Tag Archives: Coalfields Appalachia

The Monday Book: NIGHT GARDEN by Carrie Mullins

carrie mullinsI bought this book at the recent Appalachian Studies Association Conference, after a mutual friend introduced me to Carrie and announced it was her publication day. I’m glad I did, as I enjoyed Carrie’s writing. Very descriptive, which is not usually my thing, but the characters are well-drawn, which is.

The protagonist is a teen girl with a dead brother, difficult parents, and a teacher who helps her score substances. So it’s only natural that soon after she should have a boyfriend who edges toward emotionally abusive, and women around her who urge her to understand. The dysfunction here is told in third person but primarily from her point of view as she struggles to believe that Bobo (her boyfriend) loves her, that being pregnant isn’t so bad, that she has a good life. That she can get out.

It’s a story with a lot of detail in how the people live, and a building sense of emotional dread mixed with resignation and strength. You’re not really sure how it’s going to end, and I’m not putting any spoilers in here. If you like Appalachian dysfunction, delicate touches on tough subjects, or descriptive novels, NIGHT GARDEN is for you.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing

The Rituals of Writing – Plus a Monkey Wrench or Two

Many many thanks for your patience, gentle readers, and thanks to those of you who got in touch to see if we were okay. Yes. Better than okay because Fall or Fly: The Strangely Hopeful Story of Adoptions and Foster Care in Coalfields Appalachia has gone to the publisher on time.

We all know writing comes with a few rituals. Some people work in specific locations, others have lucky editing pens, or writing clothes. Me, I get sick as soon as the book is in. That’s how it goes. The relentless rush to the last deadline, followed by five days of lying catatonic in bed, staring at Scandal on Netflix. (How many ways are there to murder someone without getting caught in DC? Don’t answer that.)

So I pushed send on Monday, and then lay down in a stupor. But the two weeks prior to that, I had been doing nothing but type and crochet for so long, my right hand went numb. When I got on the Crochet Addict Black Sheep list (this is for people who have been kicked off Crochet Addict, a thing that is not hard to accomplish) they gave spot-on advice naming the actual muscles that needed attention by number. I went up to see the amazing TNB, aka Brandon Tester, chiropractor to cat rescuers everywhere (his wife is the local vet) with the recommendations, and he went down the list and made everything okay again.

But he did suggest, given the frenzied typing, that I cool it with the crochet for a bit, saving the muscles. For which I apologize to those waiting for their braided scarves. My crojo (mojo for crochets, ya know) is back and all orders will get filled by St. Paddy’s Day. My hand is in order, my book is in, my life is my own again, and my threads are running true.

So thank you for being patient – about the disappearance of this blog, and the crocheted stuff. And for continuing to be patient about Fall or Fly. It is in the Spring 2017 publication list from Swallow Press. I’ll be getting final edits back in May, and another month of ducking and diving will follow, and then this book full of shadows and light will be ready to roll.

It’s such a different book from Little Bookstore. And yet it’s a community story. I’m looking forward to its telling. A couple of the readers have suggested I will be getting it in the neck, because there aren’t a lot of punches pulled in it. But there it is. My hand didn’t go numb for nothing.

Meanwhile, back to the threads of a different life, and onward toward Spring of this year, with its many promises. Including snow tonight, in the Gap. Stay warm, neighbors.

(For those interested, this is the photo that got me kicked off Crochet Addict into the arms of the Black Sheep.)

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing