Discover more from The DETOURIST
I know it's been a long time since you've heard from me.
And I realize I've posted nothing at ADS for a good while, so I wanted to let you know the happy reason why. But first, a story.
Ten years ago this March 22, my wife Meredith and I met for lunch on the West Sands in St. Andrews, Scotland. We shared sandwiches and Haggis-flavored potato crisps as our kids frolicked on boulders at the edge of the wind-chilled beach. I had come to the realization that I was not really an academic, and told her I wanted to quit my job, return to the Southeast, and just write. Meredith unhesitatingly said, "OK," and has endured ten years of my flailing and mostly unsuccessful attempts to write a book.
I had some pretty foolish ideas about what that would mean or look like, and was totally naive about how challenging it would be to step into an entirely different kind of writing and publishing world. But as I eventually learned, starting something new is not that hard. The real challenge is finishing.
Since moving back to the Southeast in 2013, I have written a half a dozen short stories, I don't know how many essays, two novels, and several drafts of a work of non-fiction, all of which remain in some virtual drawer. Since I don't write simply for my own amusement, none of that really counts as "finished" work.
So, ten years on from the original West Sands Treaty, as we have come to call it, I have some good news to share.
Today I finished a draft of a manuscript of a forthcoming book that arises out of my work here at ADS. To be published by The University of South Carolina Press, it is called PROLOGUE TO THE SOUTH.
In the introduction, I describe the book this way:
"Prologue to the South is about unseeing, unlearning, unforgetting. It is a negative exercise in coming to dispense with the myths and illusions that many of us who grew up in the South took in with our morning grits. This book also a positive endeavor: an attempt to clear for the reader’s imagination the space for a confrontation with the beauty, mystery, and sorrow of the Southern Road, an invitation to think the American South differently, alongside forgotten and suppressed voices, and into a new American future."
So the reason that you haven't seen much new material at adeepersouth.com since September is because I have poured all my energy into the new book. I am very excited to share this new work with you in the near-ish future.
BUT WAIT—There's more!
I am also working on a second, related book, which will be out even before PROLOGUE. This one, called THE ROAD TO UNFORGETTING, will feature over 200 of my black-and-white film photographs from our Southern Tours from 1997-2022, along with an introductory essay. It will be published by Horse & Buggy Press in Durham, NC, and should be released before the end of the year.
In the meantime, John and I are planning a big tour for this summer, the 25th Anniversary of our first tour together in 1997, because there is always more to see and learn.
So, yeah. There's been a lot going on.
I am so grateful for your continued attention and support, which have helped me get to this point. There is much more to come!