Essays: a trove

photo: Stewart Cemetery, 2000
    These mini-essays, or musings, or uh,  "notes"  began as postings to the Internet newsgroup alt.appalachian  (where I'm  "Ejucaided Redneck").  The positive response from the group encouraged me to find another life for some of them as commentaries on my local radio station.  Reaction to them, both in the on-line venue and from the radio, has surprised me, to say the least.

Other pieces on this site, the short stories and poems, involve lots of time, often spread over several weeks.  "The Notes,"  on the other hand are quite spontaneous, hardly more than off the top of my head musings.  Yet they've made me feel more like a writer than anything else I've done.

Once they were launched, replies started coming back that amazed me:

some USENET groups worth visiting:
misc.rural   |   alt.appalachian   |   alt.fiction.original
    A woman said she and her husband were seriously feuding, but after reading one of the Notes together, right then and there they talked out the rift between them...

Another lady told me that as a result of something I said about family traditions, she commenced visiting nieces and nephews apart from holidays and special occasions, to see that they heard from her lips the stories only she could tell...


A man told me some of these words gave him a new appreciation of what it means to be the first born son of an Appalachian woman...


Then a reader of alt.appalachian wrote:      "...I would just like to declare Ejucaided Redneck to be the Bard, or Seanachie, of the newsgroup.  You have to have more than a drop or two of Celtic blood, ER.  In Scotland and Ireland, the bards  (or seanachies)  were the keepers of history and genealogy for the clans..."

There  is  more than a drop or two of Celtic in me, but I had to write the woman to learn  "seanachie"  is pronounced  (SHAWN-a-kee),  and to tell her such a declaration pleased me no end.  How the Notes made a real difference to some folks, engendered a genuine emotional response, means more than any publication credit.  It means I can hope I'll grow into a worthy heir to the far greater story telling gifts of Baldwin Sloan  (the grandfather who once lived in the house that belongs to my wife and me now),  of John I  (a second cousin who gets considerable mention here),  of Aunt Ethel  (whom I better go see soon)  and my parents  (who first taught me to talk, then told me stories, then encouraged me to tell my own). So...  Here are some  "Notes From the Top of the Hill."
"a treasure trove of essays"
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This page was tweaked Tuesday, 2 August, 2005