Interview: Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Even As We Breathe

Please enjoy my interview with Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle about her new historical fiction set in Asheville and Cherokee in the North Carolina mountains of 1942.  Recently she spoke at the North Carolina Writer's Network's Writingest State Online Conference about socially engaged historical fiction.

Open for reading at the Southern Review of Books on December 2!


Abiding the Liminal

Fall Leaves

In so many ways I am obsessed by the concept of the liminal, the threshold of change. The dictionary definition – barely perceptible, or being in an intermediate state, these only begin to open the meanings of this word in so many worlds – color theory, psychology, anthropology, spirituality and myth. Betwixt and between - at the threshold, at the crossroads, neither one not the other. Neither an elder nor a child, not belonging nor alone, a shapeshifter…


High Desert Diva

Twenty people or more crowded the three tables in my granddaddy’s house in North Carolina in Thanksgiving 1964. For the first time I got to sit with the grownups at the table with the white tablecloth. I was “grown” enough not to have to sit with the babies and mommas at the card table. As I listened, I was waiting for something to add, to use my voice which I was just discovering.  I was fired up by the opinions that my father yelled at the television. We could argue in my home. About Vietnam, and…

Review: Kendra Atleework Miracle Country: A Memoir

Atleework Miracle Country

Miracle Country is my home - my twenty years home where I live no more. Kendra Atleework writes about the Eastern Sierra, the Long Valley of California, the desert land between the mountains east of Yosemite and the Nevada border. This is a land of surreal beauty, danger from fire, drought, and avalanche. This land has provided inspiration to Muir, Austin, and more recently, David Carle. Miracle Country proves that place can be the protagonist of the story.

Atlas and the American MonoMyth

Atlas Holds Up the Sky

Atlas fought with the Titans against the Olympians. Both sides were above humanity. The humans were toys and “collateral damage” to the battle of the Gods. When the Titans lost, Atlas was punished by Zeus and forced to hold up the Sky so it could never join again with the Earth and return to the primordial Chaos. Atlas was a hero to the Titans. He was punished and endured. He is a symbol for keeping the world from Chaos, for unending endurance. 
I’ve been thinking a lot about heroes lately and…

Body Count

Map of Deaths

Inspired by the article in the New Yorker (5/1/2020) by Kim Stanley Robinson below.

There are many things I agree with here! "To survive the next century, we need to start valuing the planet more, too, since it’s our only home."

The pressure to revert to the old values is immense. I live in the South which has been stuck for better or worse in the past for all of my lifetime. We memorized all the Civil War battles in 6th grade. This made those events seem like just yesterday to us as…

Alabama Noir - An Interview with Don Noble

Alabama Noir

See my interview with Don Noble at Southern Review of Books



The Shit


          For the past four years, I have spoken to college freshmen about resilience. I shared my experiences and spoken with them about their experiences, which often shocked me with their raw pain. They had stories of overcoming cancer, abuse, death of a parent, addiction, suicide attempts, and things that made me blink away tears as I read them or heard them tell their tale. I hope the things I said helped.

In other positions as an educator…

Self Isolation

Spring flower

All the news is about self-isolation and fear. We are living in a time of plague, the coronavirus, COVID-19. If I had to choose again, I would choose more times of deliberate isolation. Times that kept me sane and creative. Alone, I felt the world as it was in truth, not what everyone is telling me. The world is full of colors and small joys, like a bowl of oatmeal with butter and blueberries. Alone I never lack occupation. Even when I do sleep there are…

Purchasing Family

Gordon Rise and Fall

If a man in 1870 did a Rip Van Winkle, fell asleep for seventy years, and then woke up in 1940 he would be in an alien world. If the same man went to sleep in 1770 and woke up in 1840, most things would be recognizable. The man waking up in 1940 would see cars, washing machines and telephones. The man waking up in 1840 would see wood stoves, washing tubs, and postal service; all similar to 1770 culture.

I listened to a Planet Money podcast episode about Robert J. Gordon, an economist, and his…