Today I’m up before daylight working on a round of edits for my forthcoming collection of short stories, If the Creek Don’t Rise. The book has eighteen short stories and five postcard pieces plus original sketches by Susan Raymond.
Many authors find the editing process to be tiresome, but I relish it. First and foremost, I find it to be a reflective endeavor when I look back over my themes and characters. This helps as I compile a summary blurb, set acknowledgements in order, and place a dedication. I like working with my editor who catches those nuances in a story of which I am unaware. I find the ‘catch’ usually improves the total work.
By the way, the title is taken from a supplication among rural folks that they will complete a task ‘good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.’ A perfect sentiment for my people as they move forward with their one remaining currency–grit.
Look for the collection in November from Pen-L Press. Copies are available from Pen-L, local bookstores through Ingram, and Amazon.
So it is with my collection of short stories, Washed in the Water: Tales from the South published July 2013. The acknowledgement in the book is reflective, in small part, of the “others” in my writing journey.
My family and I come from Georgia, and while they have mostly died off or moved further south, I still say I hail from Atlanta. My great-great grand-daddy wore grey and fought in The War. My daddy was a dirt farmer and Mother a school teacher. Growing up years happened in that strip along the south Georgia-north Florida line on a hardscrabble tobacco farm. We also raised hogs, corn and, for a time, cotton.
Bird shooting and coon hunting marked the fall with tobacco picking, bare feet, and watermelons summer hallmarks. Winter meant busting up pine stumps and hauling oak wood for our fireplace
Would a collection such as this be complete without casting an eye back on those that struggled with you, against you, and for you? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
A nod of recognition to my mother whose con-fidence, values, and love shape me even from her grave. I miss her. My memories curve lovingly around my brother Steve, a bright simpatico life, too soon gone. I must thank my adoptive father whom I have finally forgiven for being himself. He did the best he knew how. A great army of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents marching to different drummers, are remembered for their joie de vivre and earthiness. It has taken me a lifetime to embrace the richness of my southern roots and the strength of those in my rural community.