When Nelly Kate designed this website for me, I made her a promise that I would maintain my blog. I guess I haven't been that successful yet.
The good news is that I have been doing other things. This isn't just a blatant disregard for my creative career. I've spent the summer pushing forward. I really have.
I released the last Race to the Middle in August- after a lot of starting and stopping. I put the whole thing together myself. It was a great learning experience for me (the actual design of a book... which entails fonts, font sizes, margins, the ditch, etc. was way more complicated than I thought). We featured Michael Trocchia's short stories and art from (the Dwell Collective's) Leo Charre. I'd say it was successful in experience- if not monetarily. I wonder if the larger community in Staunton (a place that really prides itself on the so-called "art scene" will ever catch on to our little project).
A friend of mine and I went to visit The University of the South at Sewanee in July. Ash is a teacher and is considering a Master's degree in English. Sewanee offers a summer program that was developed just for educators of her ilk. I followed along out of some morbid and tortuous curiosity concerning furthering my own education. I mean- Sewanee. THE UNIVERSITY of the SOUTH. Allen Tate, Wyatt Prunty, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and H.T. Kirby-Smith. The Sewanee Review. The Sewanee Writers' Conference. Seems like a nice place to go for somebody like me.
The Director of the Graduate Program, Dr. Grammer, met Ash and I on his way back from his Southern Literature class. He was wearing tattered academic robes, which, of course, made us feel very under dressed. We were wined and dined by some students and even got some "swag" out of the deal. Ash and I stayed with our friends in Nashville, which involved an embarrassingly and unforgivingly long trip to Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (totally worth it).
I am still considering going to school again and have it somewhat narrowed down to Sewanee and Ole Miss. I am trying to be very specific about this probability. I want to go to a good university in the South. I want to focus on Southern Culture and Literature. I want my degree to mean something and to further my professional life. No more higher education for the sake of higher education. Fool me once...
I've also been reading pretty veraciously. I admit I had been a little slow to read things. But May-August were big months for my reading list. I read a fantastic collection of Appalachian contemporary literature called Red Holler. It came out in the fall of last year. I think it endeavored (and succeeded) to convey the diversity and isolation of Appalachia (yes- you may not think so- but African Americans and homosexuals do live here! Quelle diversité!). I also read collections of short stories by Ron Rash, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Kevin M. Wilson. The Ron Rash collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay*, was pretty incredible. "The Trusty" and "A Servant of History" particularly stuck with me.
I took a little field trip into the world of non-fiction with books like Charlie LeDuff's Detroit: An American Autopsy and (finally getting around to) Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I re-read Cornel West's Prophesy Deliverance! and Kierkegaard's Gospel of Suffering. Working at the library has really opened up a lot of channels for me. Now I really have no excuse not to keep reading and keep studying.
That brings us up to date so far. The Indian Summer of 2014 is raging on. If you need me- I'll be making pies on Sunday and held up in my office during the few empty pockets of my 50 hour work week.
*On a side note, I was worried that these stories would be terrible given the somewhat of a cliche title. Having never read him before- I didn't know if these short stories were going to involve finding out if Ponyboy stayed gold or not.