Affiliated Networks


Events

Forum

Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

Badge

Loading…

Latest Activity

Nancy Werking Poling posted an event

Nancy Werking Poling at Black Mountain Library

June 15, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm
Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?Nancy Werking Poling will launch her new novel, WHILE EARTH STILL SPEAKS, set in WNC. She'll tell the stories behind the story: How did Mary (more crone than virgin) get into the narrative? And Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth?See More
Jun 10
Caroline McIntyre posted events
Apr 29
Rob Neufeld updated their profile
Apr 13
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8
George Ellison left a comment for Renea Winchester
"luv ya Renea ... Kephart bio finally done after 40 years ... free at last ... free at last... great god almighty ... free a last!"
Apr 5
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
Thumbnail

Connie Regan-Blake Storytelling at Hendersonville Public Library at Henderson County Public Library - Main Branch

June 13, 2019 from 6pm to 7pm
Join Connie Regan-Blake for a family oriented evening of stories at the Hendersonville Library.See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
Thumbnail

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
Thumbnail

Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Please join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” Here are the tellers for our April 6th “Slice of Life” performance.  Christine Phillips Westfeldt, Kyra Freeman, Steve Tate, Alberta Hipps and more! The event is hosted by the …See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
Thumbnail

Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive,…See More
Apr 1
Rap Monster posted a blog post

Stealth Hazy - 'Gun Clap'

Stealth Hazy - Gun ClapI got 80 rounds with a beam on it riding dirty I'm smoking chronic top off hear that system pound 808 thats subsonicI double down quadruple upstraight droppin with no cutwilt chamberlain on the reboundand you a fan just starstruckI…See More
Mar 26
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
Sue Diehl shared their event on Facebook
Feb 8
Sue Diehl posted an event
Thumbnail

Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis.  The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)See video of Act 1, Scene 1: The SettingPrologue Narrator:   Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a flower,A disaster streaming off extremes it breedsEverywhere and in our…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood.    Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood.   In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview.  But....was this really…See More
Jan 23

Why are they mute?  A look at Appalachian characters

by Rob Neufeld

 

We need to heed unheard people.  But does that include characters without speaking parts in works of fiction?

Vicki Sigmon Collins, an Appalachian Culture Studies teacher at the University of South Carolina Aiken, seeks to show that mute lives matter in her new book, “The Silent Appalachian: Wordless Mountaineers in Fiction, Film and Television” (McFarland).

She names 78 notably silent characters, and explores their stories in essays, which she groups into 16 categories of speechlessness.

 

They can’t speak

 

“The Silent Appalachian” leads off with autism, and with one of the most noteworthy mutes in recent literature, “Stump” Hall, a 13-year-old boy in Wiley Cash’s 2012 novel, “A Land More Kind than Home.”

Pastor Chambliss, a snake-handling minister to whom Stump’s mother Julie has gravitated, quotes Matthew 9:33: “And when the demons had been driven out, the man who had been mute spoke.”  He’s trying to persuade Julie “that demons have bound Stump’s tongue, and the only way to loosen it is through exorcism,” Collins relates.

When Chambliss finally has his way with Stump, Stump’s younger brother, Jess, witnesses the crime.

Collins makes a point of dignifying the belief in evil spirits while, at the same time, condemning Preacher Chambliss’ sinful usage of it.  She then devotes a few paragraphs to exposing “false teachers who ‘hide behind the cloth.’”

It isn’t until the end of the essay that Collins returns to the theme of muteness, which she discusses only in terms of the plot—except for this one suggestive line: “Sadly, it is Jess Hall who could save his brother’s life, but he decides to remain silent.”

Stump’s muteness is interesting as a symbol of the kind that Jess suffers, bearing witness to exploitation.

Joining Stump in Collins’ autism section are: Jaxon MacKenzie, the12-year-old narrator of Mary Calhoun Brown’s YA novel, “There Are No Words”; Lonnie, the banjo-playing boy in James Dickey’s “Deliverance”; Rain Man (with Cincinnati qualifying as Appalachian); and Aunt Jo in Linda Scott DeRosier’s memoir, “Creeker.”

             

Silent fright

 

As a girl, Aunt Jo, lacking the power of accusation, had been raped.  Collins compares her to Philomela, victim of King Tereus of Thrace, who’d cut out her tongue to stifle testimony.

Collins then quotes Elissa Marder’s essay, “Disarticulated Voices: Feminism and Philomena,” published in “Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.”

In the Philomena myth, Marder wrote, the text “establishes a relationship between the experience of violation and access to language.”

Collins has found something very powerful in the notion of silence, its reverse-imaging of assault; and follows the concept wherever it will go.

The book’s second section is about hydrocephalics, recalling Juney, the benign hanger-on at a crumbling estate in Lee Smith’s novel, “On Agate Hill.”

The next section turns to people whose brain injuries prevent articulation, such as Celestine Aaron in Dot Jackson’s novel, “Refuge.”  Celestine had been damaged by oxygen deprivation when her haughty Bostonian mother had accidentally given birth to her in a toilet bowl.

That Bostonian reference is significant.  Seneca Steele, the novel’s narrator, had arrived at the Aaron household after fleeing her husband and his aristocratic Charleston society.  But it was hardly an escape, for Sen discovers that an aristocrat has gotten control of her mountain family.

Collins has us hearing silent screaming.  But she allows distortion into her big picture. 

The literature she cites applies romantic notions to the mute condition, and Collins sometimes embraces the sentiments.

For instance, in certain stories, handicapped people possess the powers of healing and premonition.  That’s poignant fiction, not social science, but Collins affirms the wish.

A realistic as well as humanistic presentation of people with exceptional conditions can be found in Andrew Solomon’s non-fiction masterwork, “Far from the Tree.”)

Collins’ role as champion of Appalachians also leads to the division of characters into those to be protected and those to be protected from—one seemingly justifiable step away from stock characterization.

 

An impressive survey

 

As promised, Collins includes TV and movie figures in her survey, such as Holly from “The Waltons”; Nell from “Nell”; and Sally Swanger, the woman in the movie version of Charles Frazer’s “Cold Mountain” who’d gone silent after seeing home guardsmen murder her family.

One of the interesting insights that comes from Collins’ book is seeing which authors get multiple entries, and therefore which ones can be said to like mutes in their fiction.

Ron Rash, Lee Smith, Robert Morgan, and Sharyn McCrumb are in this class. 

So is Vicki Lane, who made a mute person, Cletus, her story-prompting murder victim in her debut novel, “Signs in the Blood.” 

In her discussion of this book, Collins once again digresses from her theme, recaps the plot, and discourses on favorite Appalachian studies topics.  In this, she is not unlike Lane, who has her sleuth, Elizabeth Goodweather, encounter several regional tropes—a Holiness church, a cultish retreat, a militia group, a buried infant—in her pursuit of clues.

An appreciation of “The Silent Appalachian” rests on Collins’ passion and extensive reading.  I am glad to see that her book includes some recent fictional stand-outs: “Bloodroot” by Amy Greene; and Charles Dodd White’s “Sinners of Sanction County,” for instance.

 

Rob Neufeld writes the weekly book feature for the Sunday Citizen-Times.  He is the author and editor of six books, and the publisher of the website, “The Read on WNC.”   He can be reached at RNeufeld@charter.net and 505-1973.  Follow him @WNC_chronicler.

Views: 57

Reply to This

© 2019   Created by Rob Neufeld.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

UA-124288772-1