Creative Nonfiction

The Tennessee Kid

From the book Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers: A Gallery of Memorable Southerners by Hal Crowther. Copyright © 2018 by Hal Crowther. Reprinted by permission of Blair. Photographs can mislead, and sometimes conceal more than they reveal. But on occasion, usually in hindsight, a photograph radiates so much insight you need…

Barely Runnable

One week after record rainfall burst the riverbanks of Southern West Virginia, destroying homes and roads and ending twenty-six lives, I gawked at the destruction I passed on the two-lane highway. Downed trees, culverts washed away, sheds knocked cockeyed. Hundreds were still displaced, many more still without electricity. It was…

Keystone

My teeth are asleep and kind. They bleach like limestone, crumble like slate. The old plates are merely lungs, long dormant, having breathed once, twice, long ago. My chest had lifted, my shoulder blades cracking together, pulled up and back. Volcanoes fell down my throat, swallowed into peace, their rumblings…

Dark Spirits

A Tennessean would tell you this: the state’s Whiskey Trail is a big reason why the South is home to more craft whiskey distilleries than any other region. Volunteer State sippers savor Corsair, George Dickel, Pritchard’s, Nashville Craft, Nelson’s Green Brier, Short Mountain, Sugarlands, Tennessee Hills. I learned this lore from…

Attics

Tuesday’s midmorning creative writing class, and the fifteen students are clock-watching or note-taking or simply staring out the windows at the bright spring day. We’re talking about writing personal narratives and I am looking for words to describe a place inside from which such stories come. Heart. Belly. I can’t seem to think of a corporeal description that doesn’t make…

Yoke

“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment…And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was…