Monday, November 26, 2007

Rainy Research Monday

I spent all of today in Newport doing research. Very productive day.

I met for about three hours at the feed and seed with the gamefowl enthusiasts and learned more about cockfighting and raising gamefowl than I ever imagined. I knew I was pretty ignorant about it, but there is just so much to know. And, not surprisingly, so much is misunderstood about what they do and why they do it. Most of this was research for the “Jo-Jo and the Chicken Boy” short story, but I picked up a bunch of stuff for the article I’m doing on the History of Cockfighting in the Appalachians that I’ve promised Dave Tabler for his Appalachian History site. My sources have been really helpful and very charming and are going to get more material for me.

I’d, of course, love to attend a match, but given the current crackdowns nationwide on the cockers, that’s not likely to be possible. But, I did get a bit of the feeling from their passion for it what it must be like. They like the story so far and I think they are going to be my best readers and editors to keep the story in the realm of reality.

I went to the library afterwards to see if I could find anything from the post-WWII period, particularly about a legendary pit match that occurred during that time…the first 1000 dollar derby. Nothing from 1946 to 1947, but I did learn that foxhunting, which is practically non-existent in this area now, was hugely popular. I took notes on some fairly gruesome local murders and events from that time period. And learned of a cave just outside of town that is like 200 feet deep. There are also caves along the river that some of the local homeless folks live in. I really want to check those out. The library director suggested I contact someone from the sheriff’s department about those.

So, I have lots of good material to start my cozy mystery series I’ve been planning to write. I’ve been bouncing it around for about a year now so it’s probably matured enough in my brain to actually start writing it. The great thing about setting one of those in Cocke county is that there actually is a history of odd and violent murders here. Most of the cozy series' that I love…you know I have really low taste in my personal reading habits…is that they are set in these sweet little towns where it’s hard to imagine awful things happening. Awful things do happen here, but it’s still a very charming place with many charming people.


  1. Nancy said...
    I think sometimes, that small town murders are always awful. They're always (almost always) personal. When everyone knows everything about everyone there are no stranger or unknown intruder murders. It happens "in the family"... and that's always terrible for the whole town.

    You tend to feel safe in a small town.

    Murder betrays that feeling of safety, betrays the trust you've built up between yourself and your neighbors.
    GUYK said...
    I never went to a cock fight in the USA but I did see several when I was in the Philippine Islands back in 1961/62. The Filipino people take their cockfighting pretty seriously and every Bario has a cockpit where the fights are held usually on Saturdays..

    I didn't care much for it..don't care for yard birds and have been known to wring a roosters neck..but I went to the fights in hopes that one of those birds with the razon sharp artificial spurs would cut a see, I root for El Toro at the bull fights
    Dave Tabler said...
    This sounds very promising! Can't wait to see how it all gells. said...
    well, you're smokin', mountain girl.. this is another classic in the birth canal, can't wait till you push.
    the sense of place and time is evident in your words. my fond wishes, nadine
    bonnie said...
    I was a little surprised to find out last time I went to visit my folks on O'ahu that all the "chicken farms" I'd driven past out in the more rural areas aren't raising free-range Ewa chickens. Can't remember how the topic came up, I'd seen 'em before but I guess it just never hit me that people could have that many fighting cocks that openly.

    I was reminded of this by this post & went googling for "oahu cockfights" - stumbled across a series of DVD's featuring interviews with cockfighters while searching for more info.

    It's a little on the expensive side - actually it's a lot on the expensive side - but there are at least some interview snippets on the site.
    bonnie said...
    shoot, forgot to say "Glad to see some rain there!"

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