Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I got three rejections today and spent the better part of the day swimming in the frosty pool of my own shortcomings. I don't find this to be a particularly bad thing to do. In my twenties, it ranked right up there as a suicidal tendency, but I need to look at myself that way now and again. Take the cover off the mirror. Pull out the windex. Embrace my freakishness. My monsterhood.

It's easy in my isolation to see myself as normal. To think there is even such a thing. I go about my day. I function just fine. No one stares at me except the dogs and what they are saying is clearly transparent. So I give them each a biscuit. Good dog.

But I am different. I am apart. Up here on my mountain, I look out into the mist. Look out into the rain that drizzles like it did on Glastonbury Tor that day long ago. I'd climbed to the top of the Tor and stood on the remnants of the thirteenth century belltower--the only remaining structure from an earthquake in 1275 that shuddered beneath that limestone dragon's back. Curious thing--in that belltower, the wind cut through the center at 45 mph, trying to rip it from the nipple of that hill. I was sick then. Sick as I am now. Different as I am now.

I didn't let the wind knock me down.

It's hard to look at my shortcomings. But I sort of need to now and then. So the wind doesn't knock me down.

Monday, January 26, 2009

LinkMy friend Lee's drawing of Popcorn

Well, the sentence came down today for Popcorn Sutton's trial in the Federal Court. The news said everyone gasped in the courtroom. They are sending him for 18 months in federal prison for the weapons moonshine charge with 2 years supervised probation after that. I'm sure the Newport Pie Hole Plain Talk, will have some of the details in tomorrow's paper. I'm not actually too worried about him. I think he'll be a rock star in jail. Still, I understand he's taken this all pretty hard. Bottom line though--he's not going to stop doing what he does and the courts know that now.

If you want to know more about what Popcorn Sutton does, there's a documentary running of the Documentary Channel called The Last One. The director, Neal Hutchinson, sent me a copy and it's a really wonderful documentary on the traditional way moonshine used to be made up here in the hills.

Filmed in the mountains of North Carolina, The Last One is a journey deep into Southern Appalachia, and Appalachian culture, as seen through the lens of a mason jar. Lifelong moonshiner Popcorn Sutton returns to the southern highlands in his treasured A-Model Ford to seek a suitable location to run one final batch of traditional bootleg whiskey. Through the laborious process of clearing a site, building a furnace, brewing corn mash and distilling high proof moonshine, Sutton reveals the craft of traditional distillation as practiced by his forbears and reveals a lifetime of memories in the trade.

Now, I've seen photos of Popcorn's more current installations and know they don't resemble anything like this...The Last One is more about the way 'shine was made back in the day. And Popcorn has a dying swan tendency to proclaim he's making a "last" run, but as his court sentence proves, it's his inability to stop making illegal liquor that's the problem.

You can pick up a copy of The Last One at Neal Hutchinson's Sucker Punch Pictures. It's a good historical A to Zed of setting a still up and the music is really good too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Am I ready for a handsome, articulate man who oozes intelligence to take office?

Hell, yeah, beeotches! Let's make some history!


The snow has been falling for two days now and we've got a nice blanket of white all over everything. The frogs woke up on January 8th this year, so I'm guessing they had to go back down in the mud.

I've not been a-blogging in a while. Basically I've got a bunch of stories coming out in print and the web this month and the next so I've been story wrangling.

The biggest thing of mine out now is the Mslexia story, "48 Years". This was an important story for me personally. It meant much when I wrote it and I'm really happy such an important publication as Mslexia recognized it as being of worth. I'm not sure there is a more important literary journal specializing in women writers and their craft. I'm really proud to be included.

I've already been getting congratulatory emails from my friends in the UK who have seen the issue and loved the story.

My issue has yet to arrive since it has to travel from the UK, and I'm jumping out of my skin waiting for it. Perhaps it will be here today! You really should subscribe to Mslexia. Or at least buy the issue I'm in so you can read "48 Years". Do it now. Or I'll send goats to your house.

Lavinia Greenlaw chose the selections for The Four Elements theme of the New Writing in this issue, of which I am part. She wrote a really smart introduction and had this to say about my story:

Other forms of disturbance include those of memory and recognition, finely illustrated in Rosanne Griffeth’s story ‘48 Years’ in which the global effects of agricultural policies are played out in parallel to a more local and intimate series of consequences.
So, yeah. I'm a happy camper. Snow falling. Story in Mslexia. Barack Obama in office. Life is good.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thunder fog! We have thunder fog! Wonder what that means?

Happy New Year, peeps. I've been battling the mother of all insomnia flares. I haven't been to bed since day before yesterday. I'm getting into that sleep deprived zone where inanimate objects discuss politics with you in a purely rational way. And there's very little that is rational about that, now is there. I start feeling the confines of my filters slipping away.

Have you ever not said anything stupid or confrontational, but knew you were pretty much doomed to do so? It's a foreshadowing of shame that shows up in the gut, twisting and recoiling. Begging you to stay off the computer, not speak to anyone or write anything, because you are bound to put your foot in your mouth and offend. I've been feeling like that. My filters are wafer thin. I might say or do anything, beeeotch!

I've been having a really uncontrollable urge to mock the local paper. Though Caleb Abramson is still makes my heart go pitter-pat with his punsterliciousness. Those other dudes, though--they're fair game.

I have a new Appalachian word, I'd not heard before. As I may have mentioned, when women get together here the conversation invariably turns to women's health issues and the graphic details thereof--the more graphiccy the better. And this is definitely a women's word.

The Weed. The Weed is what the old folks called mastitis--or probably any ailment of the breast associated with lactating. I don't have much experience with this so I'm not sure what other ailments that might be. A story was related to me concerning a patent medicine everyone took--I'm guessing back in the 50's. I can't remember the name but I'd be dimes to billy goats it was chock full of alcohol, paragoric and other things of tonicy goodness. Medicinal. Anyway, there was this old guy who used to go on and on about how it sure helped his "weed" out--which all the women thought was hilarious.

I'll stop now before I say something dangerous.