Well, I went and did it. People asked me to and I said I would, and then with the hard push and shove of my cousin, dang if I didn't live up to. I compiled a selection of essays, reflections, and favorite postings to A Good Blog Is Hard To Find and wrapped it up between some covers to take to the Pulpwood Queens shindig in Jefferson, Tx. It just a few true tales and takes on growing up in the south coupled with old family pictures. Here it 'tis and if you are at the Girlfriend Getaway Weekend this weekend you can find a copy there.
Going through those old photo's with my cousin has been a hoot and an education. I mean - there it is in black and white and there is no denying any of it. My southern roots are right out there in the wide open. I am reading the back of some of them that tell the most amazing story and I'd call Momma and say - who wrote all this stuff? And she'd say, "Oh, that's your aunt Aggie. Should have been a librarian." Aunt Aggie wrote on the back. "Here is my brother. He always wore a hat and jacket year round and looked like this. He seemed to always be cold." Well, obviously he is kin to this Florida girl up here in Nashville in 10 degree weather freezing her rear off! Aggie's brother, some distant, cold but not forgotten Uncle of mine is standing in front of a sugar cane field and I must say - it looks sunny and sugar cane is in and my guess is it is Summer and he really does look rather toasty in the hat and jacket.
Or just one shot of this man (who I really think was my grandaddy) says more than many of my words could muster. Looks hot. Looks like cotton. Looks so dusty and dry I can't swallow. And it explains why when my sister stopped to pick a few stalks of cotton to bring home to my mom because she thought it was so pretty and would make a nice little present (like a bouquet of flowers) she found that cotton thrown down outside behind the house. "Do you know how hot and dry it is out in the field picking cotton? Do you know how many hours and years I spend out there in that sun? I'd be happy if I never saw any cotton again for the rest of my life." All righty then. Make note. Momma doesn't want any cotton. Prefers flowers.
Or this one - check it out. That's me sporting the overalls look with with one shoe off and one shoe on but when I asked Momma who the people were holding me she told me, "Honey, I don't remember their names. They were just some people down on their luck that needed a place to stay till they could get back on their feet and find a place to live." Really? Just needed a place and they moved into our little house with not much room and shared with us and we didn't have all that much and you didn't even know them?
That's what I call The Deep, Down, & Dirty South. Where people would open a door, set another plate on the table, share what was in their field or in their pocket. Its where we come from - and I hope it's where we're going. In this day and age when we have so much more, bigger houses, belly's pretty darn full and pockets wide - I hope that the changes in our society, the dangers that we truely face and the changing face of our nation - doesn't cause us to change from the principles my mother so well set as a standard. And she wasn't the only one. There was a long, strong line of people working hard with their hands and yet, with the softest of hearts, putting food on the table and willing to share.
For anyone who might want a copy of The Deep, Down, and Dirty South - there might be a few copies available for personalization through my website next week at And don't forget that Saints In Limbo surfaces May 19th, and can be preordered now, in all its backwoods, southern glory set right smack down on my Daddy's creek and in the house he grew up in. My stories? Fiction or fact - they come from my people. And I'm proud to be a Southern Girl - oh, yes I am.
River Jordan is storyteller of the southern variety and has been cast most frequently in the company of Flannery O'Connor and Harper Lee. Jordan's writing career began as a playwright where she spent over ten years with the Loblolly Theatre group and received productions of her original works for the stage including Mama Jewels: Tales from Mullet Creek; Soul, Rhythm and Blues; and Virga.
Jordan's first novel, The Gin Girl, (Livingston Press, 2003) has garnered such high praise as, "This author writes with a hard bitten confidence comparable to Ernest Hemingway. And yet, in the Southern tradition of William Faulkner, she can knit together sentences that can take your breath." Florida Toda y. Kirkus Reviews described her second novel, The Messenger of Magnolia Street, (Harper Collins/Harper One) as "a beautifully written atmospheric tale." It was applauded as "a tale of wonder" by Southern Living Magazine who chose the novel as their Selects feature for March 2006 and by other reviewers as "a riveting, magical mystery" and "a remarkable book." Her most recent work, Saints In Limbo, (Random House/Waterbrook) arrives in stores May 19, 2009. Ms. Jordan teaches and speaks on 'The Passion of Story,' around the country and produces and hosts the radio program, Backstory City Limits with River Jordan, on WRFN, 98.9 FM, Nashville every Saturday at 4:00-6:00 CST.
She lives with her husband in Nashville, TN. You may visit the author at www.riverjordan.us