Friday, April 23, 2010

A List and A Look at Setting

David Shield's List of Required Reading from this month's Creative Non-Fiction magazine.

"Everything happens somewhere"
-- Pieter Haag

Years ago I lived in Maryland in an area teeming with newcomers—some from Mississippi and Louisiana. My next door neighbor grew up in the Delta area of Mississippi — I'm not certain she ever crossed the Mason -Dixon line. She wrote, played a guitar and banjo, sang folk songs and hymns, and knew how to tell stories about the Delta.

I still remember her stories about the Cypress trees in the water and the cottonmouth snakes.

There's a line in the song"Black Water Hattie" —: “snakes hang thick from the cypress trees like sausage on a smokehouse wall.”
Black Water Hattie

Her stories of the south, and in particular of the Delta, painted a vivid, visceral picture of that area. I first began seriously reading Southern Literature because of those stories.

Your story takes place somewhere and the more you know or learn about the place the stronger the story.

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