofed and his two-week Maine trip)

• 1.3 miles: distance from Thoreau’s cabin to Emerson’s house

• 28–36: Thoreau’s age during Walden’s composition

• 550 yards: distance from Thoreau’s cabin to the Fitchburg railroad line

• 204 feet: distance from Thoreau’s cabin to Walden Pond

• 612 acres: size of Walden Pond

• 31: tools Thoreau used at Walden

• over 3,000: uses of first-person pronoun in Walden

• less than half a mile: distance from Thoreau’s cabin to Irish railroad laborers’ huts

• 10' x 15': size of Thoreau’s cabin

• 30: people that could fit in the cabin without removing the furniture

• almost 7 miles: total length of Thoreau’s bean rows

• over 700: references to animals in Walden

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Medium 9780253018595

Happiness · Fiction

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

SHYLOCK WAS A man of few words, and then only when a nod or a shaking of the head would not suffice. Prosperous did not know anyone else less inclined to use their tongue. She told Agu this the first time Shylock came to their house, the friend of a friend, and so recently arrived from Nigeria that Prosperous swore that as soon as he walked in, her homesickness lifted because he smelt of home. She did not tell Agu that she thought Shylock looked like him: same high forehead, same roast coffee complexion, they could have been brothers.

“He has a lazy tongue,” Agu said. Prosperous said she did not trust a man who would not talk in the company of other men.

“Maybe he’s shy.”

She said she had thought that too at first when he answered her “would you like a beer?” with a nod. But the longer he sat there, in their sitting room, nodding and shaking his head to questions, listening to the other men argue and talk but contributing nothing, as if he were a sponge absorbing their voices, she began to feel that her initial assessment of him was wrong.

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