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Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Contest & Reading for 2012

The March MAC contest is posted to the left. Note the number of words is up to 120. Your two words for March are wind and shamrock in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on the 17th. Have fun! The February winners will be posted this week.

Last year my focus was on reading debut novels, and as you know I found a lot of disappointment in my selections, but I also found a great deal of encouragement in the future of writing.

This year I'm focusing on Southern writers - some of my absolute favorites - and will keep you posted as I read my way through the new year.

To kick things off, I suggest you check out Flannery O'Connor, but a word of warning, her work is not for the faint of heart. Her work is despotic and troubling, but within the confines of her complex work is some of the most succinct writing to be found. She makes her points without wandering about like Faulkner (another of my all time favorite Southern writers.) It is impossible to read her work and not wonder how the Lupus that afflicted her from young adulthood or how her domineering mother or strong Catholic faith impacted her work.

Speaking of Faulkner, if you want to see the essence of a one-sentence paragraph that doesn't weigh the prose down, look at any of his books and you are bound to find one. The authenticity of his characterizations leaves no doubt who they are, what they think, or how they look.

We Southern writers revel in our characters and their idiosyncrasies. We adore our crazy relatives and never shun them; rather we bring them to the front room (living room or parlor for the rest of you) and introduce them with pride. They add the charm and humor to our folklore and front porch stories. Don't believe me? Then go to other well-known favorites of mine - Eudora Welty and Fannie Flagg and laugh yourself silly. Janet Evanovich may be from New Jersey but I think she must have read some of Welty or Flagg or Rick Bragg to see the humor in our relatives and friends: the humor that enriches our lives.

My goal in continuing to write is to see my name appear in someone else's blog one day, a blog that touts my excellent, Southern storytelling.


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