Saturday, October 10, 2009
Rusty Barnes' Fried Chicken and Coffee has one of my Appalachian stories up right now you may want to check out.
"Errid* and Delilah" came out of the history of a building over on the Old Asheville Highway. The stretch of highway outside of Newport has a history of truckstop prostitution. It's close enough to the NC/TN state line to have attracted the attention of the Feds. This is the old style truckstop prostitution--not the current "lot lizard" type. They shut down two houses of ill-repute in 2005 as part of Operation Rose Thorn. I'd driven by both of the buildings many times and had just thought them to be bars--the sort of bar I grew up calling a "juke joint."
A bit of time passed and one of the cathouses got a new coat of paint and reopened as a church. If I'm not mistaken, Pastor Jimmy's brother serves as preacher.
"Errid and Delilah" is a "what if" scenario prompted by this history. I owe a great debt to the culture of my adopted home for much of my writing. It's part of what I love about it--this long tradition of lawlessness. Quite often there is a letter to the editor in the Newport "Pie Hole" decrying news about the corruption and crime here. But it's part of the culture--it's what makes us different and special. It's what attracted the attention of The L.A. Times and Esquire Magazine. Surely there is a way to celebrate this history while continuing to move forward?
*Errid is most commonly a woman's name of Australian origin. When I first heard it, it struck me very much as some of the old variations of Appalachian names of Scots/Irish origin. When I found it meant "chariot warrior"--it seemed a natural choice for my lovelorn truck driver, regardless of gender.
Charles-Edwards, T. M.(2000). Early Christian Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 70